Angel Maker: 1st edit Chapters 1-43
by Barry B. Wright
The gruesome murder of a young child, Rebecca Grynberg, sets Inspector Alexander Collier on a roller-coaster ride of events that directly endangers his family. Propelled into a world of spies, espionage and what appears to be a series of unconnected murders, he learns that the lives of his son (Richard), fiancé (Elsa) and her Jewish family in Nazi Germany hang in the balance because of his investigations. Reluctantly, he joins forces with an unlikely group: a psychic medium, a one-legged British agent and a NKVD Soviet agent.
The heavy grey mist blanketing Bournemouth provided some degree of camouflage. Ahead, a slight shimmer of the air as if being warped and twisted quickly became a soft susurration of wind as the 10:45 trolley-bus, the last along this route, passed on its way to dock ...
Mary Elizabeth and her husband, Lawrence, were gregarious, convivial individuals. People easily succumbed to their charming, warm and inviting ways. So, it was, though not without reservation, that they eventually became an integral part of the landscape that define...
“Thanks for the lift, Uncle.” Diane pulled the woolen hat over her ears and jacked up the collar on her coat. “Today, well, are you sure you’re ready?”
“Of course, I am. I’m as ready as ready can be. Why such an askanc...
Lila Speaks Her Piece
The front door opened and closed, the hallway floorboards creaked under his weight as he made his way along the hallway to the kitchen. “Sandy,” Lila called, “you sure took your time about it. I tried to keep your breakfast warm, but I’ll mak...
A broad stroke of salmon pink across the morning horizon was beginning to fan out and to dance among the silvery grey clouds. Silhouettes of chimneys and buildings black as newly laid coal in a burning fire and struggling to break free from night’s heavy blank...
Particles of dust danced on a thin wedge of light that streamed through a crack in the curtains and fattened out against the footboard of his bed. Its source was one of many lampposts that lined the street. The musty air predominated over the smell of fish and salty...
Leonard Scoffield, head of forensics, pulled out the chair opposite Collier and sat at the table with his cup of tea. Except for the two of them, the nurses’ lunchroom, which was little more than a cubbyhole, was empty of people. Two other tables with chairs w...
Alexander Collier made his way down the hall to his office oblivious to the pitter-patter of shoes following closely behind him. His mind dwelt with the disturbing crime scene he had just left. He had pulled Leonard Scoffield off, along with some members of his team...
As it turned out, one of Queenie’s predictions came true. The Foreign Office did phone him. He learned, during that call, though they could not confirm it, that his son had been imprisoned either at Lemberg or at Posen near the Polish border. To his dismay, th...
Collier was preoccupied on a phone call from Detective Inspector Ellis Smyth from Scotland Yard when Sergeant Snowden popped his head around the opened door to his office. Waving him in, he directed him towards the two chairs in front of his desk. “So, the dea...
“Stewart Menzies sends his regards,” Captain Hall said.
Collier had worked with him in the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) during the late stages of World War One and knew that Stewart Menzies prided high intelligence and did not suffer fools lig...
Wish Me Luck
“This must remain between you and me. Do you understand? No one else must know.”
He removed his hand from the telephone and acknowledged with a slight nod of his head. She was right and he knew it. Trust was a special commodity and breaking it woul...
Hoping for a Break
Shortly after Captain Hall shut the door behind her, Collier retrieved his pipe and pouch of tobacco from the side drawer of his desk. Filling his pipe, he lit it. After he returned the tobacco to the drawer, he walked over to the window and gazed out. Solace stretc...
"The Lady Vanishes"
The phone book smacked hard against the door frame at Sergeant Snowden’s head. Somewhat muddled, he picked up the phone book and hesitantly asked, “Bad day, Gov?”
“You might say that, Sergeant. Don’t take it personal.”<...
Atop the stone perimeter wall, hidden within the boughs of a leafy oak tree that overhung it, Werner Gruener peered through his binoculars at Lambert Manor. Slowly, he scanned the windows. In his tweed overcoat pocket was a copy of “Psychic Glimpses” by ...
The Phone Call
Kindertransport—the transport of Jewish children out of Nazi occupied Europe—was underway. The first arrivals had disembarked in Harwich on December second. Blindly, Collier and Lila had gone with the hope that their son and his fiancé would be among th...
Captain Hall Returns
Captain Hall and Inspector Collier sat facing each other across his desk. Sergeant Snowden poured coffee into her mug and placed the thermos containing the remainder of the coffee on the table under the electoral map. “Thank you, Sergeant.” Collier took ...
There was an unexpected bite to the late January air. Overhead, the moon danced a hot hash do-si-do with dark cotton-ball clouds while from the tree-lined shadows, boughs crackled in the wind.
Werner wished he had worn his jacket. Clothed in a thin woolen shir...
The Noose Tightens
Inspector Collier turned onto the road outside the gates of Lambert Manor. Earlier, light snow had fallen making the road slick. An inky, cloud-spattered and brooding sky blotted out the moon. Gusts of wind rattled windows in the Wolseley. His unfamiliarity with the...
Diane Waumsley parked her bike outside the Cricketers Arms on Winham Road. Famished, she secured the bike with her combination lock and entered the pub.
She wore a woolen sweater with a slight roll at the neck and flared pants. One pant leg had been tied off t...
Third Party Malice
Captain Hall glanced at her wooden prosthesis, lying on the table beside her. The memory she wished forgotten clung steadfast and fresh as if it were yesterday. Why did I agree to go on that hunting expedition? The flashback, raw and painful, assaulted her ...
The room was warm, almost too warm. The heightened adrenaline which had fed the Collier’s late-night picnic had long since given way to a slumbering peacefulness. Through the opening in the living room curtains Lynn’s bleary eyes deciphered a reddish hue...
Out of Dawn's Awakening
The sun’s rays peeked above the horizon when a Wolseley pulled up in front of Inspector Collier’s home and parked. Werner stepped back into the alley’s shadow and watched. Located five doors down, on the opposite side, from the Collier household he...
The cook, a burly red-faced man, emerged from along the hallway that led to the kitchen. Above his shoulder, on a brown tray, he carried a traditional full British breakfast of bacon, sausages, black pudding, hash browns, bubble and squeak, baked beans, fried tomato...
Facing A Hungry Old Lion
Inside Collier’s jacket pocket was the blurred photo of Werner Gruener, given him by Captain Hall, along with two sketches. One drawing was based on the description provided by the train baggage handler and the other an attempt by Andre Bertillon, his forensic...
Pavel lit up a cigarette and passed the package to Anatoli. He had a clear view of Ringwood Pub. Anatoli assured him that their location would not easily arouse suspicion. I hope he’s right. Receiving the cigarette package, he tossed it on the dashboa...
29 Edgestone Road
The Wolseley stopped in front of twenty-nine Edgestone Road. A woman who was weeding and planting in one of the front flowerbeds stopped what she was doing and looked up. It had been a long time since Collier had either spoken to or seen Louise Moodie. Still, Collie...
He had not been following a rabbit with a waistcoat pocket watch when he had fallen down his godforsaken hole. And the climb out was painful. “Turn off that damn light!” Collier slapped at the open air. “What the hell happened?” He squeezed h...
“Listen to him. He’s right.” Captain Hall said.
A flock of pain took flight in Collier’s head, pushing aside his growing consternation. Queasiness forced him into an unwilling compliance as he sat. “I’m listening.”...
Something Gained, Something Lost
When the shots rang out, everyone hit the ground hard except Louise. Captain Hall could see by the bewilderment etched on her face that Louise had not grasped the immediate and lethal urgency of her situation. The empty brandy glass on the table directly ahead of he...
The Night Ferry
Werner glanced at his watch. The night ferry to France was late. He scanned the travellers who had gathered on platlform-2. On his lap was the Paris-based newspaper “Le Temps.” Bored with watching the burgeoning crowd, he picked up the paper and began to...
Queenie Sounds the Alarm
Finally, Collier was sleeping in his bed again. The change in Lila’s mood occurred shortly after the late-night living room picnic and the shooting on their street. Lila had not shared the reason why she relented, and, in truth, it did not matter to him. He fe...
Channel Crossing and Reunion
At Port of Dover, the train ferry was split into equal sections on tracks at the port and starboard sides of the S.S. Hampton. Though Captain Hall had traveled this journey before, until tonight, she had never stayed awake long enough to watch. She marveled at the s...
Aunt Martha's Tea Set
Two hours late leaving the Port of Liverpool, the captain of the SS Armagon paced the bridge. Known as “the old man” by his crew, he was a hard-nosed veteran seafarer with a stickler for detail and for being on time. But, tonight, his orders were to wait...
S. S. Paris
Melissa and Lynn watched Reinhard Heydrich cross the lobby of the Hotel Crillon toward them. Lynn turned to Melissa and whispered. “Why do I get the feeling I’m about to lose my head?”
“Maybe because King Louis XVI was guillotined direc...
An Unexpected Visitor
Lynn and Melissa hurried along one of the riding trails in the Bois de Boulogne. Lynn’s apartment sat near the edge of the park. Close to the Champs Elysees, her location provided easy access to bakeries, cafes, restaurants and superb shopping. Wide walking pa...
Behind the Scene
Max Claussen had become well placed in the Nazi Party. He was a lean, well-coiffed blonde, aristocratic figure who represented the Aryan ideal. Money oiled the Nazi wheel and Max, who was a successful businessman, willingly provided funds through his profitable blue...
Lightning pierced through the dark cloud- layered morning sky. Claps of thunder shook structures. Then it rained cats and dogs. It was the third straight day.
“If I didn’t know better, I’d think this damn weather is trying to tell us somethin...
Bucketful’s of rain smashed against Collier’s windshield. Images of pedestrians navigating the street, awash with water, appeared distorted and blurred. The thoroughfare had become busy with morning traffic. A vehicle cut him off. Though he drove at a sn...
Queenie gave a gentle nudge with her heel and the door closed behind her. She removed her hat and coat and dropped them on the Chinese Chippendale-style side chair and entered the living-room. “Wow! This is quite a pad. A good piece of eye-candy.” She tu...
It was a beautiful August day, filled with much promise, as summer begrudgingly relented to enter its final throes. There was barely another topic of discussion except Danzig. Berliners were convinced that Germany would soon retain Danzig. Like Germany’s previ...
The Switch Over
Curled on the seat opposite, Melissa’s sonorous snore kept Lynn awake. She had kicked her several times with the hope of achieving peace and quiet but to no avail. The train came to a halting stop. Queenie’s head fell against her shoulder and she pushed ...
An Evil Mind
The morning sun spilled through the large window behind him and the dark shadows that surrounded his workspace slowly melted away. He was proud to be known as “the man with the iron heart.” Head of the Gestapo and Security Service, Reinhold encompassed a Luciferian disciple&rsqu...
To comrade Viktor
‘Corporal’ has learned from ‘Albanian’ who has spoken to a top Wehrmacht officer, that Germany intends a war against the Soviet Union either 1940 or 41.
Big Brother is Watching
With no limit placed on state security in Germany, it had, for the most part, unrestricted power. Their success depended on a reward system of surveillance whose perfidious purpose relied on prying and suspicious eyes within families, between neighbours, friends and...
“What the hell!” exclaimed Harro Schulze-Boysen.
Adam Mikler barged in, pushing his two companions ahead of him. “We need to talk,” Adam insisted, holding onto Schulze-Boysen’s arm while flicking his free hand to dismiss the other two further in...
Four Hours Until Berlin
Hatred filled the bucket he had for a soul. Pain racked his body. He pressed his eyes tightly shut. The smell of death had entwined itself in the antiseptic scent that permeated his room. He felt sick and attempted to sit up. Her voice told him not to. “Where ...
A Journey Imperilled
A substantial number of Germans (nearly seventeen million people) had not voted for the National Socialist (Nazi) Party in 1933. These people were a constant thorn in Hitler’s back. To deal with them, a policy of intimidation, developed and administered by the...
As the Colliers approached Harwich, Beacon Hill Fort loomed in the distance. Pill boxes that had been built into the massive bank along the coast northwards and a two-storey hexagonal radar tower held commanding views of the Orwell estuary.
Alexander Collier and his wife, L...
Day rushed into evening and then into the morning light. Quietly slipping out of the room so as not to disturb Lila from her slumber, Sandy went along the hallway to the stairs and down to the hotel’s foyer and out into the morning air. The air was pregnant with the smell of salt. E...
The Death Struggle is About to Begin
On March 3, 1939, Czechoslovakian intelligence chief, Frantisek Moravec, met with Agent A-54, Abwehr’s Paul Thummel, in Prague. Thummel was Moravec’s best German source. Moravec was told by A-54 that Prague would by occupied by Germany on March 15 and wa...
Like a deer in headlights, he was fixed to the ovals that shone out from her face. In the chambers of his ears the rapid drumbeat of his heart echoed loudly with joy. Careless observation would have discerned nothing between these two lovers, but closer scrutiny wou...
A Tactical Move
He kept his ambition secreted away, closely guarded, and, with remarkable perspicacity, kept it within the shadow of the fussy, narrow-minded Himmler. Himmler taught him the value of personal files and that the knowledge of other people’s weaknesses created lo...
The Tyr Rune
Queenie feared the union of Reinhard and Werner. She needed time for deep thought to assess her present situation. There was too much noise and commotion around her and it threatened the skills she needed to ply. Stepping away from the group, she sought quietude in ...
OTTO Strikes Back
Life is an adventure filled with surprises and new opportunities. Except, that is, when the unexpected, chaos, entered to sap from it its enjoyment. For a fastidious individual like Lila Collier, anything unanticipated or unpredicted in her daily norm was perceived ...
Houses Live and Die
Thick gray smoke belched into the evening sky. Tentacles of flame that had been sneaking in the background discovered a way out to hungrily lick at the sooty smog it was cast in. Sirens pitched their earnest and foreboding wail. Their doppler screams like a freight ...
An Unexpected Event
Silence. Except, that is, for the faintest creak of a turning wheel and scattered birdsong. His mind was not clear upon awakening. He listened carefully. No sound of traffic. That’s strange, he thought. He felt both pathos and guilt. How did he no...
A Request Goes Unanswered
From the corner of his eye, Pavel picked up on Queenie’s suspicious glance, shot directly in his direction. Is she trying to read me? He mused. Or has she already done it? Smiling and tipping his cap at her, he acknowledged her wary gesticula...
On Becoming OTTO
He was beyond help. Cold and calculating, his emotional state was crafted to cloak his underlying truth. The role he played provided unhindered access and freedom of movement void of suspicion. Exactly what he needed. Blindness through trust, so carefully hewn, ensu...
Bournemouth evolved into a seaside resort for what came to be widely accepted as the usual sundry reasons associated with eye-candy: the natural beauty of its cliffs, the wide sweep of its bay, sandy beach, coastal location and its outstanding breadth of view and op...
By 1939, the spread of communism had come to a standstill, but so too had the advancement of democracy. Chamberlain’s policy of appeasement had finally been cast aside as the way to handle Hitler. The governments of the world quickly formed alliances in prepar...
Terror rippled through them and touched their souls as they entered the crowded train-car. The usual variety of travelers were sprinkled throughout the coach but, in the main, it brimmed with soldiers. Stripped from the cloistered sanctuary of the Harnack apartment,...
Into the Night
The day before, on August 28, the British government declared its readiness to act as intermediary for direct German-Polish negotiations on the problems in dispute. Skeptical of the Polish Government’s willingness to bring about a settlement considering the Po...
An Irrevocable Decision
“Strength lies not in defense but in attack”
Poland was having a beautiful summer. Children played in the sunshine while on the streets of Krakow fashionable women shopped. Life was undisturbed and familiar. As August slowly melt...
Frankfurt an der Oder
“I prefer to think my choices reflect my hopes, not my fears,” Elsa said to Richard.
Richard Collier glanced at her as if saying are you kidding me. “That’s applesauce, Elsa. Think for a moment. The guy whose country we’re travell...
“Bejabbers!” Startled by the hand unexpectedly placed on his shoulder, Richard recoiled and stumbled into the seat ahead of him. At first, all he took in was the S.S. uniform. Shocked into thinking the jig was up, an emotional numbness quickly began to s...
Summer Breeze Scattered by the Winds of War
August shadows spread long across Bournemouth’s landscape. Its people, too busy having a good time during summer months to worry about Hitler, were now sombre. Half A Mo’ Hitler, Let’s Have Our Holidays First signs, once strapped t...
Luncheon at Simpson's in the Strand
“If my memory serves me right, this restaurant originally opened as… a chess club? and… coffee house?”
“Simpson’s in the Strand” was a fine London establishment noted for serving the best in British cuisine, u...
Menzies had just ushered him into his office when he was unexpectedly called away. Standing alone, Collier’s eyes scanned the spacious corner office. Square dark oak panels decorated the walls. On the Indian rug facing Menzies’s desk was a leather set of...
Collier froze, dumbfounded by what he had just heard. His mind shot-off in several directions in search of possible reasons, but each possibility ended at the dead-end of a very long dark alley. Slowly, he turned to face Menzies. Off-balanced by the comment, he chos...
The Red Rose
Passports having been checked, the train crossed the Polish border en route to Pozan. Pavel had changed out of his S.S. uniform into farm laborer’s attire while Captain Hall had removed her makeup to present the truer, younger self. She now wore a red boat nec...
Pretense for War
Alfred Naujocks and his team arrived in the town of Gleiwitz—four miles inside Germany on the Polish border—and checked in at the Oberschlesischer Hotel. Feigning to be engineers in search of suitable resources to mine, they awaited their orders.
Approaching Warszawa Główna
“He knows!” The pillow pressed against the train window to rest her head against bounced onto the floor. Frantic, she shouted, “We must warn them!”
Startled from a deep sleep by Queenie’s sudden outburst, Elsa and Richard sat bolt upright. Ble...
Normally, Werner enjoyed playing the card game Skat, but since the train left the Poznan station his mind was focused elsewhere. He dealt three cards to each of his three companions. The next two cards, placed face down in the middle of the table between them, forme...
Shards of glass and steel were splayed about. Some of that whirlpool of horror showered down their deadly rainfall on the roofs of the train’s coaches. A second barely passed when, bellowing outward, the noise of the explosion followed in rushed pursuit. Octaves higher than a thunderc...
Bournemouth: Two Weeks Later
Only three more steps to climb. This morning he would confront him. He knew he was well prepared. But a slight sensation of being ill at ease hung over him. His hand wrapped around the handle of the door. Briefly, he lingered. The early morning salt-infused air and ...
The Squeeze is On
The march of events had brought Collier to this ill-fated point in time. Normally, he would have been dragged kicking and screaming, unwilling to do business. But, these were not normal times. And he willingly acquiesced to travel its route. Still, he found it diffi...
Paint had started to chip off the walls. Closer inspection revealed where previous prisoners had gouged its surface. Time slipped away without measure, the result of the disorientating design of his six-foot by four-foot holding-cell. Recessed in the ceiling, a cage...
Not Quite Down and Out
Mentally and emotionally tired, Collier lit his pipe and sank back in his chair. He had grown close to Archie Snowden over the years. Many festive occasions, once celebrated together, would be no more. Archie was a traitor. There was no doubt on that score. Yet, he ...
Where It All Started
He felt deeply alone. Salty air streamed through his open window. His nostrils flared with its aromatic scent while his mouth filled with its taste. Normally, he would have found it invigorating. But tonight, an emotional numbness had settled in. Needing time to ref...
“Who is it?” Lila asked in a whispered down as she tiptoed down the stairs.
Collier placed his hand over the mouthpiece. “It’s Queenie.”
“Give that phone to me. I’ll give her a mouthful,” Lila rejoined. &ld...