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The Ring Of Treachery

The Ring Of Treachery

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The Ring Of Treachery

Lunghezza:
197 pagine
3 ore
Pubblicato:
Sep 26, 2013
ISBN:
9781301298594
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

Hanson and Hopkins, Private Investigators, because even during wartime infidelity and divorce were good business. Murder wasn't their usual line, but when one of their clients is killed they feel obliged to investigate. They never expected it to lead them into a world of Nazi sympathizers, spies and Hitler's plans to invade England!

Pubblicato:
Sep 26, 2013
ISBN:
9781301298594
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

Born in 1930. Ex-Cunard accountant, Ex-teacher, now retired. Occasionally writes.

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The Ring Of Treachery - W A E Davies

THE RING OF TREACHERY

W A E DAVIES

© 2000 W A E Davies

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Smashwords Edition 2013

Chapter 1

Inside the aircraft it was pitch black except for a faint green glow from the pilot's instrument panel. I sat on one side facing Jim. With us were just the pilot and the navigator.

I felt like Jonah inside the whale. The skeleton of the fuselage of the Lancaster arched over us punctured only by four round port holes on each side. They revealed nothing but the black night and an occasional glimpse of the flecked heaving waves of the English Channel below.

Jim and I were clad in camouflage battle gear with aircrew helmets and goggles and parachutes strapped to our chests.

We had made parachute drops before but that did not prevent the build up of adrenalin as we approached the French coast. I could feel my heart pounding, not with fear but with anticipation. Another ten minutes and we would be over the dropping zone and then on our own in a foreign land occupied by alien forces.

The Colonel had briefed us and given us each our sealed orders, to be opened only when safely down. He told us the French resistance had been informed of our coming and would be there to greet us. We had been given no specific objective and we thought our journey was as much, if not more, for our own safety, as for any sabotage we might effect.

A red light flashed twice on the bulkhead in front of us. Jim stood, steadying himself on the fuselage and stepped to the door. He heaved it open. The rushing air screamed past the plane. I hauled myself to my feet and stood slightly behind him, steadying myself with my left hand on the roof.

Jim stared at the light as he stood in the doorway, a hand gripping either side. The light flashed green. Jim pushed himself off into the blackness.

I replaced him in the doorway and waited, my head turned to one side, watching for the light. The light flashed. I pushed with both hands and felt my stomach rise as I dropped through the night.

I counted aloud, one, two, three, four, five, then thumped the centre of the parachute with the side of my clenched fist. A moment later I felt the sharp tug on my shoulders as the opening parachute pulled at the harness. Next I was floating towards the ground somewhere below..

The sudden crack of rifle fire interrupted any elation I may have felt.

More shots louder, nearer. A whistling sensation near my right ear informed me the shots were aimed at me.

Other shots came in quick succession as if from a different direction. A scream followed by shouts came from below. A bullet glanced off my air helmet making me momentarily dizzy. Another passed nearby. Then a sharp searing pain in my right arm just above the elbow told that one had found home.

The pain increased, everything began to spin, a feeling of nausea gripped my gut, then all was blackness.

*

Could this be heaven? I opened my eyes and looked up to see two large almond eyes staring back into mine. They were surrounded by a mass of black curly hair. Beneath a pert nose a smiling red mouth opened and said

'Ello Englishman. You are awake?

It came back to me, the parachute drop, the shots, the searing pain in my arm, the blackness.

You are among friends. You have been shot but you will be alright.

Jim? I asked Is he here.

Yes, your friend is here. He was shot in the leg and has not yet recovered consciousness. Relax he will be alright. You will both be alright.

It was a soothing voice, a sweet voice with the alluring hint of a French accent and French perfume.

Who is Melanie? she asked, smiling.

"Melanie, why do you ask?

You have been calling out her name, for two days now.

Have we been here that long?

Yes, two days and two nights, since the Boch shot you. We rescued you. We are the Free French Freedom Fighters.

She could not hide a sense of pride in her voice as she mentioned the name.

What is your name? she enquired.

Grant, I said. What is yours?.

Francois.

Were you asked to meet us?

No, no, she shook her head. It was the Germans who were asked to meet you

The Germans? I said in disbelief But we were told that we would be met by members of the French Freedom Fighters.

That is us, she said with a big smile. But no, we were not asked to meet you. We intercepted a message from England to the Boch to meet you with their rifles and to kill you. We decided to spoil their little plan and rescue you, and here you are.

Here seemed to be but a clearing in the forest. I lifted my head a little, though it caused a searing pain in my arm, and looked about me. Jim lay a little way off, being looked after by another girl, fair haired, dressed in the same brown uniform. Dotted around the clearing were about twenty men and two other girls, some asleep, others just looking at the stars, one with headphones on, sitting beside an ancient radio transmitter and receiver.

As I looked Jim stirred and the girl with him lifted his head as he regained consciousness. Then she presented him with soup from a bowl.

Would you like a little chicken broth? Francois asked. It was just made this morning. I know for I caught and killed the chicken myself.

Thanks, I replied.

For all the discomfort and the grimness of the situation there was something decidedly pleasing in being spoon fed in the middle of the forest by a beautiful French girl. I closed my eyes and thought back to the happenings of the past months that had begun with a phone call in the middle of the night.

*

Jim and I had been called from our beds at four o'clock that morning. It was not usual for the police to invite private investigators to the scene of a crime, but our card,

Hanson and Hopkins

Private Investigators. Divorce Investigations.

Complete discretion guaranteed.

Phone: City 777 897

had been found in an attacked girl's handbag and the Inspector in charge, Stan Belmont, and Jim and myself were old friends, having all been in the army bomb disposal squad in France only six months previously.

Stan had given Jim a call and he had called me. So I found myself kneeling alongside a girl who had been brutally attacked.

I hated the touch of death. I had come across is often enough in the last twelve months. Now I was faced with it again.I held the lifeless hand, cold to the touch, limp, useless. It could have been a doll's hand lying there in that morbid state between life and decay. Then the hand moved. I felt an involuntary shiver run through me.

Someone walk over your grave Grant? asked Jim, cocking his head even further over to look at me through his one good eye.

The hand. It's alive. It moved.

Rigor Mortis old son. The stiff is becoming a stiff stiff.

But it's grasping my jacket, I said.

Jim glanced my way with a startled look.

Where is that bloody pathologist? he yelled, suddenly grasping the implications. Or any doctor for that matter. This girl is still alive!

He bent over the girl, lying in a pool of her own blood on the wet pavement, and pressed his hear to her barely open mouth. Then he took off his jacket and wrapped it round her.

I prised her grip from my sleeve and stood up. Seeing the white armbands of a medical crew through the dark mist I yelled and beckoned frantically. Then I cupped my hands and bellowed:

Quick, quick. This girl needs help, now. She is alive.

An ambulance was soon on the scene. Jim and the police exchanged a few words and the girl was taken off to the local infirmary, the ambulance bell echoing through the blacked out London streets, for it was 1940 and wartime.

The girl we had been looking at, brutally stabbed in the back and left for dead, was a client of ours, a Patricia Rontgon. She had called to see us three weeks ago, very distressed, saying she had been receiving threatening phone calls. Jim had taken on her case. I had been heavily involved in a divorce case at the time.

Patricia Rontgon shared a flat with her sister Melanie in Pimlico.

Jim and I were there with Inspector Belmont, breaking the news of Patricia's stabbing, when a policeman called at the flat having come straight from the hospital. He cupped his hand to the Inspector's ear to inform him in a stage whisper that Patricia Rontgon had died from her injuries. Melanie overhead.

Oh God no, she cried, putting her head in her hands. Not dead. Not Patricia dead.

I fear it was inevitable, taking into account her injuries, said the Inspector in a kindly tone. I am very very sorry. Is there someone who can stay with you for a few days?

No, I'll be alright, she said.

If you are quite sure? said the Inspector.

I'll be fine, she said, trying to smile.

We will be in touch, of course, to let you know of any developments.

The Inspector turned to Jim and me.

It's well and truly our pigeon now, Jim. I will inform you of developments. Now, I really must go.

After again expressing his condolences to the dead girl's sister, Inspector Belmont picked up his briefcase and headed for the door,

You stay if you like for a few more minutes but I think Miss Rontgon has told us all she can and needs some time to herself.

Jim nodded.

We don't intend to hang about but we will stay a few more minutes if that's alright with you?

She gave a wan smile and a slight nod.

Melanie Rontgon and her sister had been very close it seemed. Melanie was slighter in build than the dead girl but even with her strained features and red eyes clearly an attractive young lady.

I take it that Patricia told you why she had employed us? said Jim.

Melanie nodded. Yes. We kept no secrets from each other. Those terrible phone calls had really scared her. She said the man had a cultured voice but sounded evil.

And this man it seems was insisting she had been given something or some information by her late boyfriend and he wanted it, and he threatened that if she did not hand it over to him her life was in danger? That was how she explained it to me.

Yes, said Melanie. I keep going over and over it in my mind. What information or items could Patricia have possibly have been keeping for Tony? It isn't as if he was in Army Intelligence or anything like that. He was just a Private in The North Yorkshires.

How long had Patricia known him? I asked.

Twelve months. They had been talking of getting engaged next time he was on leave. Then came this terrible business in France, the retreat to the coast, Dunkirk and the telegram.

She stopped and hid her face in her handkerchief.

I'm sorry, said Jim You must want to be left alone. We'll be off.

No, no. I want to talk about it. I want it to make sense. Why should anyone want to kill her? What was the point of killing her? She was so upset when she got the news about Tony and then those awful phone calls.

She broke down into uncontrollable weeping.

I did check with the post office, said Jim, who I knew felt a bit guilty at not being able to prevent her death. But they were unable to trace the calls. I only wish I could have done more.

There was a silence broken only by Melanie's sobs.

I felt uncomfortable and stood up. I wandered across to the side table on which the police had left the jewellery and trinkets of the dead girl and idly looked at them one by one.

There was nothing of any great worth, merely accumulated knick knacks, a bead necklace, an army badge of the Yorkshire Regiment, brooches, three rings. I turned each ring in my hand. A silver ring with a blue stone, no doubt of little intrinsic worth. A gold ring set with three small diamonds. A silver ring in the shape of two twisted serpents. On the inside of this ring something was engraved. I squinted my eyes and held it up to the window.

Yes, it was the distinct shape of a swastika.

Melanie looked up at my involuntary intake of breath and Jim looked toward me.

You've found the swastika, she said. The police were very interested in that for a time but finally decided it was of no significance. I understand it was a lucky charm sign long before the Nazis adopted it. Perhaps it is just that.

Yes it could be, I said.

The ring was given to Patricia by Tony, together with some jewellery and a badge before he went overseas. I don't know if it signifies anything. Patricia didn't say so to me

I don't suppose it is of any significance. I said.

There was an awkward pause.

Well, said Jim getting to his feet. We really must be off. Thank you very much for talking to us. I am so sorry about your sister. The police will be in touch.

I also expressed my regrets and we left.

As we made our way down the stair well, Jim turned to me.

I think we'll try and find out a bit more about Private Tony Tomlinson, missing believed dead. I think that a ring with a swastika is a peculiar gift to give to your girl friend just when you're off to fight for king and country.

*

Tony Arthur Tomlinson. No. 7654117 D. O. B 16. 6. 1918. Rank: Private Yorkshire Regiment. Posted to France February 1940. Missing believed killed May 1940.

I had obtained this information from the War Office and back in the two rooms above the Pimlico High Street grocers which served as

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