by Barry B. Wright
A heavy grey mist had settled over Bournemouth. It was well past the ten o’clock closing for pubs and the last of the trolley buses had been docked for the night. The damp, cold streets were empty, that is for the exception of a young man carrying an over-size...
Diane Waumsley pulled her woolen hat over her ears and jacked up the collar on her coat to ward off the damp, chilling November wind when she stepped out of the vehicle. Before closing the car door, she leaned back in.
“Thanks Uncle Sandy. But…are you ...
Lila Speaks Her Piece
The front door opened and closed and Lila could hear the floor boards creaking under his weight as he made his way along the hallway to the kitchen. She glanced up at the clock on the wall and shook her head.
“Sandy,” she called out, “you sur...
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 atop buildings black as newly laid coal in a burning fire poked smoke into the awakening skyline.
Particles of dust danced in the thin wedge of light that sliced through the narrow opening between the curtains before fattening out across the lower half of the bed. At the foot of the bed against the wall was a sparsely filled clothing armoire with a jacket hangin...
Two significant clues had been discovered in the missing girl’s hospital room: a Winchester bottle under her bed with several fingerprints on it and on the highly polished floor the stockinged impressions of an adult male’s footprints. It had been establ...
Preoccupied with the disturbing crime scene he had just left, Alexander Collier made his way down the hall to his office oblivious to the pitter-patter of shoes following closely behind him.
Leonard Scoffield and some of his team had been pulled from fingerpri...
Collier had unwillingly missed another Remembrance Day. He had hoped for new beginnings to his healing process but circumstance and devotion to duty steered him along a different path. The trauma of trench warfare and the emotional ties associated with the death of ...
Collier was preoccupied with a phone call from Detective Inspector Ellis Smyth from Scotland Yard when Sergeant Snowden popped his head around the partially opened door to his office. Waving him in, Collier directed him towards the two chairs in front of his desk as...
When Captain Lynn Hall had worked at the U. S. Embassy in Turkey in 1936 her high intelligence and language proficiency had not gone unnoticed. A career in Foreign Service—her lifelong goal—had been well within reach.
While hunting in the Kizilcaha...
Wish Me Luck
“Whatever I tell you must remain between you and me. Do you understand? No one else must know.”
Collier slowly acknowledged his understanding with the nod of his head.
Satisfied, Captain Hall regained her seat and made herself comfortable bef...
Hoping For A Break
Shortly after Captain Hall had shut the door behind her, Collier retrieved his pipe and pouch of tobacco from the side drawer of his desk. Filling his pipe he returned the tobacco to the drawer and walked over to the window. He hadn’t smoked in several months ...
"The Lady Vanishes"
The phone book smacked against the wall beside him. "Bloody hell!" Closing the door, he picked up the phone book and hesitantly approached the inspector. “Bad day, Gov?” He placed it on his desk.
“You might say that, Sergeant,” replied ...
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 Elizabeth Stod...
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 his wife, Lila, had gone with the hope that their son and his fiancé would ...
Captain Hall Returns
Captain Hall and Inspector Collier sat facing each other across his desk. Sergeant Snowden poured coffee into her mug and, before he left, he placed the thermos containing the remainder of the coffee on the table under the electoral map.
“Thank you, Serg...
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.
He wished he had worn his jacket. Clothed in a thin woolen shirt, wo...
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...
Famished and well past noon, Diane Waumsley parked her bike outside the Cricketers Arms on Winham Road. Securing the bike with her combination lock, she entered the pub.
She wore a woolen sweater with a slight roll at the neck and flared pants. One pant leg ha...
Third Party Malice
Happenstance had changed Lynn Hall’s life. Her lifelong goal—a career in Foreign Service—had come to an abrupt end four years ago when she stumbled and shot herself in the leg during a hunting expedition in the Kizilcahaman District of Ankara, Turk...
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 split in the living room curtains Lynn’s bleary eyes deciphered a reddish hue s...
Out of Dawn's Awakening
The sun’s rays were just peeking above the horizon when Sergeant Snowden parked in front of Inspector Collier’s home. Twenty minutes earlier than usual and without his second cup of tea, he was grumpy. What made matters worse, the local newspaper, The Ec...
At the beginning of 1939, the English south coastal resort of Bournemouth proudly proclaimed a population of one hundred thirty thousand. The natural beauty of its cliffs and the wide sweep of its bay embraced a magic carpet of sand while the Bourne River—frin...
The afternoon edition of The Echo’s banner headline blared out at him:‘Queenie’ Found Murdered
“Your ‘boat,’ Jock,” chortled Quentin Hogg, observing Jock’s facial expression from the end of the bar. Quentin turne...
Facing A Hungry Old Lion
Anger and resentment percolated inside him.
“Are you alright, Gov?” Sergeant Snowden asked, concerned, as he glanced at the Inspector in the rear-view mirror.
How do I answer him? Collier mused. Life had suddenly become more complicated. And,...
The Berlin Connection
Luftwaffe officer, Harro Schulze-Boysen had been a Soviet NKVD agent since 1935. In fact, it was he who had approached them through a contact to offer his services. No one within the Nazi echelon had any idea of his real political convictions. Known by the codename ...
Ahead, twenty-nine Edgestone Road loomed. Once, its grounds had stood alone; reluctantly, over time, it had been forced into the lesser company of others. A caste within a framework of its own making, the grandiose dwelling’s pores had once oozed with majesty ...
He had not been following a rabbit with a waistcoat-pocket and watch when he had fallen down his godforsaken hole. And the climb back up was painful. “Turn off that damn light!” Louise stepped between him and the sun. “What happened?” Collier...
“Listen to him. He’s right,” Captain Hall assured Collier.
Another flock of sharp arrows of pain took flight in Collier’s head pushing aside his growing consternation. Queasiness forced him into an unwilling compliance as he sat down. B...
Something Gained, Something Lost
When the shots rang out, everyone hit the ground hard except Louise. She had not yet grasped the lethal urgency of her situation. The empty brandy glass on the table directly ahead of her exploded, splaying shards of glass in her direction. Diving behind a large con...
The Night Ferry
The burgeoning crowd of people briefly captured his attention. He glanced at his watch as he opened the Paris-based newspaper Le Temps and continued to read. The Night Ferry was late. He had already gone through Customs. Not having much to declare, except for his va...
The Channel Crossing
Rapid knocking sounds woke him up. Collier glanced at Lila who was still in a deep sleep. He held up the bedside clock to the moonlight and cringed. It was 3 A.M. Whoever the hell is at my door at this untimely hour had better have a damn good reason, he thought. E...
Captain Hall glanced at her watch as the French countryside passed by outside her window. The expected time of arrival at Paris Gare du Nord was 8:55 A.M. The train had just passed through Bethune, roughly one hundred sixteen miles north of Paris. Famished, she reac...
Aunt Martha's Tea Set
To say that Captain Friedrich Cole was not happy would have been an understatement. Already two hours late leaving the Port of Liverpool, he paced the bridge of the SS Armagon. ‘The old man’ as he was called by his crew was a hardnosed veteran seafa...
S. S. Paris
The Depression had transformed France’s tolerance. By 1938-39 the influx of new refugees at the end of the Spanish civil war had sparked off renewed intensity of xenophobia and anti-Semitism. Before the end of summer 1939, Edouard Daladier, Prime Minister of F...
An Unexpected Visitor
Avenue Foch is one of the most prestigious locations in Paris. Located close to the Champs Elysees, its location provides easy access to bakeries, cafes, restaurants and superb shopping.
Using one of the riding trails as a footpath, Lynn and Melissa hurriedly made their way...
Behind the Scene
Max Claussen, Werner’s messenger, was a Trojan Horse who had become well placed in the Nazi Party. He was a lean, well-coiffed blonde, aristocratic figure that represented the Aryan ideal, who had been introduced to Werner by Himmler himself. But, unknown to t...
Dark clouds deeply layered the morning sky as lightening pierced through to orchestrate a blitzkrieg of rain that swept across the landscape. The rain fell like bombs; claps of thunder shook structures. It was the third straight day. Primordial thoughts were pricked; the weather foretold ...
The hypnotic to and fro sound of the wipers fought a losing battle against the rain. Turning onto Main, he drove a short distance before pulling to the curb. Shutting off the ignition, he waited. The windshield distorted and blurred the few images of pedestrians who...
Not a word was said as Queenie crossed the threshold. Growing up as a lonely child in the Wye Valley, she enjoyed surprises. And this was no exception. With a gentle nudge from her heel, the door closed softly behind her. Briefly, she surveyed the apartment. Removin...
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 previous gains, they thought...
The Switch Over
“I mean no harm,” he pleaded, raising his arms. “I’ve been sent to get you and drive you the rest of the way to Berlin.”
“Who sent you?” Lynn demanded, pressing her weapon deeper into his back.
An Evil Mind
He was proud to be known as “the man with the iron heart.” Head of the Gestaatspolizei (Gestapo) and Security Service (SD), Reinhold encompassed a Luciferian disciple’s mentality of cold amorality and greed for power. Arriving from Paris late last evening, he had ne...
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...