George Cowley, head of C.I. 5, was in a bit of a quandary ! Oh, physically, hewas about as comfortable as he could ever wish.
After an excellent meal at his club, he was ensconced in one of the big leather chairs in the lounge, with a glass of malt in his hand, and the company of a man who had been his friend for over 20 years.
But although he was at complete ease with the man, Sir John Winton, it was he who was causing him his problem.
It was Cowley's unbreakable rule that neither he, nor any of his men, would accept money or gifts, offered as rewards, by any of the grateful people they had helped.
To go down that road would be to lay themselves open to suspicion of bribery and corruption, and Cowley well knew that any accusation of that, even if unfounded, would bring his organisation down very quickly. He scrutinised his men extremely carefully, and would never have accepted any one if he doubted him.
His men were well paid, and could re-coup any expenses they incurred in the course of their work, and that was enough.
But what Sir John was suggesting was different, and decidedly tempting.
His friend and five other prominent business men had indeed reason to be very grateful to C.I.5. Their extensive established businesses had been infiltrated by some very subversive elements, whose whole aim and purpose was purely to bring down the British economy.
A great many C.I.5 agents had worked long and hard on different aspects of this, to bring it to an end. Among the most diligent of these had been Murphy, who had worked many hours on the fine details of company reports and records, and Bodie and Doyle, who had rooted out and eliminated some of the more militant members, culminating in a daring and dramatic rescue of Sir Winton's own wife and daughter from some ruthless kidnappers !
Although he would have liked to have rewarded all those involved, Sir John had suggested a special treat for those three in particular, but had met with opposition from George Cowley.
"What harm would it do ?" Sir John asked in a persuasive tone. "No-one but you and I would know who'd arranged it. You know they would enjoy it."
He went on coaxingly.
"You don't need to tell them any details," he said. "Just send them down there and let it be a surprise."
Seeing from Cowley's expression that he was weakening, he added. "You could always salve your Puritanical conscience by telling them it was a training exercise, couldn't you ?"
Cowley decided to yield. The three in question took their work very seriously, and didn't get a lot of chance to have fun.
He couldn't count the number of times he'd called them back onto duty, just as they were starting to do something pleasurable. They dropped everything and came at once, and never complained, at least not openly to him. So he agreed to let his friend go ahead and arrange it.
So, some few days later, when Bodie and Doyle reported in to the Duty Room early one morning, they were told to go straight up to Cowley's office. They obeyed the summons and were slightly surprised to find Murphy there too. Cowley came straight to the point.
"I've got something for you three to do," he said briskly. "Take yourselves off now, down to Brands Hatch, and report to a Mr. Donnelly."
"What's it about, sir ?" asked Doyle curiously.
" Mr. Donelly will explain it to you when you get there," replied Cowley. "Get a move on, he's waiting for you."
As he watched them leave he permitted himself a little smile. They were in for a surprise !
Obeying orders, as usual, all three piled into Bodie's car, and set off, puzzling over what they were expected to find.
The boss usually briefed them more fully at the start of a job. Why not this time ?
Some time later, Bodie pulled neatly into a parking-space at the race-track and all three set off to locate the man whose name they'd been given, Mr. Donnelly.
They were directed by one of the many mechanics moving about the area, to an office on the second floor of the main building. There they met a stocky middle-aged man, with just the trace of an Irish accent.
"You'll be Bodie, Doyle and Murphy," he said, with a welcoming smile. "I've been expecting you."
"What's it all about, Mr. Donnelly ?," said Doyle.
"Our boss said you'd tell us what we're here to do," added Bodie, equally curious.
"You don't know ?," asked Donnelly with a wide smile, looking at the three puzzled faces before him. "You're here to find out what it feels like to be a racing-driver !"
"What ?," exclaimed Doyle incredulously.
"If your boss is a Mr. Cowley, that is," Donnelly went on. "He phoned just 10 minutes ago, to tell me you were on your way, and told me to give you just one word from him."
"What word ?" asked Murphy.
Donnelly grinned widely at them, and said " Enjoy !"
The three C.I.5 men looked at each other in astonishment.
"This is what will happen," continued Donnelly. "First we'll find you some suitable gear to wear. Then you'll sit in a car, while a mechanic makes adjustments according to your size and weight. An instructor will go over all the instruments with you till he's sure you know exactly what each is for. When they are satisfied, we'll run the cars out onto the practice track. Each of you, in turn, will have one slow lap, with an instructor talking in your ear-piece. If that goes well, then you can have five laps on your own. I've been told you're all advanced drivers, so we'll be trusting you to treat our cars well."
The trio exchanged glances, hardly able to believe their luck. This was going to be an exciting exercise, and each one was determined to enjoy it to the full.
"Now, it only remains to see which cars you'll be driving," said Donnelly. He fished in his pocket and produced three folded cards. He shuffled these, fanned them, and held them out to the three men, who each took one. They opened them to reveal a coloured dot in each, blue, red and yellow.
Donnelly retrieved his cards, pocketed them, and came round the desk to lead them from the room.
But Doyle, quick-thinking as ever, grabbed the arms of his two friends and pulled them into a huddle.
"We've got a problem," he said.
"What problem ?," asked Bodie, his mind on the pleasure to come.
Doyle ran down the zip on his jacket, and opened it.
"Oh, yes," said Murphy, suddenly realising what Doyle meant. "We're all 'carrying '."
Because Cowley hadn't told them it wasn't work, they were all wearing holsters and guns as usual. They couldn't hide this fact, if they were going to change into overalls !
"I think we'll have to confide in Mr. Donnelly," said Doyle at last, and the others nodded.
Turning back to the puzzled-looking man behind him, he produced his I.D. card to show him.
The man studied it carefully, and looked even more confused.
"C.I.5," he said. "I do know about you, of course, but what do you want with us ?"
"Nothing official, I'm sure," said Doyle re-assuringly. "But because Mr. Cowley didn't warn us what we are here for, we are all armed. We'd sooner not reveal that to everyone," he added.
Donnelly was a sensible man, and gave it some thought.
"I could lock all your stuff up in my safe," he said, "and you could collect it again afterwards. That way no-one else need know who you are."
"Good man," said Doyle approvingly, and the others nodded their appreciation.
It only took a few minutes for all three to whip off their jackets, and to shed the holsters they wore. In no time all the guns and their I.D.s were safely under lock and key in the big safe in the corner of the room.
Feeling a new respect for his guests, Donnelly led them from the room, down towards the garages across the courtyard.
There they were approached by three mechanics, whose overalls bore flashes of the three primary colours, red, yellow and blue. Ascertaining quickly which colour each man had drawn, they collected their appropriate charges, and with a polite "This way, sir," led them off to find their allocated vehicles.
Murphy, whose card had shown a yellow dot, gazed in wonder at the sleek yellow Élan waiting for him.
Bodie beamed with excitement as he saw the bright blue 3000 lined up for him.
And Doyle felt his heart leap as he was led towards the gleaming red Ferrari !
The next hour was sheer pleasure for all of them. First they were kitted out with appropriately coloured overalls and helmets. Then they were eased into the tight-fitting cockpits, while minor adjustments were made. After that the instructors took over, and some intense and exciting learning went on.
At last it was time for some action. They climbed out of the vehicles, and watched as groups of mechanics carefully pushed the cars down to the track-side.
The three excited drivers followed, to be met by Donnelly and the instructors.
"I hear you've all done well," smiled Donnelly. "So now it's time to put what you've learnt into practice."
The yellow Élan was pushed out onto the track first, and Murphy eased himself into it. The powerful engine was fired, and he set off, moving sedately round the track. His instructor had moved a few paces away from the group, and was speaking quietly into his mouth-piece.
They were only using one of the smaller practice circuits, so although it had its fair share of bends and corners, and lengths of straight, the cars were never out of sight.
At first Murphy took it fairly slowly, but his pace gradually increased as he became more confident, and as he neared the end of the first lap, about to pass where they were all standing watching, they heard the instructor shout " Go !"
Naturally more reserved than the other two, Murphy was a bit slower to push his powerful charge to its maximum, but he gained confidence each lap, and by the final one was pushing the gleaming yellow car round the track at a very competent speed. Eventually the chequered flag waved him to a finish. He drew tidily to a halt by the instructor, and was helped out of the car.
Pulling off his helmet, he came towards where Bodie and Doyle were standing, and they could see that he was, for him, quite flushed and exhilarated.
"That was great !," he declared, and beamed happily at the waiting pair.
Next it was Bodie's turn. He eased himself into the shining bright blue car, and was off, much faster than Murphy had begun. The other two smiled as they heard the instructor, standing some yards away, bellowing instructions, mainly to slow down a bit, to power-up more smoothly, to be more careful.
But Bodie, for all his apparent reckless attack, was no fool, and was soon driving steadily, but very fast, round the track. He was handling the car very competently, and the instructor visibly relaxed and let him get on with it.
Finally, he too was flagged to finish. He brought the car neatly to a halt, and climbed out. As he came towards the other two, grinning from ear to ear, his only comment was a delighted
Behind them a table was being set out with refreshments. Bodie and Murphy could hear the sounds of this as they watched Doyle go forward eagerly for his turn.
He eased into the gleaming red Ferrari, and set off confidently. The others could hear his instructor speaking into the 'mike', but he wasn't shouting as Bodie's had been.
In actual fact his instructions were purely technical, to do with the control of 'revs', and speed approaching corners, aimed only at helping Doyle to achieve the best experience he could. Soon the sleek red car was moving smoothly round the track, gaining speed every lap.
After watching for a bit, Bodie and Murphy turned to help themselves to the coffee and biscuits on offer, and to chat with the instructors who had joined them.
They were startled by a sudden yell from one of the mechanics. They swung round and were astonished to see the red car swerving wildly across the track !
"He's in trouble !," yelled someone.
"Something's wrong ! Doyle's better than that !" exclaimed Bodie.
He saw one of the mechanics dashing towards the parked stand-by crash-wagon, and raced after him, climbing in quickly as the man fired the engine and started off.
Those standing trackside watched anxiously, and were relieved to see that the Ferrari seemed to be back under control and was slowing down. It drew towards the side of the track and finally stopped, inches away from a crash barrier of piled-up tyres.
Some of the mechanics had gone for other cars, and they, Donnelly and the instructors were all making their way towards the scene.
The crash-wagon was first there, of course. Bodie jumped out almost before it came to a halt, and dashed forward.
Doyle was very still, and as Bodie eased off the red helmet, he could see that his friend's face was pale and his eyes were closed.
But then, to his relief, Doyle stirred and opened his eyes.
"I didn't crash it, did I ?," he asked anxiously.
"No, the car's fine," said Bodie, looking towards the mechanic, who was examining the front of the Ferrari, so close to the barrier.
As he spoke, he spotted a patch on Doyle's left shoulder, glistening in the light, instead of the normal matt colour of the suit. He put his fingers to it, and they came away wet and red !
"What happened, mate ?," he asked worriedly.
"A bullet, I think," replied Doyle.
"What ?," exclaimed Bodie incredulously.
He un-zipped the overalls, and pushed them back, revealing a bleeding wound at the top of Doyle's arm.
By this time several cars had reached the scene, and they were surrounded by quite a crowd, including Donnelly and Murphy.
"What happened, Doyle ?," asked Murphy, with a worried look, as he helped Bodie ease their friend out of the car.
"Someone took a pot shot," replied Bodie tersely.
Over the initial shock, and relieved that he hadn't damaged the car, Doyle was recovering rapidly, and was trying to shrug off the attention.
"It's not that bad," he protested, but Donnelly was beside him now, looking anxiously at the wet sleeve of the overalls.
"Come on," he said firmly. "I know someone who will have a look at that. We'll go in my car." And he began drawing Doyle towards it.
Bodie turned to Murphy.
"I'll go with Ray," he said. "You go back with the Ferrari. Check it over. See if there's a slug lodged somewhere."
Murphy nodded, accepting the task.
Donnelly took the pair to a nearby surgery. The doctor, a personal friend, was a calm sensible man, and with the help of a quiet efficient nurse, dealt very quickly with the injury. As Doyle had said, it wasn't serious. The doctor accepted his patient's assurances that their own doctor would keep an eye on it over the next few days.
But he did make one protest.
"It's a gun-shot wound. It has to be reported."
"We'll take care of that," said Bodie quickly.
The doctor looked questioningly at Donnelly, who spoke some quick words of re-assurance.
Having thanked the man for his help, they climbed back into the car and returned to the race-track. As Donnelly took them neatly into a convenient parking-space, they spotted a police car parked nearby. Donnelly, at once recognised the number-plate.
"Oh, oh," he said. "That looks as if my friend Inspector Bradford is here. Gordon must have rung the police. He can be a bit officious."
As they entered, Murphy came forward to meet them. He had changed back out of his overalls by now. He handed something to Bodie.
"It was lodged in the backrest," he reported.
Bodie looked closely at the mis-shapen slug in his hand.
"Hm," he said, "Too damaged to be sure what gun it came from, except that it was a high-powered rifle, of course."
This was Bodie's field of expertise, so they accepted his word.
Gordon, one of the instructors came hurrying forward.
"Inspector Bradford is up in your office," he said. "He's waiting to speak to you all."
His glance included the C.I 5 men.
"If you'll just wait a minute till we get changed," suggested Doyle. "Then we'll come up and help you explain what happened."
As the four men entered the little office, Inspector Bradford jumped up to meet them. He was a big, jovial man, and obviously a good friend of Donnelly, for he greeted him cheerfully.
"Well, Pat, old chum," he boomed, "What's been going on here ?"
"Well," began Donnelly. "Someone took a shot at Doyle "
"Mr. Donnelly," interrupted Doyle. "I think we'd better come clean, don't you ? If we could just have our stuff !."
Relieved that Doyle seemed to be going to take charge, Donnelly shot over to his safe and opened it. The three men retrieved and donned their weapons, and presented their I.D. cards to the surprised-looking Inspector. They all found seats and settled round the desk.
"Well, that explains a lot," said the Inspector.
"I know that you do a lot of very special work, but surely there's nothing dodgy for you here ?"
"Oh no," said Doyle quickly. "We're not here on business. We're here for pleasure, and it was great fun, a real experience"
"I suppose, knowing what you do," said the Inspector thoughtfully, "You must make enemies. Is someone after you, young man ?." He looked questioningly at Doyle. "Have you any idea who ?"
"Oh, he wasn't after me," replied Doyle firmly.
Bradford looked astonished, so Doyle went on. "No- one down here knew we were coming, did they ?."
He turned to Donnelly for confirmation.
"You didn't even know our names till the boss phoned just before we got here, did you ? And you certainly didn't know who we were."
Donnelly nodded. "That's true," he agreed. "And, also, the choice of car was completely random."
"Well, what was the idea?," asked the Inspector in a puzzled voice. "Some maniac who doesn't like red cars, maybe ?"
"No," continued Doyle, "I don't think it was that either. If he was after the car, he'd have taken out a tyre to crash it. We know he's a good shot to have even hit something moving as fast as a Ferrari."
"Then what ?" asked Donnelly, who'd been listening intently.
"The usual driver of the car, I think," declared Doyle.
The Inspector turned to Donnelly.
"Who's that, Pat ?," he asked .He'd followed Doyle's astute line of reasoning very well.
"Jan Van der Voort," replied Donnelly. "He's a Dutchman, from Amsterdam, I think."
"I think we'd better have a word with him," said Bradford.
"He's away for a few days," replied Donnelly quickly. "He goes home fairly regularly, which is why the car was available today."
"What do you know about him ?," asked Doyle curiously.
"Not a lot," admitted Donnelly. "He's an excellent driver. He could make the big time. But he's a bit of a loner. He doesn'tsocialise with the others at all. He's got a flat not far away, and when he's not practising, he goes there."
"You'd better give me his address," said the Inspector, "and let me know when he gets back. We need to warn him."
He turned to the three C.I.5 men, and beamed at them.
"I don't think there's any more we can do at the moment," he said. "I'm very pleased to have met you all."
Reaching forward he shook each of them by the hand. Then he took his leave of his friend Donnelly and departed.
Doyle turned to Donnelly.
"We must be on our way too," he said. "Thank you for your help. We've had a super day, up to the last bit, that is. But we thoroughly enjoyed it, didn't we ?," he said, turning to include the other two.
They also added their enthusiastic appreciation to Donnelly and all his staff.
It had been a great treat, a surprise day, although ending with a surprise that they could well have done without. But it could have been a lot worse. !Thinking about it, they all knew that. A crash in a car travelling as fast as the Ferrari had been, would have been very serious, possibly fatal for the driver.
The three returned to the car, and set off back to London.
"I wonder what Cowley is going to say ?," mused Bodie as he made his way through the busy roads.
"Do we have to tell him ?," suggested Doyle tentatively. He wasn't looking forward to relating it all to his boss either.
"Of course we must," said Murphy sensibly. "I know your injury isn't that bad, but it'll have to be explained, won't it ? And besides, Cowley gets police reports in regularly. He seems to know what's going on everywhere."
"True," admitted Doyle, "and if we didn't tell him and he found out, he'd blow his top, wouldn't he ?"
Reluctantly the others nodded agreement.
In actual fact, the interview was not as difficult as they had feared. They began by expressing the great enjoyment they had had.
"Thank you for arranging it, sir," said Bodie.
Cowley waved a dismissive hand.
"Not my doing," he said, "but I thought you'd find it interesting."
He seemed to be in a good mood, which changed a little when he heard about the final event, and he listened intently till they finished their tale.
"Hm," he said at last. "That was a bit unexpected, wasn't it ? Still it's police business now, isn't it, not ours.?"
He dismissed them for the rest of the day, adding only an admonition to Doyle, as he went, to get his injury checked over straight away by their own man.
And that appeared to be the end of the matter. Inspector Bradford must have dealt with all the reports his end, for they heard no more from the local police.
Doyle's injury healed very quickly. Doctor's orders kept him desk-bound for a couple of days but that was all, and soon they were all back doing their usual kind of work.
Doyle found a picture of a red Ferrari, and taped it to his locker door, but that was their only reminder of an exciting experience.
Which explains why, when the switchboard operator called Doyle, and told him that an Inspector Bradford wanted to speak to him, it didn't immediately 'ring a bell'.
He'd been sitting at a desk, finishing off a report on a rather boring morning's work, which had involved checking out three different leads, which had all petered out fruitlessly. So he was quite pleased to take the call as a diversion.
"How can I help you, sir ?," he asked politely.
"Doyle," boomed a cheerful voice in his ear. "You don't remember the name, do you ? Your little escapade on the race-track at Brands Hatch."
"Oh, yes, sir, I remember now," said Doyle quickly. "You're Mr, Donnelly's friend."
"That's it," replied the Inspector. "I rang you because I thought you were rather interested in Mr. Van der Voort, and you might like to hear the latest."
"Yes, I would," said Doyle. "What's happened, sir ?"
"Well," replied the Inspector, "I had a word with the man when he got back, but I didn't get much response. He was a bit surly and uncommunicative."
"Donnelly did say he was a 'loner'," Doyle commented.
Bradford continued his story.
"Since you suggested he could have been the intended target, we've been keeping a discreet eye on him, nothing too obvious. But we didn't see anything till last night."
"Go on," said Doyle eagerly. This could be interesting.
"Well," Bradford went on, "last night there was an arson attack on his flat. One of our men just happened to be passing by on a routine check, and spotted it before it got too big a hold. So, there's not a lot of damage. But Van der Voort is missing, - he didn't turn up at the track yesterday, and no-one has any idea where he is."
"Interesting," said Doyle. "Do you think maybe there's been another attempt to kill him ?"
"Could be," agreed Bradford. "The real reason I rang is that I'm going to have a look at his flat this afternoon. I wondered if there was any chance you could come along, if you're interested, that is ?"
"I am interested," replied Doyle eagerly. "Give me the address, please, and I'll fix it somehow. I'm due some time off."
So, later that afternoon, the two men entered the little flat, some two miles away from the track. It still had a smoky smell hanging about it, but the damage was minimal. The décor was very basic, and the furnishings very much suggested a cheap bachelor flat.
But the lounge held one very interesting feature. One long wall was lined with shelves, and on these there was set out a display collection of racing-driver helmets, all bright red.!
"I forgot to tell you about those," said Bradford. "Quite impressive, aren't they ? Apparently it was a craze with him. Every time he went home to Amsterdam, he came back with a new one to add to his collection."
He was looking at Doyle as he spoke, and saw the sudden flash of interest shown.
"That gave you an idea, didn't it ?," he said astutely.
"Yes, it did," admitted Doyle. "It did cross my mind at the time of the incident - a Dutchman making regular trips to Amsterdam. But bringing in a helmet every time ! ."
He pondered over what he'd just said, marshalling his thoughts carefully. Then he went on.
"His passport probably says 'racing-driver' as his profession, so they'd get used to him doing it, and it was likely he got through customs easily after a while."
Bradford was no fool.
"You're thinking drugs, aren't you ?," he said.
"Well, yes I am," admitted Doyle. "Maybe it's just because of the kind of work we so often get involved with. But it might provide a motive for attempted murder."
"Do you suspect he was bringing it in with the helmets ?" asked the Inspector.
"It's a possibility," conceded Doyle.
Both men lifted a helmet from the shelf and began to examine it carefully. Doyle found a little scratch on the metal near some of the inside padding. Whipping out his all-purpose pen-knife, he flicked up a blade. He lined it up with the scratch, applied a little pressure, and found that some of the interior fittings moved. Pulling them out, he revealed a sizeable cavity !
He showed it to the Inspector, who immediately borrowed the knife, and executed a similar operation on the helmet he had chosen. It was just the same, as were several others that they tried.
It looked as if Doyle's suspicions were well founded.
"Well done," said the Inspector excitedly. He looked round the room. "Do you think there's any of the stuff here now ?"
"Might be," replied Doyle, "though I expect it goes to his buyers quite quickly."
The Inspector pulled out his phone. "I've got a few contacts," he said. "I'll see if I can get hold of a 'sniffer' dog."
He was lucky. They had continued checking all the helmets, but twenty minutes later they heard a car pull up outside. Bradford went to the window.
"Great," he said. "I thought it was Taylor's day off. They managed to get him at home, -he lives next door to me."
You do have a useful circle of friends, thought Doyle
Bradford opened the door and a tall lean man entered, hanging onto the lead of a bouncing tan and white spaniel. As he entered the lounge, he let the dog go, with a brief order.
"Dusty, find !"
The excited dog ran all over the room, and the three men watched him intently. He showed considerable interest in the helmets that they had examined and discarded onto the floor. But then he left them, and started pawing and scratching at a small fireside cabinet. Taylor retrieved his dog and calmed him down.
Bradford knelt down by the cabinet, and pulled the drawer open. He reached into it, sat back on his heels and looked very disappointed.
"There's nothing in here," he said. "Just some stationery stuff, envelopes, paper and pens."
But Doyle, having had a lot more experience in this field, took over. With a swift jerk, he pulled the drawer right out, and turned it round. Sure enough, taped to the back of it were several packets of white powder. He made a tiny slit in one with a fingernail, and tasted a tiny bit.
"It's heroin, all right," he said, "and top quality too !"
Dusty barked excitedly, as if he knew that he'd done his job well.
"This explains a lot," said Doyle. "If the chap was siphoning stuff off, to sell for himself, he would be in trouble."
"A motive for them trying to kill him," agreed Bradford.
"I think we've done a good afternoon's work, Doyle."
"Oh, no sir, not me," put in Doyle quickly. "I'm off-duty, remember. I'm pleased you let me in on it, but it's very much your case."
"And I'll get on with it," said the Inspector. "The Drugs Squad first, and possibly Interpol to see if they can find the Amsterdam connections."
He shook Doyle's hand warmly, as the C.I 5 man left to return to his car.
"It's been a pleasure meeting you again, young man," he said. "I'll let you know of any developments"
When Doyle reported in the next morning, he was told to report to Cowley's office, so he hurried up the stairs, knocked and entered. Cowley was rubbing his leg, easing an old injury which played him up occasionally, and seemed to be in a bad mood.
"You had a phone call yesterday," he said brusquely, "from an Inspector Bradford. What was that about ?"
So Doyle reported what Bradford had told him, and described what they had found together.
"Why did you go down there ?," demanded Cowley. "I thought we'd decided it was police business, not ours."
Doyle caught the censorious tone in he boss's voice, and didn't much like it. His annoyance showed in his reply.
"It was in my own time, sir," he said stiffly. "And I was interested because the bullet that clipped me was meant for Van der Voort, and now he's missing."
Cowley realised he'd been a bit unfair, and tried to make amends.
"And you did find the answer was drugs," he conceded, acknowledging that it had been a good result.
"Yes, sir," replied Doyle. "Inspector Bradford is taking all the necessary steps. I'll do nothing more. It's his case, always has been."
Cowley changed the subject.
"Is Bodie in ?," he asked.
Doyle went to the window and looked down into the yard.
"His car's in now," he reported, "He'll be up in a minute."
He was and soon the pair of them were studying a report that Cowley had just received, about a man they'd been after for years.
"There's some new information in there," said Cowley. "I'd like you to check it out." The pair left obediently.
Cowley gazed after them, trying to analyse for himself why he'd been so short with Doyle. He knew it was partly because his bad leg was causing him pain, but he suddenly realised the real reason. He was jealous ! He valued highly the work this clever pair did for him, and actually resented anyone else sharing in their skills.
Stupid man !, he berated himself. You may act as if you own them totally, but you don't really, you know. They both have an independent streak. But they give you total commitment, so be grateful for that, and watch you don't push them too hard.
Two minor incidents completed the story.
The first was a copy of a local newspaper, sent to Doyle.
"The headline said,
MYSTERY DEATH OF RISING YOUNG RACING DRIVER.
A covering note from Bradford explained that the body of Van der Voort had been found in a local lake, and as the cause of death had been drowning, they couldn't bring a murder charge against anyone.
But they had had some good results in uncovering some of his contacts, and several men were in custody awaiting trial.
He added that Interpol had been pretty successful too, with those that Van der Voort had associated with in Amsterdam.
The second was the arrival of a largish parcel addressed to Doyle. It was treated to all the usual checks, of course, but seemed to be clear. Watched by Bodie, Doyle opened it cautiously, to reveal a box containing a red racing-drivers helmet.! The accompanying note said.
"Thanks for your help. I thought you'd like a souvenir !"
Doyle grinned happily at his mate. It would be a great reminder of an experience which had been, for the most part, very exciting and great fun.
"If it fits, I'll wear it when I'm out on the motorbike," he said.
"If it doesn't, it will make an impressive display in my flat."