Author: Halcris PM
Doyle meets up again with a villain known to him in his police days, and it lands him in a lot of trouble.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Adventure - Words: 11,205 - Reviews: 3 - Published: 11-06-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8678842
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It all began with a chance encounter one sunny afternoon on a busy shopping street. Doyle had found himself with an unexpected afternoon off, and had taken the opportunity to deal with a small problem that had been irking him for a few days. His toaster, which had done long service, had suddenly packed up. As he rather enjoyed toast at breakfast time, he wanted a new one, and this had been the first chance he'd had to do something about it.
He'd chosen to go to a suburban High Street, where he knew there were several of the right kind of shops, and had decided to have a leisurely afternoon, browsing from one to another, to give himself a good choice. Such outings were a rare luxury for him; he was usually far too busy. Finally he made his choice, and purchased the item. As he walked out of the shop, he was debating with himself whether to return to his car and go home, or to increase his treat by finding somewhere for 'a nice cup of tea'.
Suddenly, a voice behind him spoke his name. He swung round to meet the smile of an older man, wearing a rather loud tweed jacket. For a moment he was non-plussed. Then he remembered.
"Inspector Haversham," he exclaimed, recognizing the man who had been his superior officer for a couple of years when he was in the police force.
"Not any more, young man !", came the cheerful reply. "I've been retired for six months now."
"It's very nice to see you. You're looking well," said Doyle, and meant it. He'd always liked this man.
"Look," he said quickly. "I was just going for a cup of tea. If you've got the time ?"
"I've got all the time in the world now", laughed the man. "There's a nice place just round the corner."
Soon the pair were ensconced at a window table in the quiet little café, discussing old times over tea and cakes.
"You've gone up in the world now," said Haversham chattily. "I was sorry to lose you; you were a good policeman, even if you were a bit obstreperous over taking orders sometimes. But you're the one giving orders now, I expect," he added with a smile.
"Oh, I still have to take them," said Doyle, "but maybe I'm a bit better at it now."
"Good," said Haversham. "You work for Cowley don't you?. I've heard a lot about him."
"He's O.K." said Doyle quickly, ready to defend his fierce boss, who had the reputation of being a 'hard man'. Well, he had to be, with the job he handled.
"I've a bit of news I can pass on to you," went on the older man, "but you won't like it. Max Leitener is on the scene again."
"He's out already ?," exclaimed Doyle incredulously.
He and the Inspector had worked hard together on the case, getting the evidence to put the man away, some years ago.
"Of course," he said reflectively, "we never did get quite enough hard facts to put him away for as long as he deserved, did we ?. He got off quite lightly in the end, - literally got away with murder, more than one, I suspect."
"Well," said Haversham, "if I hear any more, I'll get it passed on to you somehow."
They parted company then, and left. Doyle went back to his flat in a thoughtful mood. Leitener was a thoroughly bad lot, and should have been put away for a lot longer. But he'd paid skilful, dodgy lawyers, who'd found every possible loophole, and had got him off a lot of the charges on technical points.
If he's starting up again, and up to some of his old activities, thought Doyle, he might be worth C.I.5 s interest, so I'll keep my ears open.
But for a while he heard nothing, and as C.I 5 had plenty of other tasks to keep them busy, he almost forgot about what he'd heard.
Then, late one afternoon, as he and his mate had just handed in to their boss a report on a stake-out, Cowley suddenly said,
"The name Max Leitener mean anything to you ?"
"No," said Bodie straight away.
"Yes," said Doyle, almost at the same time. He went on to tell all he knew, how, when he was with the police, they had arrested Leitener and he had gone to prison, but not for nearly as long as he should have done.
"I did hear he was out," said Doyle, "and I was waiting to hear if he was up to his old tricks."
"What's he like ?," asked Bodie curiously.
"Very smooth and urbane on the surface," replied Doyle, "but behind the façade, he's deadly and completely ruthless.
He turned to his boss and asked, "Have you heard something, sir ?"
"Yes," replied Cowley. "One of Melchett's informants, who used to be a policeman, told him about a couple of men who'd reappeared on the scene, names of Sims and Stewart."
"They're old members of Leitener's gang !," exclaimed Doyle.
"So Melchett found out, when he did some checking," continued Cowley. "Apparently they disappeared when Leitener went to jail, but now they are back."
"Interesting !," commented Doyle.
"I thought so," said Cowley. "I'll get them put under surveillance, and we'll see who they contact."
Several days later, as Bodie and Doyle entered the duty-room, their boss called them and beckoned them into his office. They followed him and found a colleague called Barnes already there.
"Barnes has some interesting information for you," he said, and motioned the man to begin.
"I've been keeping an eye on Sims," explained Barnes. "A couple of days ago, he paid a visit to the Red Lion, a pub in the East End. Now, that's a pub I know quite well," he went on, "for it's just round the corner from where my aunt and uncle live. He and I often pop in there Sunday lunch time, while Auntie prepares a roast dinner."
"Lucky for some !," said Doyle in an envious tone. This earned him a grin from his friend, and a scowl from Cowley, for being flippant.
"I know the barmaid in there," continued Barnes. "She's the landlord's daughter. She's a pretty girl, but not that bright ! But because she's attractive, men chat to her easily. She doesn't really register what they say, half the time, but with a little persuasion, and a couple of pink gins, she remembers quite a bit."
Doyle grinned at this, but said nothing, not risking annoying Cowley again.
"She told me that Sims had been in, to book the upstairs room for a meeting tomorrow, Friday. She said he was quite excited about it, said it was important, and the 'big man' was coming."
"Leitener ?," queried Bodie ,in an interested tone.
"Could be," agreed Barnes, and the others nodded in agreement. This could be a really important break-through.
"Tomorrow," said Doyle thoughtfully, "Doesn't give us much time to do anything."
"Let's visit there tonight," suggested Bodie.
So that evening found the pair of them sitting at a table in the corner of the Red Lion, making their drinks last, as they eyed the people coming in. They had discovered that the room upstairs was in use tonight, booked for a stag party, and they had watched several lively young men making their way towards it.
"Pity about that," said Bodie. "I was hoping we might have sneaked in and 'bugged' it."
"I've a feeling that Leitener would check that," observed Doyle. "He was always up on all the latest technology, as I remember."
Eventually he got to his feet. "I'll go and have a little 'recce'," he said.
On the pretence of visiting the 'gents', he went through the door at the far end of the room. By-passing the appropriate door, he crept up the steps to the next landing. There was no-one about, but there was a great deal of raucous noise coming from the room in question. He moved a little further along the landing, and found another door. It was locked, but that was no problem for the special set of keys he was carrying. He stepped inside and found he was in a small store room. It was pretty full, stacked with the white tables and chairs that went outside during the summer months.
There was a door that connected it to the main room, and when he moved to stand close to that, he found he could hear very clearly what was going on at the party next door. This was promising !
Bodie meanwhile, was keeping an eye on the customers at the bar.
His attention was taken by a girl sitting at the far end. She was attractive, with a good figure and long, dark hair framing a clever-looking face. She appeared to be waiting for someone, for she looked at her watch several times.
Pity I'm working, he thought to himself, or I might have made an effort to chat her up, as she looks interesting.
A few late stragglers, already merry, came in and went through the door to join the party. I hope they don't catch Doyle snooping, thought Bodie; it could be awkward to explain.
He had a moment's unease when a policewoman entered the bar. But noticing her elaborate make-up, as she went straight towards the far door, he concluded that she was probably a stripper on the way to the party upstairs. They are having a good time, he thought, and smiled to himself.
Doyle returned and joined him at the table. Over another beer, he told him about the little room upstairs, and how it would be ideal to eavesdrop on tomorrow's meeting.
"Maybe I should be the one to go there," suggested Bodie, "and then you could sit here and watch who comes. You are sure to recognize some of them."
Doyle considered this idea for a moment.
"No, I don't think so," he said, "for that cuts both ways.! Some of them might recognize me, and that would blow it, wouldn't it ?"
Bodie conceded that he was probably right.
So busy were they, that neither noticed that the girl at the bar was watching them intently. It wouldn't really have bothered them if they had, for she was too far away to hear anything they were saying
So the next evening found them once again in the Red Lion. Bodie noticed that the girl was there again too. For appearance's sake, they sat for a while over a beer. Then Doyle made his way to the back door, and crept upstairs to his hiding-place, fortunately without encountering anyone as he did so
Bodie continued to watch the incoming customers, especially those who made for the far door. And a mixed lot they were !. To his experienced eye, some of them were obviously long-term villains. He spotted a couple of small weasely-looking men. I bet they are 'catmen' or safe-breakers, he thought. Then a big coloured man went through, followed by a hefty chap, who, he thought from experience, looked like an ex-boxer, brawny but slightly punch-drunk. He also saw a neat, dapper, Italian-looking man, who had a mean look about him.
Then came a really interesting entrant.
He was tall and lean, wearing an expensive-looking suit and Italian-style shoes. But it was his air of complete self-confidence that caught Bodie's eye. He sauntered through the bar as if he owned the place. I bet that's Leitener, thought Bodie. He fits Ray's description.
The girl at the bar left her stool, and came forward to greet the new arrival, who threw a careless arm over her shoulders as they moved towards the back.
Whew, thought Bodie, if she's Leitener's girl, it's a good job I didn't try to chat her up !
He sat in his corner, sipping his beer, and studying the regulars. I wonder how Doyle's doing, he mused, slightly concerned.
They had agreed that he would wait for Doyle to call him, for if he used his radio-phone to call his mate, who would have his ear pressed to the connecting door, the sound would be heard, and the game would be up instantly.
But it wasn't easy ! Being patiently inactive was very hard for Bodie, as it just wasn't natural for him.
Meanwhile, Doyle was doing all right. He had met no-one as he had crept up the stairs. He had quickly opened the door of the small store-room, slipped inside, and re-locked it behind him. Thinking that it might well be a long session, he had carefully and noiselessly removed one of the plastic chairs, and placed it so that he could sit with his ear almost against the door panels. He took up his position without a sound, and found, due to the poorly-fitting cheap door, that he could hear the conversation from the other room perfectly clearly.
Leitener was very much in charge, holding forth in a very forceful manner.
"You all know who I am," he started boldly, "and you wouldn't be here, if you didn't know and accept what I do.
There was a slight murmur of assent round the others in the room.
He went on to make an introduction.
"This is Enrico Roscoe," he said. "He's my second in command. If I'm not about, you do what he says. Understood ?"
Again there was an accepting murmur.
"I play for high stakes," continued Leitener boldly, "but because I plan well, I succeed. You work for me, and you'll do well out of it, I promise you."
"Now to priorities," he said. "First, we need some money ! I did manage to recover some that I had stashed away before I went inside, but it's not going to be enough for long. I need something that will give us real funding. Any suggestions ?"
"Rob a bank", came a voice.
"Well, the money is there," agreed Leitener, "but the security at banks tends to be extremely tight. I have a better idea."
There was silence as they all listened intently.
"What I want," continued Leitener, "is a large works or factory, that pays out thousands of wage-packets on a Friday, and so has a great deal of money in the safe on Thursday night. After six years inside, there are sure to be some I haven't heard of."
There ensued a babble of voices, as various members of the recruited gang came up with suggestions.
"Right," said Leitener loudly, quelling the hubbub. "I've made a note of the names you've suggested. The next task is careful investigation of these places, to find out how much money goes in to each of them, and what their security is like. But we'll be very careful and discreet about it. There's no rush ! We've got time to make a choice, and then plan it carefully so that it is fool-proof."
"But, first," he said. "I've got a little treat for you. We're going to disappear for a while. I've rented a country mansion, 100 miles north of London, and we're all going straight there, to get to know each other, and to find out the particular skills you each possess. A team that knows and trusts its members is a successful one. I want no weak links !"
A murmur of approbation and excitement swept round the room. Leitener's charisma and forcefulness was impressing them all.
"There's just one more thing," he said.
Hidden in his storeroom, Doyle pressed his ear to the door. He'd learned a great deal already. What was this last thing ?
Suddenly the door in front of him swung open. A hand grabbed the front of his shirt and yanked him into the room. Because he had been sitting down, he was caught completely off-balance, and was totally unable to avoid the vicious blow aimed at his head, which left him sprawled on the floor, out cold.
Leitener gazed down at the inert form lying at his feet, then looked across the room to smile at the girl sitting there.
"Thank you, Leila," he said, "Your help was invaluable."
Bodie was getting impatient ! He hated waiting at the best of times, and this meeting seemed to have been going on for ages. He hadn't heard a whisper from Doyle yet, and the landlord would soon be calling 'Time'. He was very surprised that none of the gang had appeared back in the bar for a drink before it was too late.
At last he could stand it no longer ! He needed to visit the 'gents' anyway, so he got up and went through the door at the back. When he emerged there was no-one about, so he decided to risk a trip upstairs.
He found the storeroom door, and tried it gently. It was locked, as he had expected it to be. He moved along to the next door, and listened at it. Not a sound !
Puzzled, he decided to try knocking. If he got a reply, he could always find some excuse, and none of the gang knew him anyway.
But there wasn't any response ! He tried the handle gently. The door wasn't locked ! He eased his gun in its holster, then boldly pushed the door open.
The room was empty ! All he could see was a big table and some chairs, and a quantity of empty beer-glasses. He looked towards the connecting door to the storeroom. It was open. He stepped quickly towards it and looked in. Nothing, apart from the stacked tables and chairs, including one overturned just inside the door.
He dashed downstairs and looked about, and found the answer. The passage led past the 'gents', and on to a back door, leading out into a yard, with open access to the street beyond. A slight patch of oil, shiny and recent, indicated that a car might have been parked there, but it was obviously long gone.
Bodie was furious ! He'd been sitting there patiently, waiting to hear from his mate before making a move. And now the gang had gone, and Doyle with them ! In what condition ?
Quickly he got on to Headquarters, and called for back-up. Several teams arrived in short order. One set about enquiries in the local area, asking about cars parked nearby, and whether anyone had noticed them leaving. It wasn't a productive exercise. Who notices cars parked near a pub on a Friday night ?
A forensic team went through the upstairs room with intensive care. They found little, except a plethora of finger-prints on the beer-glasses. Some of Doyle's were on the inside of the connecting door, but not in the main room.
A subsequent search through the finger-print records, identified several of the gang members, including Leitener, of course. Enquiries were made at the home addresses that were on record, with little result. They were met with more than one disgruntled wife or partner, annoyed that their men had disappeared, without letting them know where they were going. One went so far as to say she hoped he never came back, for he was a useless article she could well do without.
All attempts to track down the men failed, for, of course, due to Leitener's crafty planning, they were all 100 miles away.
Bodie was very silent and uptight, deeply concerned about what might have happened to his mate. Someone suggested that Doyle might have tried to follow Leitener when he left, but Bodie quashed that suggestion. Doyle would have let him know if he were trying that. Also he would have had to come to Bodie for the car keys, for they had come together. The car had been exactly where Bodie had parked it, earlier in the evening.
No, Bodie felt sure something had happened to Doyle, and not something good ! The fallen chair worried him. It suggested that his mate had been discovered,- and this gang was led by a very ruthless man.
Doyle came back to his senses slowly. The blow he had received had been a vicious one, and he'd no idea how long he'd been out. Responding to his instincts and his training, he did not open his eyes immediately, but let his other senses do their work to assess his situation.
The murmur of conversation, with several different voices, told him he was not alone. The clatter of cutlery, and the smell of food, suggested that a meal was being taken close to him.
He concentrated, without moving a muscle, on what his fingers and the rest of his body were telling him. He seemed to be sitting upright in a chair with wooden arms, on which his arms were resting. Flexing slightly, he found he wasn't tied to them. Similarly easing his legs, out of sight under the table, he decided they weren't pinioned either.
His thoughts were suddenly interrupted.
"Stop pretending, Mr. Doyle," came Leitener's voice. "I know you are awake."
Doyle opened his eyes, and found his assessment of the situation had been pretty accurate. He was sitting in a large wooden carver chair, which had been pushed well in, so that the ends of the arms touched the heavy oak refectory table before him, thus imprisoning him as effectively as a child in a high chair.
Around him the various members of the gang Leitener had assembled were demolishing a meal, - spaghetti bolognaise by the look and the smell of it.
A yard away from him, at the head of the table, sat Leitener, also in a weighty carver chair. He was regarding Doyle with a sardonic smile, and toying with several articles in front of him. Doyle recognized them, - his gun, his radio-phone, and his I.D. card. His jacket also hung from the corner post of Leitener's chair. He was effectively deprived of anything useful !
The Italian-looking man, sitting on the other side of Leitener, suddenly spoke. "Why did we bother to bring him along ?," he demanded. "We should have killed him, and dumped him before we left London,"
"Now then, Roscoe," admonished Leitener. "You are far too impulsive. You should do as I do, and take time to consider all possibilities."
"What possibilities ?," queried Roscoe, annoyed at being rebuked in front of the rest of the gang.
"He could be very useful to us," said Leitener in a calming tone. "And this little article certainly could." As he spoke, he was fingering Doyle's I.D. card. "With this, he could open doors for us."
"What makes you think I'd help you ?," Doyle asked defiantly.
"Oh, you will, dear boy," said Leitener, in his silkiest tone. "If I say you will, you will, though it may take a bit of persuasion."
Although the words were mild and gentle, the menace underlying them was almost tangible, and Doyle felt an involuntary shiver run down his spine. Whatever Leitener had in mind would not be pleasant.
Roscoe scowled at Doyle, but said no more. Looking at them both, Doyle suddenly realised that his life hung in the balance of a power struggle between the leader and the younger man. For the moment, Leitener was in 'because I say so' control, but how long would it last ?
"Now, we must be nice to our guest," said Leitener urbanely. "Leila, my dear, will you get him some food."
The girl they had seen in the bar, who had been standing by Leitener's chair, moved away. She returned with a full plate, which she placed in front of Doyle. Deciding that nothing would be gained by refusing, he set to, and enjoyed the meal. It would be wise, anyway, to keep his strength up, so that he could seize any opportunity to escape that might arise.
When they had all finished, and Leila had cleared the empty plates, presumably to the kitchen, Leitener got to his feet.
"Bedtime, I think," he said cheerfully. He took Doyle's jacket from the chair, and handed it to him, as the big black man pulled back Doyle's heavy imprisoning chair.
"Come along, dear boy," he said. "I've decided to put you in the nursery. Not because I regard you as a child," he added hastily. "No way would I so underestimate you, believe me."
As he led the way, Doyle had to follow, being pushed along by the big black man, and the brawny boxer-like fellow. Leitener went on to explain.
"When they built this kind of house, they put the nursery right at the top, to keep the noisy creatures well away from the adults, but they also added strong bars to the windows, so that the little dears didn't fall out. Makes it kind of suitable, doesn't it ?," he added chattily.
Doyle didn't respond. He'd slipped on his jacket, and was unobtrusively feeling in the pockets. As he suspected, they were empty. Well, they weren't going to leave him his knife or his skeleton keys, were they ?
They'd climbed three flights of stairs before they came to the nursery wing. They entered a large room. Leitener crossed to the far side, and took down a key from a hook on the wall. He opened a small door next to it, and stood aside as the two burly men propelled Doyle into the small room beyond.
"No luxury, I'm afraid," he said jovially, "but sleep well."
Doyle heard the door being locked behind him, and the click as the key was returned to its hook. It was dark in the little room. It had no light, only that of the moonlight coming through the barred window. Perhaps once it had had some furnishings, but now it was stripped bare. Nothing but the bed, and that wasn't free-standing, but merely a mattress in a bunk built into an alcove in the far wall.
He went to the window. At this height he could see little but the tops of some moonlit trees. He tested the strength of the bars. Not promising, they were very firm. He might have dug them out of the wall, if he'd had some sort of tool. But he'd have had to take out several, as they were close together. And anyway, this high up, it was probably a sheer drop to the ground.
He crossed the room to sit on the bed, considering his situation. The mattress was old and rather lumpy. They hadn't left him a pillow or a blanket, so he was glad that he'd at least got his jacket back. It would have been pretty chilly otherwise.
He curled up on the bed, idly watching the shaft of moonlight moving very slowly across the dull, faded linoleum on the floor. As it reached the far corner, he spotted something that alerted him. The lino, old and cracked, was curling upwards. He slipped off the bed and went to investigate. He pulled the corner further back, exposing the dusty old floorboards.
His questing fingers found what he'd been hoping for, an old nail sticking up from the surface. A lot of patient wiggling and pulling finally gave him what he wanted, a nail, and quite a long one too.
Now he had a tool ! And with his expertise, it might make a useful lock-pick. He went quickly to the door and began to try, by touch alone, as it was very dark. It took a lot of sensitive poking and gentle probing movements, but at last there came a satisfying 'click'.
Gently he turned the handle, and opened the door, listening intently. At last the gap was wide enough for him to step through. The outside room, also only moonlit, was empty. He crept to the further door, opened it, and listened again. The house beyond was silent and still.
Testing each step carefully, he crept down the first flight of stairs, then halted and listened yet again. Faint sounds of snoring came from along the corridor, - evidently some of these rooms were occupied ! Which of the gang, he wondered ? He carried on down the next lot of stairs.
Now came the difficult part, for the main staircase, which led up from the hallway below, came up in the middle of the house. This meant he'd have to pass several rooms to reach it, rooms that were certain to be in use. But it was still all silent and dark.
He moved stealthily forward, keeping to the carpet-runner so that his feet made no sound. He'd almost reached the top of the wide staircase, when suddenly a light snapped on, illuminating the whole corridor. There in the nearest doorway stood Leitener, resplendent in a silk paisley-patterned dressing-gown, holding an evil-looking automatic pointed straight at him !
At this range, the man could hardly miss, so Doyle stood stock-still, and raised his hands in disappointed surrender.
"Leaving us so soon, Mr. Doyle ?," enquired Leitener, in his smooth silky tone. "Tut, tut, how discourteous."
The next door along opened, and alerted by the voice, Bruno, the big black man appeared, looking rather incongruous in yellow polka-dot pyjama trousers. He came to stand by Leitener.
"I wonder how our friend got out," said Leitener thoughtfully. "Search him, Bruno."
Doyle had to stand still while Bruno ran his big hands over him. "Nothing, boss," he reported. "Just this rusty old nail."
Leitener smiled evilly. "Live and learn, Bruno," he said. "To you, it's just a rusty old nail, but to our clever friend, it's a tool."
He smiled again.
"But I'm clever too," he boasted, and with his foot he kicked up a corner of the carpet runner. Doyle looked and knew how he'd been caught, - pressure pads ! If these were all along the corridor, Leitener had had early warning of someone on the move.
Leitener waved the gun menacingly.
"Back upstairs," he ordered. "Bruno, slip downstairs, and bring up one of those heavy dining-room chairs."
Bruno looked puzzled, but followed the order.
Doyle went back up the stairs to his prison, with Leitener a few steps behind him, - cleverly not close enough to put himself within reach, if Doyle dared to make a move.
As they reached the outer room, Bruno caught up with them, carrying the heavy chair effortlessly, but still with the puzzled look. They drove Doyle back into his inner room, and firmly re-locked the door. Then Leitener showed Bruno how to wedge the heavy chair under the door-handle.
"There," he said, "that should hold until we have time to find some bolts tomorrow." He shouted mockingly through the door. "Sleep well, Mr. Doyle," he said, with a laugh. Then the pair left.
Doyle had long ago guessed what the chair was for, and knew he wouldn't be able to shift it. Besides, they'd taken his improvised lock-pick away from him. So he resignedly made his way to the lumpy bed and curled up on it. He'd just have to wait and see if any other opportunities arose. And with the quick relaxation techniques he'd learned in his police days, he was soon fast asleep.
He woke to find the morning light shining into his prison. He got up and stretched, doing a few quick exercises to relieve the mild aches of an uncomfortable bed. He waited nearly an hour before he heard the sound of the chair being moved, and the key clicking in the lock. The door opened to reveal Sims, the ex-boxer and Bruno, who motioned him out, and watching very warily, escorted him downstairs.
There was the pleasant smell of a cooked breakfast in the air. I hope I'm included, he thought, and was very pleased, when, safely re-ensconced in last night's imprisoning chair, he was served with the same inviting meal that the others at the table were enjoying.
As he ate, he looked round the table. The gang were all there except Roscoe. Doyle remembered hearing a car shoot off soon after he woke up. What's Roscoe up to, he mused.?
As if he had read his thoughts, as he had looked at the empty chair, Leitener gave him an explanation. "Roscoe's gone back to London to do a bit of investigating for me," he said. "The police don't know his face yet, he's been working in the States for some years."
When they had all finished eating, and were sitting back in their chairs, Leitener started in on a little game plan of his own. He tapped on the table with a spoon to gain their attention, and then began.
"Gentlemen," he said, beaming round the table at them all, "We have a little problem. Last night, our guest did something naughty ! He tried to leave without saying 'goodbye', or thanking us for our hospitality."
The men already knew the story, having heard it from Bruno.
"Now, don't you think that was rather rude of him ?," he continued. "Perhaps we ought to punish him for it."
Although he was smiling affably, there was an undercurrent of menace in his voice.
Doyle knew exactly what the man's game was. He wanted him to re-act, to put up some sort of resistance, so that he would have an excuse to subdue him with great force, partly to please his own sadistic nature, but mainly to impress his newly-gathered gang, that he, Leitener, was powerfully in control.
I won't play, thought Doyle cleverly.
Although he didn't let it show, Leitener was annoyed that his victim showed no sign of response, and pushed a little harder.
"I know," he said, "Let's make him do the washing-up." He was hoping that Doyle would resist this attempt at humiliation.
But Doyle had more sense. When his chair was pulled back and he was escorted to the kitchen, with everyone tailing along, he meekly allowed them to adorn him with Leila's frilly 'pinny', and calmly got on with the job.
The other men thought it was all very funny, but Leitener was furiously frustrated, as he realised that Doyle was clever enough to see through him. Still, he did seem to have impressed his men a little bit, and there would be other opportunities later.
When he was finished, Leitener called them all back into the lounge. As he went, Doyle studied the group about him, and decided to bide his time. Two or three of them together, he might have tried to take on, but all six, including Sims and Bruno, would be too much
Leitener then explained the plan he had devised, to keep the men amused and to get them fit. Bruno and Sims had worked out a daily routine, starting easily for the first day, with a few simple exercises out on the lawn, plus a bit of gentle jogging round the extensive grounds. The would-be instructors ushered the rest out of the lounge's French windows to begin.
"Come and watch, Doyle," ordered Leitener. Leila led the way, as he pushed his captive after her. Maybe I'll have a chance now, thought Doyle, while they are all busy, but his hopes were quickly dashed.
The garden furniture set out on the concrete patio, was not the modern plastic style, but the old-fashioned cast-iron stuff, painted white, and cemented in pushed Doyle into one of the seats, and with a swift move, anchored him there with a pair of handcuffs. Stuck, with his left wrist attached to the fretted-patterned arm-rest, Doyle was completely helpless.
So he had, therefore, to sit with Leila and Leitener, watching the efforts of the men to follow the tuition of Sims and Bruno. The youngest man, Sinclair, wasn't bad, but the older two, Stewart and Wetherby, had obviously done little physical exercise, and were struggling. If I'm ever alone with them, thought Doyle, they'll be easy to take.
It was at this point that he learned about Leila. She was sitting on the edge of her chair, watching the men with a smile. Leitener leaned forward and tapped her arm gently. She swung round to face him.
"Leila, sweetheart," said Leitener. "Would you go and get some coffee on the go. They'll all need it when they finish."
The girl nodded, and moved off back towards the house.
Leitener looked towards Doyle, and saw the intelligent comprehension showing in his expression.
"Yes," he said, "It doesn't show, of course, but our Leila is totally deaf. She lost her hearing as a teenager, but she's been taught how to lip-read, and she's expert at it."
"That's how we caught you," he continued. "She was sitting in the bar while you and your mate were discussing your plans. She 'heard' every word and reported it all to me. So we were ready for you."
In a way, Doyle felt relieved to hear this. It explained a lot. He'd wondered how he'd been discovered, when he was sure he'd taken the utmost care not to let a single sound betray his presence in the little side room.
Things went on in a similar pattern for several more days, as Leitener waited for Roscoe to return. Doyle was on the alert for any chance to escape. But Leitener had evidently warned his men to treat him warily, for everywhere he was taken, there were at least two of the gang with him. They watched him closely, and were careful not to get too close.
Still, thought Doyle to himself, he wasn't being treated too badly. He was being well fed. He was allowed reasonable toilet facilities, including the loan of an electric shaver, under close supervision, of course. And although two heavy bolts had made his night-time prison very secure, he had been allowed a pillow and a blanket, so he was fairly comfortable.
He did try another escape attempt. He was being brought down to breakfast in the usual fashion, Sims, the ex-boxer was in front of him, and Stewart, the little cat-burglar, was two steps behind. As they moved to the last flight, Doyle made his move.
He stopped suddenly, turned and grabbed the man who'd nearly bumped into him, and pushed him down on top of Sims, causing the two men to fall down the last two steps, and land in a heap on the floor.
Doyle leapt over them, and was along the passage towards the back door as fast as he could move. But luck was against him ! The bolts on the heavy door were still in place, and the delay as he wrestled with them was just too long. Alerted by the shouts of the fallen men, Bruno appeared from a nearby doorway, and grabbed him. He tried to fight him off, using every trick he knew, but the big man was very strong, and when Sims and Stewart came charging along to join in, the unequal battle came to an end.
With his arm twisted painfully up his back in a 'half-nelson', he was frog-marched back along the hall, and into the dining-room, where the rest were already at the table. He was thrust into his usual chair, as the men told Leitener what had happened. They were wondering if Leitener would exact violent retribution this time, but he only laughed out loud.
"Persistent little devil, isn't he ?," he said. "But I'm not surprised. He'll keep trying, - so just be watchful."
Later that afternoon, Roscoe's car roared back up the drive. After the evening meal, he and Leitener spent a couple of hours closeted together in the study. I wish I was a 'fly on the wall', thought Doyle. I'd love to know what they are planning.
He found out some of it the following morning. After breakfast, when all the dishes had been cleared, Leitener kept them all at the table and made his announcement.
"Change of plans, men," he said. "We're not bothering with a factory pay-roll. We're going straight for a bank."
"They've tight security at banks," protested one of the men.
"Yes," agreed Leitener, "but that's where this comes in." and he waved Doyle's I.D. card.
"While he was investigating, Roscoe found out just how much authority C.I.5 really has. If a C.I.5 man walks up to a bank counter, shows his card, and demands to speak with the manager, they'll open the door for him, and then we'll be in !."
"I won't help you," declared Doyle. He was appalled at the plan, for it just might work.
"No, I didn't think you would," said Leitener, looking at him speculatively. "I wish I had the time to work on you. I think I would enjoy breaking you, however hard it was."
Doyle could almost feel the evil in the man's mind.
"But I think we can get round that," continued Leitener. He fished in a paper bag lying in front of him, and pulled out – a dark, curly wig !
He looked round the members of his gang.
"I think you are likeliest, Sinclair," he said, holding out the wig. "Try it on"
Sinclair stepped round the table. He was fair-haired, almost ginger in colouring, but as he pulled the wig on, the change in his appearance was quite startling
Leitener looked from him to Doyle, pondering. Then he turned to the girl standing at his shoulder
"Leila," he said, "He's too blond ! Have you something that would darken his eyebrows and lashes a bit ?"
"Of course," she replied instantly. "Mascara, and eyebrow pencil. I'll get them."
She was back in a few minutes, carrying a vanity-case. She sat Sinclair down and got to work. The others watched with interest. Within minutes, the use of a dark foundation, and the mascara and eyebrow pencil, she had worked wonders. Sinclair put the wig back on and they all stared at him.
Although he tried not to let his feelings show in his expression, Doyle was shocked. It wouldn't have fooled his friends, of course, or anyone who had seen him a few times. But to someone seeing his I.D. for the first time, the disguise would easily pass muster.
"We'll have to borrow your jacket," said Leitener, "and I'm afraid you're going to have a very boring day up in your bedroom. Perhaps we'll find you something to read." He began to outline the details of details of his plan to his eagerly listening audience.
Meanwhile, what was happening at C.I.5 Headquarters ? To be honest, not a lot. Extensive enquiries were being made, with all the agents contacting their informants, and every other source they could think of, but all results were proving negative. Some of those questioned knew about Leitener, and that he was setting up a new gang, but none of them had any idea where he was.
Bodie had searched his memory for all those he had seen walking through the bar, and had spent hours pouring over the 'mug-shot' books. This had produced dossiers on Leitener, of course, and also on Bruno, Sims, Stewart and Wetherby, all of whom had records. He couldn't find anything on the Italian-looking chap, and the girl in the bar wasn't known either. He'd completely forgotten about the young blond man, but he wouldn't have found anything on him anyway.
He was beginning to get very worried about what had become of his mate, and he knew Cowley was too, although he never showed his feelings openly.
Then one morning as he reported in, he was called up to Cowley's office. He found his boss sitting at his desk, poring over a report in front of him, with a very perplexed look on his face.
"What's up, sir," he asked anxiously. "Is it news ?"
"It's not good, Bodie," replied Cowley. "I've just had a report come in about a raid on a bank in Luton. A masked, and heavily armed gang, and they got away with a great deal of money."
"That's police business, isn't it ?," responded Bodie, a bit puzzled.
"Well, it would be," said Cowley, "if it wasn't for one detail. The manager was deceived into opening the inner door by a man with C.I.5 authority, and that man was Doyle !"
"Impossible !," exclaimed Bodie. "No way !"
"Let's get up there and find out," said Cowley briskly. "Bring the dossiers on Leitener's gang, and a photo of Doyle."
They made good time, due to Bodie's driving, contacted the local police, and were then taken to speak to the manager of the bank. They showed him Doyle's picture, and he was adamant that this was the man who had got him to open the door.
"Then the gang rushed in," he went on.
Bodie showed him the pictures in the dossiers he'd brought.
"They all had masks," the manager said doubtfully, "but it could well be them."
"What about Doyle ?," asked Cowley. "Was there someone right behind him ? With a gun in his back, maybe ?."
"No," said the man firmly. "He came up to the counter alone, and anyway, when they were all in, he was helping them stuff the money into bags. No-one was forcing him.!"
"What was he wearing ?," asked Bodie suddenly.
"A sort of plaid jacket, grey and red," replied the man instantly.
Responding to Cowley's look, Bodie nodded gloomily. "It's what he was wearing that evening," he said.
In spite of a lot more questioning from Cowley, the man could not be shaken from his story. The pair returned to the car, and drove back to London in a very sombre frame of mind. Back in Cowley's office, they sat down to discuss what they had learned.
"Let's consider the possibilities," began Cowley. "First, which I don't believe," he said, "is that Doyle, swayed by the lure of all that money, has reneged and thrown in his lot with Leitener."
"No way!," protested Bodie. "Ray just wouldn't do that."
"No, I don't think so, either," agreed their boss.
"The second possibility," went on Cowley, "is that somehow Leitener has broken Doyle, and made him work for them."
"That's not a nice thought," said Bodie. "We know that Leitener is ruthless, - he could have been pretty vicious."
He thought for a bit, his face clouded with concern. "But it would take an awful lot to do it," he added worriedly. "Doyle's as tough as they come, surely."
"Every man has a breaking-point," said Cowley sombrely.
"There's another possibility," said Bodie eagerly, as it suddenly came into his mind. "It could be an impostor, sir. Doyle would be quite easy to impersonate. I mean, all the manager really remembered was the plaid jacket and the dark curly hair."
"And if Doyle was caught by the gang, they'd have his I.D. "It's possible," admitted Cowley. But then he frowned.
"But, Bodie, I don't like the implications of that," he said.
"Why ?," asked Bodie. It had seemed to him a simple answer.
"Well," replied his boss, "if they've got an impostor, they don't need Doyle, do they ?. He could be dead."
Bodie hadn't considered that, and the thought shook him badly. Had he finally lost his best team-mate ?
Doyle was fetched out of his prison, and downstairs in time for the evening meal. The men seated round the table were in exceedingly high spirits. Sinclair, who had washed off the cosmetics, and was his usual blond self again, was particularly cock-a-hoop. He grinned at Doyle across the table.
"It worked perfectly," he crowed. "They took me for you, no bother. We were in there in a flash."
Although he tried to give nothing away in his expression, Doyle was dismayed. Listening to the conversation, it sounded as if they had sailed into the bank, using his identity, and had got away with a great deal of money.
Cowley would undoubtedly be quickly informed. What would he make of it ? Surely they wouldn't believe he had helped the gang, would they ?
From what was being said, it sounded as if the bank was in Luton. Cowley would go there to make enquiries. Would it help them find where he was.? But he didn't know how near this place was to Luton. In fact, he'd no idea where it was, and if he didn't know, how could he expect them to find it.
His thoughts were interrupted by a harsh voice.
"Since Sinclair did so well," said Roscoe, "we don't need him any more." He glared across the table at Doyle. "Let's get rid of him. I'll do it."
"No," ordered Leitener firmly. "I like having him around,- it amuses me to keep him."
Roscoe scowled and Doyle realised he had an implacable enemy there. The man was itching for a chance to kill him, and would do it without a moment's hesitation.
"Besides," went on Leitener, "I know he's a lot cleverer than most of you. He'll keep trying to escape, and keeping an eye on him will keep you all on your toes."
He smiled amiably at Doyle, but the smile had no depth. Behind it he was cold and ruthless. Doyle knew he was being played with, like a cat tormenting a captured mouse.
"Now for our next plans," said Leitener, holding everyone's attention. "We won't stay here in Britain. We're too well known now. We'll go to France, - the south of France where all the big casinos are. There's always lots of money in those places. Roscoe, Leila and I can put on the kind of style that will get us in to check them out, and Bruno and Sims will make splendid 'minders' to make us look important."
"What about us,?" said Stewart and Wetherby, almost with one voice.
"You'll get your opportunities too," went on their leader. "These places have posh hotels, where hardened gamblers take their expensive wives or mistresses, with their very expensive jewellery, which they enjoy showing off in casinos and night clubs"
Re-assured, Stewart and Wetherby grinned at each other. They would be in their element. Jewellery boxes and hotel bedroom safes were easy meat for them.
Doyle listened to all these fancy plans, and kept very quiet. Leitener's gang are going to come a cropper, he thought to himself. He's still thinking things are the way they were before he went inside. But the intervening six or seven years had made a vast difference, he'd find. Alarms and security devices had developed and improved very quickly. Identity checks were far more stringent these days, and also there was a lot more co-operation, and exchange of information among the police forces of neighbouring countries now.
Surprise, - a new gang on the scene might give them some initial success, but it wouldn't last.
"How do we get there,?" asked Sinclair, who, apart from Leitener, was the most intelligent of the group. "They'll be on the look-out at ports and airports."
"Well, mes enfants," replied Leitener, on fire with enthusiasm at the thought of his wonderful plans. "France is across the sea, and to cross the sea, we need a boat.!"
"We're going to buy a boat !," exclaimed Bruno excitedly.
"Buy one ?," said Leitener, "I don't think so. We'll go down to the South coast. There are marinas all along there where the rich keep their boats. We'll have a look around, and acquire a suitable one."
"Do you know how to sail a boat ?," asked Sims doubtfully.
"Of course, I do," boasted Leitener. "And anyway these modern cruisers are as easy as driving a car."
As it was now pretty late, they retired for the night, all on a 'high', generated by Leitener's forceful enthusiasm and self-confidence.
Doyle lay awake for a long time, trying to think how he could circumvent these elaborate plans
The next few days passed quietly. Plans were being put into action, that Doyle wasn't let in on. He learned later, that Roscoe had been very busy, selling off all the cars they had come in, and renting instead one car, and a mini-bus to carry all their stuff. These they intended to ditch as soon as they'd found a suitable boat.
It was fairly easy for Doyle while Roscoe was away, for the others were almost friendly, having got used to having him around. But they were still wary, and no breaks came his way.
When Roscoe returned, and Leitener and Leila disappeared for a while, Doyle played it very cautiously indeed. He daren't give this man the slightest excuse.
After a few days the pair were back. They had been down to the South coast, posing as wealthy tourists thinking of buying a boat, and had looked round several suitable marinas, and talked to lots of unsuspecting people.
As they sat round the table that evening, Leila was full of enthusiasm.
We found just the thing," she said excitedly. "It's big and white and gorgeous.! It's called the ' Caroline ', but I don't know who she was."
"Probably the owner's wife," commented Leitener, equally pleased with himself. He had no compunction about planning to steal something that someone had very likely worked long years to afford.
"They are planning to set out on a Mediterranean cruise in two days time, I heard. So they have stocked up well with provisions, and the fuel goes in tomorrow, so it couldn't be better," he said exultantly. "Only, we'll be there first !."
His careful planning worked well. The following evening found the whole party making its way south. And early the next morning, the gang just walked aboard, and took over the 'Caroline' !
They had taken completely by surprise, the two crew-members who had spent the night aboard as a security measure. Roscoe would have killed them both out of hand, but Leitener wouldn't let him.
"There's no need to add murder to our criminal record," he said. The two men were bound and gagged, and dumped in the cockpit of a nearby boat where they would be found in due course.
Very gently, the 'Caroline' slipped her moorings, and crept gently down the Solent, and out into the Channel.
Both Leitener and Roscoe were putting on a good act of being expert yachtsmen, though, in truth, neither of them had much of a clue about engines, which was to prove their downfall later.
But between them they could read a chart, and plot a course, and they managed, because, as Leitener had said earlier, the 'Caroline' was so easy to handle. They made their way slowly but steadily across the Channel towards France.
Leila had investigated the galley, and had managed to put together a nice evening meal, and most of them sat down to enjoy it, taking turns to go and take the wheel, to follow the plotted course.
It was getting dark now. Soon there were lights to be seen through the cabin portholes, far over on the port side.
The self-appointed Captain, who had found a fancy naval-style cap to wear, enlightened his crew. "That's Guernsey, and then Jersey, - the Channel Islands." He explained. "Lovely places, but too small for us. We're going on to Saint Malo, in France.
He looked round his gang, and noticed that Sinclair hadn't touched his meal.
"Not a good sailor, Sinclair," he said teasingly. "Never mind, we'll soon be back on dry land."
Sinclair smiled weakly. It couldn't be soon enough for him.
"Tell you what," said Leitener. "Take Doyle up on deck. The fresh air might help you, and I don't want him to know what I'm planning next anyway."
Since they'd been aboard, it had been deemed enough for one man at a time to keep an eye on Doyle, as there was nowhere for him to go if he did try an escape.
Sinclair pushed Doyle up the companionway, and followed him up onto the deck. There was fresh air and a pleasant breeze. Sinclair and Doyle moved along the deck, watching the twinkling lights that showed the islands they were passing, a fair distance away. They enjoyed the air for a while, and Sinclair was pleased to find it was making him feel better.
Suddenly, Doyle turned back towards him.
"Listen," he said urgently. "That engine noise, - it doesn't sound right !
Sinclair listened, and indeed there was a peculiar whining sound, instead of the smooth, deep murmur they'd heard all the way. It was steadily rising to a crescendo.
"I've heard that before," said Doyle urgently. "It's the engine over-heating. It'll blow any minute !."
He moved towards Sinclair, intending to warn the others down below
But Sinclair was disbelieving. He backed away, and pulled out his gun. "You're trying to trick me !," he shouted.
"No, I'm not," yelled Doyle, "We've got to do something, now !"
He advanced towards Sinclair, endeavouring to push past him. Suddenly he heard a bang, and felt a fierce pain in his side.
Sinclair had shot him !
Staggering, he clutched at the man to avoid falling, and before he could steady himself, his momentum had carried them both over the side.
The sudden plunge into the water was a shock that took his breath away. As he surfaced, gasping for air, he saw Sinclair's head bob up not far away, turning back towards the boat.
All at once, there was a dull, deep boom from within the vessel, followed quickly by another, even louder. Then came an almighty roar, and a fearful eruption of noise and flame, as the whole ship blew up in a violent explosion ! Flaming debris pattered into the sea all around them.
Barely aware of what he was doing, Doyle followed a basic instinct of self-preservation, and struck out towards the nearest twinkling lights.
He didn't stop to look at the pool of blazing fuel that was all that remained of the 'Caroline', or to register the splashing, as Sinclair followed after him.
Dr. Lejeune, of St. Saviour's Hospital, St Helier, responded quickly to an early morning call. Two patients had been brought in for his attention, by the local police. An early morning dog-walker had spotted what he thought were two bodies, washed up on the rocky shore of St. Brelade's Bay, and had reported what he had investigating had found that the two men were alive, if only just, and had rushed them into the nearest hospital.
Dr. Lejeune, a fussy, excitable little Frenchman, but very efficient at his work, began his examination.
"This one is all right," he said. "Just suffering from cold and exhaustion. You know what to do."
His junior and a nurse hurried the man away, and Lejeune turned to the next one.
"Ah, ce pauvre home," he exclaimed, reverting to his native tongue, "Il n'est pas bon. Il faut le sauver.!"
His staff, who liked and respected their excitable little boss, quickly followed his orders. Surgery was rapidly performed to extract a bullet from the man's side, and an emergency transfusion was set up. The deeply unconscious patient was transferred to a little side ward, to be closely monitored for progress.
As Inspector Anson, of New Scotland Yard, walked up the steps towards his office, he encountered one of his sergeants, carrying some papers.
"Anything interesting, Forbes ?," he asked.
"Could be, sir," replied the man. "Just come in with this morning's post, - a request for help, from the police on Jersey."
"Don't often get anything like that," commented Anson. "What's it about ?." They moved into the office.
"Well, sir," said Forbes, "It appears that, a couple of nights ago, a big motor yacht blew up, some way off their shores. Two survivors made it to land alive, though one was injured."
"What help do they need from us ?," asked the Inspector curiously.
"That's not the whole story, sir," continued Forbes. "Naturally, the police wanted to talk to the survivors, but the one that came round, flatly refused to give his name, or to say one word about what had happened. Then the police got word to look out for a yacht that had been stolen from a marina near Southampton. So they deduced that the men were part of the criminal gang, described to them by two former crewmen. They searched their own records, but they weren't known there, so they sent a couple of photos, asking if we'd look in our 'mug-shot' books, to see if we know them."
"Let me have a look," asked the Inspector, and studied the two pictures. "No, don't know them," he said, "Though there's something familiar about that one."
"That's the one that hasn't recovered yet," said his sergeant.
"Well, go on down to Records," said the Inspector, "and let me know if you find them."
He settled down to get on with the work on his desk, but that picture niggled in his mind. I've seen something like that somewhere, he thought to himself, and fairly recently, too. An hour later, it suddenly 'clicked'. He went to the outer office, and spoke to the sergeant in charge.
"Find me that report we had recently, - about that big bank robbery in Luton. I know we aren't handling it, but the information was sent to us."
A few minutes later, the report was on his desk. He turned over the pages quickly, and found what he had been looking for. He got up, closed his door, and put through a very important call.
Cowley had been busy, studying some interesting papers, when the call came through.
"A call from Inspector Anson, New Scotland Yard, sir," the switchboard operator told him.
I wonder what he wants, thought Cowley to himself, as he took the call. He listened in some amazement to what the man had to tell him.
Finally, he said, "Thank you indeed, Inspector. I'll take it from here."
He put the phone down, thinking fast over what he had heard. Then he sent out a call to find Bodie, and send him up to him.
When Bodie entered the office, a few minutes later, he addressed him briskly.
"I want you to get someone to run you home. Pack an overnight bag, and wait till I ring to tell you which airport to go to. You're flying over to Jersey as soon as I can get you a place."
"The Channel Islands ?," queried Bodie. "May I ask, why, sir?"
So Cowley told him, and watched as his man came alive with sudden excitement.
"You think it could be Ray,?" he gasped. "I'll go straight away !"
"Just a moment, Bodie," said Cowley quietly. "If you remember, it was you who raised the suggestion of an impostor, a look-alike. It could be him."
Bodie's elation deflated like a burst balloon, and he looked devastated. With a touch of concern, unusual for him, Cowley said, "Would you rather I sent Murphy ?"
"No, sir," said Bodie, at once. "I have to know ! I'll go."
A little while later, as he sat in the plane for the short-haul flight to Jersey airport, Bodie's mood fluctuated between hope and despondency. What was he going to find ? Had his hopes been raised only to be dashed.?
Doyle had been missing for some time now. Before long his name would go on the list that said 'missing, believed dead'
Bodie still blamed himself for not realising that something had gone wrong on that last evening. And he had been struggling with the feeling that perhaps he'd lost forever that easy rapport he and Ray had shared, that had made them such an effective team.
Cowley had worked overtime, making phone-calls, and setting up arrangements, - very efficiently too. A police-car was waiting for Bodie at the Jersey airport, with a driver and a senior officer.
On the way to the hospital, Bodie handed over copies of the dossiers on Leitener's gang. If nothing else, it would help them identify the three bodies they had found, two men and a woman, he was told.
The officer introduced Bodie to the little Frenchman, Dr. Lejeune, who was waiting for them as they entered St. Saviour's. He greeted him warmly.
"So, you've come to identify our mystery patient, have you ?," he said cheerfully, as they walked along the white corridor.
"I hope so," said Bodie. "How is he ?," he added anxiously.
"Recovering well," said the fussy little doctor. "I had to take a bullet out of him, and he'd lost a lot of blood, swimming ashore. But we helped him with that, and he's making good progress. He should wake up very soon now."
He ushered his guest into the small side ward, and waved away the watching nurse.
Bodie approached the bed with some trepidation, but as he looked, his heart gave a great leap.
"Do you know him ?," asked the police officer.
Bodie gazed at the face on the pillow. Although pale and rather drawn, every feature was so heart-warmingly familiar, and the over-long dark curls completed the picture.
"Yes, I know him," he said. "He's one of ours, and I thought I'd never see him again. You don't know how glad I am that he's been found."
He turned to beam widely at the two watching men.
"Yes, I know him," he said, exultantly.
"His name is Ray Doyle !"