Thanks for appreciated advice.

This story follows Search and Rescue. A drugs gang has gone to prison, but someone is not too pleased

Waiting Game..

For once in his normally so-busy life, Doyle was having a totally relaxed interlude, and enjoying every minute of it. A job that had unexpectedly finished early had given him a free afternoon. On an impulse, he had contacted his best informant, Fred, a young disabled man, who had become a real friend since his observational skills had helped C.I.5 to apprehend a potentially nasty drug-smuggling ring, and, in doing so, had been instrumental in saving Doyle's life.

Fred had been pleased to hear from him, and had suggested a meeting in a park near his home.

"Bring some bread," he said. "We'll feed the ducks "

So now the pair of them were sitting on a bench in the sunshine, idly throwing bits of bread to a horde of noisy, squabbling ducks.

"I haven't done this since I was a child," said Doyle. "I'd forgotten what fun it is," and he laughed out loud at the antics of one particularly aggressive drake, whose plumage so outshone his drabber female companions.

Fred smiled to see his friend so relaxed. It was good for him to have a little break from the constant pressure of the special job he did, and it didn't happen that often, he knew.

It was with considerable reluctance, that Doyle had to put an end to this idyll. He strolled back to the park gates with Fred, adapting his stride to the rather slow limping gait of his friend, said goodbye, climbed into his car and shot off home.

He compounded a pleasant afternoon with an almost equally pleasing evening, spent completing a report, to the accompaniment of his favourite music, and was somewhat startled when his phone rang. His home number was only known by a few people, his boss and a few of his workmates mainly.

He picked up the receiver. It was Murphy, speaking from Headquarters. "Sorry to disturb you, Doyle," he said. "It's Fred; he wants to speak to you urgently. I'll put him through."

"Ray," said Fred, "I thought I'd better warn you. You've got a 'tail '. There was this man; he walked past us twice when we were feeding the ducks. Then when you went, he got in a car and followed you."

"I didn't notice," said Doyle, totally surprised at the news .

"It was a dark-blue Datsun," continued Fred. "Number plate DGO 547T"

"Thanks, Fred, I'll get it checked," said Doyle. He rang Murphy back, and asked him to do that for him, but the result was negative, - it was a false plate !

He went to bed still pondering over the matter. Fred was so naturally observant, that he didn't doubt the accuracy of his report, but who could be 'tailing' him, and why?

Reporting in the following morning, Doyle told his partner, Bodie, and his boss Cowley about Fred's call.

"Curious," commented Cowley. "He's usually very reliable"

"Indeed, he is," replied Doyle, mentally fingering the scar he still carried on his left leg, a reminder of the time when Fred's vigilance had probably saved him.

"Well, stay alert, both of you," ordered Cowley, "And report if there's anything further."

But after several days, with nothing more happening, they began to wonder if perhaps it had been an error, maybe a case of mistaken identity.

Then one day, as they were driving back towards base, talking about the enquiry they had just completed, Bodie interrupted Doyle in mid-sentence.

"Don't look now, mate," he said, "but your blue Datsun is back!

Doyle eased his position slightly so that he could see in the mirrors.

.

"Looks like it," he agreed, "Any ideas ?"

"There's a Tesco's just round the corner," said Bodie. "Drop into the car-park there."

Anticipating his mate's plan, Doyle followed his suggestion, and slipped neatly into a parking space. Without turning round to stare, just using the mirrors, they watched the dark-blue Datsun ease into a space about 30 yards away.

"You sit here and keep an eye on them," said Bodie. "I'll pretend to go into the shop for something, and then I'll go round and come up behind them."

He sauntered over to the shop entrance, clutching a piece of paper, as if he had a shopping list. Once inside, he shot rapidly down the aisles and out of the back door. He worked his way right round until he was coming up between the cars, several rows behind the Datsun. He tried to move casually, swinging a carrier bag he had acquired, and twirling a set of keys in his fingers, as if he was just a shopper returning to his car.

The two men still seemed to be focussing their attention on Doyle, but as Bodie moved nearer, one of them spotted him in the wing mirror. He spoke quickly to his companion, who immediately fired the engine. The car shot off, narrowly missing a young couple in its haste.

Bodie raced onward towards Doyle, who had the car engine running. He jumped in and they went after the departing car. But luck was against them! They got held up by an elderly man, carefully easing his Volvo into a tight space, and by the time they reached the main road, there was nothing to indicate which way their quarry had gone.

Frustrated, they continued in to Headquarters, and told the whole tale to Cowley.

"Hm," he said, considering what he had heard. "And you say they took off as soon as they saw you, Bodie ? Significant!"

"How?" asked Bodie, not understanding.

"Wake up, slowcoach," said Doyle. "Obviously, it means they know you by sight, and connect you with me."

"Right," agreed Cowley, "but we still don't know who or why.! I suppose it was the same false plate on the car ?"

Both men nodded.

"We'll put out an A.P. B. on it" he added, "but I bet they'll ditch it now."

He would have won his bet. The blue Datsun was found the next day, on a piece of waste ground, totally burnt out, and useless for forensics. And in spite of enquiries, no-one had seen who had abandoned it.

And that seemed to be the end of the matter. Bodie and Doyle kept up their constant alertness, but no new car appeared, to take up the role of the Datsun. So, a couple of weeks sped by, without any related incidents.

Then, the conclusion of a particularly difficult case presented the pair with an unexpected bonus - a Saturday afternoon off !

"What are you going to do, mate," asked Bodie as they left the building.

"Want to take a boat out on the river ?" This was one of Bodie's favourite relaxations.

"No way !" retorted Doyle. "I'm going to put in an afternoon on the bike."

In his all-too-rare spare time, Doyle was restoring a very old classic motor-bike, housed in the garage under his flat. It was slow, painstaking work, but he thoroughly enjoyed doing it.

"Fair enough," said Bodie, "I'll see if one of the girls is up for it."

So they parted company, and made their way to their respective homes.

It's a pity that the sensation of being watched doesn't seem so strong when the watcher is using high-powered field glasses, or Doyle might have been forewarned.

As it was, when, after half-an-hour's intensive work, he heard a car pull into the yard outside, and strolled out to see who it was, thinking it might be Bodie, he was taken completely by surprise !

A strange car was in his yard. A man he didn't recognise jumped out, and threw a punch at him which slammed him back against the garage wall. Unfortunately, his head connected with the iron hook used to hold the door back, and although not knocked out completely, he was temporarily stunned, and was offering little resistance as he was grabbed by the arm and dragged towards the car.

At that moment, another car roared into the yard. Bodie had failed to find a girl free to go boating with him, and had decided to come back to see how Doyle was getting on with the bike. Although he teased his mate mercilessly about it, he did recognise that it was a beautiful article, and he was interested in what progress he was making with it.

What was going on ? As he jumped from the car, he saw red, literally, for his eyes were immediately drawn to the trickle of blood running down the side of Doyle's face, as some strange man pulled him towards the car in front of him.

Bodie wasted no time in grabbing the attacker, who let go of Doyle, and fought back viciously. In a desperate lunge, the man shoved Bodie away from him towards Doyle, who was swaying unsteadily. As he collided with his injured mate, Bodie's first concern was not to knock him over.

So the attacker took his chance to escape, jumping back into the car, already revving up, and it swept away out of the yard.

Bodie grabbed hold of Doyle and steadied him carefully, swinging him round so that he could better assess his injury.

"Let's get you inside, so I can look at that," he said, and helped his friend back into his flat. A little bit of attention with a flannel and some warm water revealed that the injury had looked worse than it was, and Doyle was recovering rapidly.

"What is going on ?" demanded Bodie angrily.

"I wish I knew," replied Doyle. "Did you get a number ?

Reading number plates was a practised skill among C.I.5 men, so Bodie was able to reel it off instantly.

"Yes," he answered. "RYS 560P, but I bet that's false too. It was a silver-grey Consul, wasn't it ?"

They called Headquarters to report. Cowley wasn't in, but 10 minutes later the order came back to report to him, first thing in the morning

Doyle put in another hour on the bike, with Bodie watching and unobtrusively standing guard. Then they locked up carefully, sent out for a Chinese take-away, and settled down for a quiet companionable evening, arguing amicably about their respective choices of music.

The next morning they made a full report to Cowley.

"This is getting annoying," said Cowley, scowling blackly. "Have you really no idea who's behind it ?" he demanded.

"I honestly can't think of anything or anyone," said Doyle..

"Well," continued Cowley, "We'll have to take precautions in case they try again." He issued brisk orders.

"Doyle," he said, "You don't go out on any job alone ! And you can go right now, and get yourself a 'bug' which you'll wear night and day till further orders, then we'll have a 'trace' if anything does happen. And get your home security checked out, too."

Doyle left to follow orders, and Cowley turned to Bodie.

"Can you make any sense of this,?" he asked.

"Well," said Bodie thoughtfully, "Those two were only hired hands, sent to capture Doyle and take him somewhere. So there's somebody else behind this, and we don't know what he wants. If he'd only wanted to kill him, the incidents would have been different. He may intend to harm him, but evidently he wants him to know who and why first."

"Hm," said Cowley, pondering on this assessment. "You may be right, but it doesn't get us much further, does it? Anyway, you be alert and keep a close eye out for him"

Bodie left to find his mate, the uncertainty of it all niggling him badly.

As expected the Consul number plate was false too, so that was no help. The pair followed orders, and kept up their vigilance, but, as before, time passed with no further incidents.

Then came an afternoon when Doyle was busy at Headquarters, writing up a report about the enquiries he and Bodie had made that morning. His mate was out, helping a newish man, Acton, to set up a surveillance project.

Switchboard rang through to say there was a caller asking for him. He accepted the call, as he was half-expecting a word from Fred, who was keeping an eye on a suspect house for him, but it wasn't his trusted informant. A voice he didn't recognize spoke."

"Doyle, Ray Doyle ?" it asked.

"Yes," acknowledged Doyle. "Your name, please ?"

"Not quite yet," came the answer. "Mr. Doyle, I think you've lost something"

"I don't think so," said Doyle warily. At the same time he pressed the special button to alert the switchboard to try to trace the call.

"Oh, yes, you have," came the reply. "I know, for I've got it ! I'll call again when you've had time to remember."

The line went dead. Doyle asked, but, as he expected, there hadn't been sufficient time for a 'trace'.

He went up to Cowley's office, and reported the conversation to him, trying to remember it word for word. Cowley was as puzzled as he was.

"Someone's playing games with us," he muttered angrily.

Doyle returned to his paper-work, finding it hard to concentrate as he tried to make sense of it all.

But it all became clear, half-an-hour later, when Cowley came rushing down to find him.

"It's Bodie that's missing," he declared. "I've just had Acton reporting in. He and Bodie were attacked in the house where they were setting up surveillance. He was knocked out, and when he recovered he was alone."

"Damn," said Doyle forcefully, "They failed to get me some weeks ago, so now they've taken Bodie. They're getting at me through him !"

"I've sent a back-up team to pick up Acton," said Cowley, "but I don't expect they'll find anything helpful."

"What do we do now ?" asked Doyle, as dozens of possible courses of action flashed through his agile mind, though none seemed immediately helpful.

"Wait for his next phone call, I suppose," said Cowley.

But, although they waited all afternoon and well into the evening, no call came.

"He's baiting us, - playing a waiting game," muttered Doyle to himself, as he struggled to continue with some useful work, in an effort to ease his feelings of frustration.

Cowley came into the little office.

"You still here, Doyle ?" he said.

"I'm not going home tonight," replied Doyle. "I want to be here when he rings again"

"Aye" said Cowley, for it was his feeling too. He noted the tired, strained look of the man before him. "But, at least, go down to the canteen and get some sort of a meal, and then take it easy in the rest room. You'll be contacted instantly when he does ring, you know that, but it won't help if you don't take a little care of yourself. You'll want to be ready to take action when we can do something"

Doyle acknowledged the sense of his boss's words and followed his orders. Cowley didn't go home either, but he had the sense to catch a few hours sleep on the camp-bed in the room adjoining his office, knowing he would be roused instantly, if needed. But, when at last, he stirred and looked at his bedside clock, he was surprised to find that it showed 5.30 am.

He got up quickly, showered, dressed and shaved, and then went down to the rest room. Doyle hadn't made use of the couch as he ought to have done. He was still sitting at the table, spread with papers, but his head was down, pillowed on his arms, and he was sleeping soundly.

Cowley sent down an order for coffee, and waited till it was brought to him, before gently shaking his man awake.

"Nothing yet," he said, answering the unspoken question in Doyle's eyes.

It was mid-morning before the call they were waiting for came through, and the first words weren't very encouraging.

"Don't waste effort trying to trace my calls. I know all the tricks ! I use different public call-boxes, and by the time you get there, I'm long gone. I've got a fast car, too. Now to business, you've realised what I've got, haven't you ?"

"Yes," answered Doyle flatly. "You've got Bodie. Who are you, and what do you want ?"

"I don't think I'll give you my name yet," said the man annoyingly. "And as to what I want, - I want you , Doyle, of course."

"Why ?," demanded Doyle.

"Because you ruined my plans !" snarled the man. "I had a great set-up going, and you spoiled it, and now most of my men are stuck in jail."

Then he added, "Long enough on this phone. I'm going." And he rang off.

Doyle exchanged looks with Cowley, who had been listening attentively. Both men had expressions which showed their frustration at the shared feeling of utter helplessness.

An attempt had been made to trace the call, as it had been of a little longer duration. Men had rushed to the indicated call-box, but it was, of course, empty. One man did report that he had just caught a glimpse of a silver-grey Consul, but it was too fast, and too far away to identify.

It was only an hour later when the next call came through, and this time it was Doyle who was quick off the mark.

"Look," he said, "I know you say you've got Bodie. I want to talk to him."

The man on the phone bristled angrily. "You're in no position to make demands !," he snapped. "I hold all the cards"

"I won't do a thing," said Doyle, obstinately, "until I've talked to him, and know he's all right."

There was a short silence, as the man thought about it. At last, he conceded. " O.K. I'll arrange it," he muttered, and ended the call.

Time dragged as they waited. If the kidnapper's intention was to get everybody rattled, he was succeeding very well !

Once more the phone rang, and this time the voice was a familiar one.

"Doyle ?" said Bodie.

"Bodie, are you all right ?" exclaimed Doyle eagerly.

"Yes, I'm okay," came the reply. "Though it's a bit like 'chop suey' here, and the floors are a bit wobbly."

There was the sound of a blow, and a muffled grunt. Then their tormentor was back.

"Satisfied ?", he said, and rang off.

Cowley looked at Doyle with a puzzled expression.

"Well," he said, "It was Bodie, but he was talking rubbish ! Do you think he's had a bang on the head ? Or have they drugged him ?"

"No, sir," said Doyle excitedly. "He's all right. He was just trying to give me a clue to finding him."

Cowley still looked bemused, as Doyle continued.

"Do you remember, sometime last year, when we had to be landed by helicopter on a British naval vessel ? It was about suspicions of stolen plans, I think. Well, it blew up too rough for the 'chopper' to lift us off again, so we stayed on board, and came back to Plymouth with the ship. It was quite fun, but Bodie made some crack about it. He said, 'the trouble with ships is that the floors tend to be a bit wobbly'. Ever since then, whenever we've been on a ship or a boat, one of us comes out with it again. He's telling us that he's being kept on a boat somewhere!" he finished triumphantly.

"I see, - very clever," said Cowley. "What about the other bit , what was it ? 'chop suey' ? Chinese connection ? "

Doyle looked puzzled. "I can't think of any," he replied. "We haven't had much trouble with them recently. We've been able to leave it to the special police drug squads."

He thought deeply for a while, then suddenly exclaimed, " I know ! Everyone thinks 'chop suey' is Chinese. The dish is, but the name isn't !. It was coined in America, San Francisco, I think. American ?" he pondered. "It doesn't help a lot though"

Although there was nothing much Doyle could do except stay near the phone, and rack his memory for anything that would help him identify his enemy, there was plenty of activity elsewhere !

Every C.I.5 man who knew his river area, or had contacts or informants who did, was on the job !

Because all the calls had been in the London area, it was fairly safe to assume that the boat in question was somewhere on the Thames.

But the Thames is a long and very busy river, whose banks are lined with a myriad of different craft, from high-powered executive yachts to abandoned hulks, from expensive house-boats to 'floating sheds', not to mention cargo ships from many parts of the world, constantly coming and going.

The extensive network of C.I.5's resources was hard at work, sorting it all into 'unlikely', 'possible', and 'worth checking', and all the variations in between.

Doyle was left to wait and ponder the situation. What would the man's demands be ? And if he agreed to them, what did he intend, and was there any guarantee of Bodie's safety in exchange ?

Then came another call.

"If you want your man to stay alive," said the man, in a menacing tone, "you'll come to me, and come alone !"

"If I agree," said Doyle, playing for time, for he knew he would agree, "when and where ?"

"I'll tell you when I'm ready," snapped the man, and rang off again.

Doyle got up from his chair, and paced the floor in frustration. This 'cat and mouse' game was really getting to him !

Then Cowley came charging into the room, his face alive with excitement.

"I think I've got it," he said. "Sit down, Doyle, and listen." He grabbed another chair, and joined his man, plonking a blue folder down on the table.

"This has just come in from American sources," he said, taking a paper from the folder.

"Now, listen to this, Doyle," he ordered. "Just over a year ago, the New York police made a huge drugs bust on a Mafia-supported group. They caught or killed most of them, but a few top men got away, and the F.B.I. have been tracking them ever since, all over America, and finally, down to New Mexico."

"That's all very interesting," interrupted Doyle, "but what has it to do with us ?"

"There's more ," continued Cowley. "They eventually lost them down there, when there was evidence that they had boarded a flight to Europe."

"But," protested Doyle, not understanding where this information was leading.

"Don't interrupt me," ordered Cowley, and Doyle subsided obediently.
His boss continued, "It wasn't until then that they got really good pictures of the two main men, clear enough to identify. And here they are," he finished triumphantly.

He put down two photos in front of Doyle, who stared at them in some bemusement. Then he suddenly exclaimed,
"This one !," he said pointing. "It's the one Fred gave me when we were looking for the gang we found near Dorking."

He looked at the other picture closely.

"That's the same man," he said. "but with a moustache ! What was his name ?" Then he remembered. "Kinsey, Frank Kinsey, it was"

"Aye," agreed Cowley, "but better known to the F.B.I. as Francisco Kinsuelo"

"And we put him in a British prison," said Doyle, beginning to see the light.

"And the gang leader," continued Cowley, "is one, Giorgio Kinsuelo, his older brother, who, I suspect, was running the set-up in Europe somewhere."

"And he's out for revenge !" said Doyle, understanding it all now.

"Looks like it," agreed Cowley. Then a triumphant look came over his face, as he gazed at the photo he had just pulled from the folder. He put it down in front of Doyle.

"But this is Giorgio Kinsuelo !," he said. "And if our men can't find him in record time, they're not worth the money we're paying them !"

Doyle gazed at the picture, and understood what Cowley meant. Kinsuelo was a giant of a man, tall and very big built with it, verging on the obese. He was dark and Latin-looking, with a moustache and a little beard. His appearance was distinctive indeed, and would not have gone un-noticed.

"I'll get this circulated as fast as I can," said Cowley, picking up the photo.

"We'll soon track him down !"

"I want to be in on any action," demanded Doyle. "We've got to think of Bodie's safety"

"Of course," agreed Cowley, knowing he'd have trouble on his hands if he didn't let Doyle be part of whatever action was taken "My orders will be very clear. He's to be located, but not alerted ! Utmost discretion, and no moves till I say so."

He left the room, after ordering Doyle to stay by the phone, in case another call came through. He warned him, unnecessarily, not to give away the fact that they now knew the identity of their tormentor.

"I'll let you know the instant he's found," he promised, "and then we'll make our move. Think it out while you're waiting."

Doyle did as he was ordered, and put his mind to planning just how to play it, to ensure Bodie's safety.

It seemed longer, but it was only 45 minutes, before Cowley was back. He had his coat on, and was jingling his car keys.

"Come on, Doyle," he said briskly. "We've found him !"

Doyle was ready too, and armed. They made their way down to the car. Cowley quickly brought his man up to date.

"He's using an old cargo ship, called the Mariosa, permanently moored down beyond Tilbury. There are empty sheds and warehouses all around, so there's plenty of cover."

As he skilfully wove in and out of the traffic, he continued. "He's definitely aboard at the moment, and as far as they can tell, there's only one other man with him. They've found the silver-grey Consul, too, parked up in a shed."

Then he threw a quick glance at his man, sitting tensely beside him.

"Have you thought how to play it ?," he asked.

Doyle outlined the plan he had thought up, going into considerable detail.

"Hm," Cowley pondered. "A bit risky, isn't it ?"

"I want Bodie out safely," said Doyle, and Cowley recognised the stubborn look coming into his man's eyes. "And I think that way will work, provided I get the back-up I've asked for."

"Oh, you'll get that all right," promised Cowley, and as soon as they reached the right area, he was issuing orders furiously, and before long everything that Doyle had requested was arranged, and everyone was in place and ready.

And Cowley began to feel real hope that, taking into account the element of surprise, and the resolute nerve of the man at his side, this daring plan had a good chance of success.

Doyle stepped onto the Mariosa's deck, and walked toward the wheelhouse.

"Kinsuelo," he called loudly.

The large man suddenly appeared from a doorway, brandishing a hand gun.

Doyle stopped, holding his hands high and clear.

"I'm Doyle," he said. "You told me to come, so I'm here"

"Alone ?" asked the man.

"That's what you said," replied Doyle.

Kinsuelo looked round very, suspiciously, but Cowley's orders had been well obeyed, and he saw no-one.

"You've got a gun ?," he demanded.

"Yes," admitted Doyle

"Take it out very carefully, and put it down on the deck," ordered the big man. Doyle obeyed. It was his turn to play the waiting game.!

"I want Bodie." he said firmly.

Kinsuelo spoke a few unintelligible words over his shoulder.

Another man appeared from the doorway behind him, pushing Bodie before him. Jacketless and bare-footed, with his hands cuffed in front of him, Bodie looked decidedly dishevelled. But he didn't seem to be injured, apart from a blue bruise along his jawbone.

"Ray, you shouldn't have come !" he said, worriedly.

" this man -", he stopped abruptly, as his captor landed him a backhander across the face.

Anger rose in Doyle, but he controlled it firmly, though there was a fierce glint in his eyes.

He answered lightly, "I had to, mate, didn't I ?" he said calmly.

"You know who I am ?" asked Kinsuelo, just remembering that he hadn't given out that information.

"Oh, yes," replied Doyle. "We met your little brother a while ago, didn't we ?"

"Yes, you did," snarled Kinsuelo, viciously. "Now he's in prison, and for that you're going to pay !" He pointed his gun menacingly at Doyle, who, although he looked perfectly at ease, was tensed and ready for action.

At that very moment, a police launch, close but out of sight, sounded its hooter loudly. Both gunmen were startled, and for a moment their attention and their aim wavered. ! It was enough !

A sharp crack heralded a bullet from a sharpshooter, high on a warehouse roof, and the little man beside Bodie dropped to the deck.

With a roar of rage, Kinsuelo swung his gun back onto Doyle.

Poised, ready to move, Doyle threw himself flat, and Cowley's shot took the big man right between the eyes !

KInsuelo toppled backwards, but owing to the slant of the deck, and the huge bulk of the man, he went sideways too, and one hefty arm caught Bodie unprepared, and tipped him over the rail, and, with an almighty splash, into the river below.

Instantly, Doyle was on his feet, pulling off his jacket and yanking off his shoes. He ran to the rail, climbed up, and dived straight in after his friend

. As he surfaced, gasping a little, for the water was cold, he looked around for his mate.

Some furious splashing alerted him where to look, and he spotted the dark head bobbing up. It was further away than he had expected. There must have been a stronger current than he thought, so he set off after him with a steady crawl stroke.

When he caught up with him, Bodie was still splashing wildly, and flailing the water with his arms, which made it difficult for Doyle to grab him.

"Stop fighting me, you idiot," he yelled.

Fortunately, Bodie heard him and obeyed, letting his friend turn him over on his back, holding his head above water in the time-honoured life-saving position.

Bodie struggled to get enough breath back for a witty retort, but failed to think of one.

Doyle looked around, trying to assess which bank was nearest, and whether they would be able to get ashore there, if he could reach it. The current was stronger than he had expected, and they were drifting downstream quite quickly.

Suddenly a most welcome sound reached their ears. It was the chug-chugging engine of the police motor launch, the very same one that, alert for Cowley's signal, had supplied the requested diversionary noise !

It was soon alongside, and eager hands were hauling them both aboard. With the ease of constant practice, the crew unfolded thermal foil blankets and wrapped them round their guests. The senior man approached with a large Thermos flask, and soon they were holding very welcome cups of hot, sweet coffee.

The officer addressed them in jocular manner, now that he could see that they were all right.

"I hope you lads haven't been drinking too much of our beloved river" he said. "We need every drop, you know, and besides, it's not too healthy."

"It doesn't taste that good either," replied Bodie.

Cowley, watching from the deck of the Mariosa, as the police launch chugged its way back towards them, was very relieved to make out two upright silver-swathed figures seated in the stern. It looked as if both men had come through safely, and the long-drawn-out saga was finally over.

Cowley gathered up Doyle's discarded jacket, shoes and gun, and walked towards the nearby jetty to retrieve his best team from the in-coming launch.

The relief he felt as he saw the somewhat bedraggled pair step ashore unaided, was not mirrored in his words of greeting, as he handed Doyle's belongings back to him.

"I'm not having you pair in my car in that state," he said. "I'll get Murphy and Johnston to run you home. I suggest a hot bath and an early night, gentlemen, and I'll see you in the morning."

Bodie and Doyle exchanged a wry smile, as they gazed after the retreating figure of their boss, and both simultaneously mouthed the un-spoken words, 'and don't be late'.

Wasn't that just typical of Cowley !