[Latest episode of the unrolling novel, in which the scaly-backs gather at Stringer's place.]
Many of the townsfolk who were new to the Supreme Godhead Outreach Church and had been drawn that night by the title 'The Untrodden Paths of the Good Book', left the meeting after the talk. They swallowed a cup of tea and departed, fully satisfied.
People with other motives remained. The chunky youth with the tin of War Horse, whose pipe was now blazing away merrily, collared Beckett.
'Any chance of a lift out to the fireside chat at Stringer's?'
'Not with us, you'll be better off over there.'
He nodded towards two or three people being taken in hand by a purposeful-looking individual, one of the original Outreach brotherhood who, like the minister, looked ready to kiss Vauclare's feet.
'No smoking in your car, is that it?' said the youth with a leer.
'Something like that,' said Beckett.
[Latest episode of the unrolling story, in which Suggie is put out of commission and the scaly-backed Outreach Church gathers its clans.]