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Authors: Helen MacInnes

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Cloak of Darkness

BOOK: Cloak of Darkness
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ALSO BY HELEN MacINNES

AND AVAILABLE FROM TITAN BOOKS

Pray for a Brave Heart

Above Suspicion

Assignment in Brittany

North From Rome

Decision at Delphi

The Venetian Affair

The Salzburg Connection

Message from Málaga

While We Still Live

The Double Image

Neither Five Nor Three

Horizon

Snare of the Hunter

Agent in Place

Ride a Pale Horse

Prelude to Terror

The Hidden Target

I and My True Love

Rest and Be Thankful
(December 2013)

Friends and Lovers
(January 2014)

Home is the Hunter
(February 2014)

Helen
MacINNES
CLOAK OF
DARKNESS

TITAN BOOKS

Cloak of Darkness

Print edition ISBN: 9781781163375

E-book edition ISBN: 9781781164310

Published by Titan Books

A division of Titan Publishing Group Ltd

144 Southwark Street, London SE1 0UP

First edition: November 2013

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

© 1982, 2013 by the Estate of Helen MacInnes. All rights reserved.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the British Library.

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For Keith and Nancy, with love

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

1

It was the usual Monday-morning fever in Robert Renwick’s office. After a slow week-end with scarcely a report coming in, there was a deluge of cryptic messages—most by shortwave radio, some by coded cable or Telex, and even two by scrambled phone calls from Berlin and Rome requiring immediate attention.

But now it was five o’clock, the working day drawing to an end, his desk almost free of questions needing answers, of memoranda and suggestions to be considered. The easy replies would go out tonight; the difficult problems would need more computer research and analysis, perhaps further queries to agents in the field, certainly some scrambled phone discussions with agencies in various capitals. The Intelligence services, not only of the NATO countries but also of those that had allied themselves with the West, were finding the London headquarters of Interintell a useful clearing house of information.

Interintell—or International Intelligence against Terrorism. It had been Renwick’s brain child, conceived in Brussels, set up in London, staffed by ex-NATO Intelligence men like Renwick himself. As an American, he would have been pleased to see Washington as Interintell’s headquarters for shared information on terrorist conspiracies and connections. But he had decided on London for several valid reasons. Western Europe had been under savage attack by organised terrorism; the United States— so far—hadn’t experienced the same intensity. Then there was the matter of co-operation between Intelligence services, and that came more willingly from Europeans: they had felt the need. The United States—so far, again—had not.

But then, America had been having its own headaches: the CIA under attack at home, in danger abroad from the exposure of its agents. Small wonder that Washington, overloaded with bureaucrats and competing agencies, had been in a foot-dragging mood when Renwick put forward his tentative idea almost three years ago: the necessity for pro-NATO countries to share Intelligence information if terrorism was ever to be challenged successfully.

France, of course, had been interested—it was already establishing its own counter-terrorism department. But even though Paris had its attractions, it also had the headquarters of Interpol, the International Police Organisation that tracked the criminals who once thought crossing a frontier would solve their problems. Fair was fair, Renwick had decided, and so London was the choice. In the two years since Interintell had been established, in a quiet house on Grace Street with the modest plate of J.P. Merriman & Co., Consultant Engineers marking its front entrance, it had prospered. Business, alas, was booming: too many damned terrorists, Renwick was thinking as he rearranged three remaining reports on the desk in front of him.

He would read and compare them once more—they were succinct, only a page to each of them—and then go home, still brooding about them, to be ready by tomorrow morning for a conference with Gilman and Claudel. (They were reading the duplicates right now.) He glanced at the clock, looked at Nina’s photograph smiling at him across the small room. “Tonight,” he told her, “I’ll even be home in time for dinner.”

And then the telephone rang, the green one, his own private line to the outside world without benefit of the telephone switchboard downstairs. Serious business, he thought with a frown as he picked up the receiver. A man’s voice asked, “Renwick?”

“Yes.”

“Say a few words, will you?” The voice was strong, confident, American.

Someone who knows me, a careful type, making sure. Renwick said, “‘O what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive.’”

There was a pause, then a smothered laugh. “Yes, Colonel, sir. You’re Renwick all right.”

“And who are you?”

“That doesn’t matter. What I know, does. Is this line safe?”

“It should be.”

“No other connection? No one listening?” The questions were tense.

“No one.” And who the hell was this? Not more than twenty people had Renwick’s private number, and the voice didn’t belong to any of them.

The man’s brief anxiety was over. He spoke more easily now. “I’ll take your word for it. Meet me at six o’clock. In your favourite pub.”

“Sorry. I’m meeting a friend there for a quick drink this evening. Why not join us?” Renwick would like to see this character who had ferreted out his private number. But not alone. He would get Ronald Gilman or Pierre Claudel to accompany him.

“I’m not joining you there. Just passing by your table. I’ll stop to light a cigarette—a red throwaway lighter. You’ll see a heavy gold ring on my right hand. Give me five minutes— five exactly—and then follow. Alone. Take a cab. Drive to Paddington Station. I’ll be waiting just inside the main entrance. Follow me again. We’ll stop at a newsstand, and I’ll slip you a ticket. Then trail behind me, and we’ll have us a little train ride. An empty compartment is a good place for serious talk.”

“If it’s empty.” A compartment? Did they exist any more? This must be an amateur, and a stranger to Britain, too, who had worked out his own security plans.

“Leave that to me. You just leave your friend sitting in the Red Lion. Got that?”

“Which Red Lion? There must be fifty of them.” On Bridle Lane? If so, this man had been watching him. A disquieting thought.

“Come on, Renwick! Your favourite pub. Not too far from the office.”

So Bridle Lane it was.

“Six o’clock. Prepare for a short stay. But your friend stays there. No one follows you outside. No one follows me. I’ve got your word on that?”

“No one follows us into the street.”

“And no one waits for us outside, either. Agreed?”

Renwick glanced at the reports in front of him. “Agreed, but I’ve some work to finish. Make it seven o’clock.” And what have I to lose? he thought. If I sense something wrong about this man, I don’t have to walk out of the Red Lion after him. He seems to know me. I feel I’ve heard that voice before, can’t quite place it, but if I can see him I may remember where we’ve met. And was that what he wanted, my recognition? So that I’d follow him, have confidence in him?

“Six o’clock. There’s a train to catch. And I hold you to your promise. No one watching the Red Lion. Remember!”

Renwick restrained a surge of annoyance, kept his voice cool. “Why should I go through all these antics? I don’t know who you are or your credentials, or even—”

“Three weeks ago, I met a man who had just escaped from a prison in India—sentenced for murder in Bombay, 1979.”

Renwick’s spine stiffened. That was Erik—it had to be. News of his escape had reached Interintell six weeks ago. Since then, silence. And it had been Interintell (chiefly Renwick and Claudel) who had tracked Erik in 1979 through Europe and the Mideast and Iran, through Pakistan and India to Bombay, where the long chase had ended. Erik, the founder and leader of a West German group of anarchists calling themselves “Direct Action”. Erik, or Kurt Leitner, or James Kiley, or a dozen other identities that he had used in his ten years of dedicated terrorism... Renwick recovered. “You met him where?”

“I’ll tell you when we meet. I’ll tell you that and more important things, too.” The call ended.

More important than Erik wandering free? Renwick replaced the receiver. He picked up the three sheets of paper, placed them in a folder in his safe and locked it. (Tomorrow he would come into the office before nine, finish his homework on their problem before the meeting with Gilman and Claudel at ten o’clock.) The rest of the litter on his desk was gathered into neat piles, placed methodically in a drawer with a dependable lock: nothing of much importance there. The room was orderly once more.

Antiseptic, Renwick called it. Apart from the large maps on the walls above the low bookcases, the only decoration was Nina’s photograph. The one comfortable item was the black leather armchair with its footrest. Everything else was practical: desk, two chairs, three telephones, good lamps, wall safe, filing cabinet with a radio on top, an electric fire, and windows close to the ceiling with plenty of air and daylight and even more privacy than the room already possessed. Nina had suggested colour for the walls, a bright carpet on the floor, but he had kept the room as plain as possible—white walls, wooden floors, nothing to distract or seduce him from the work on hand.

He called Nina on his regular outside line. “Honey—I’ll be late tonight. Sorry. Terribly sorry, darling. Don’t keep dinner— I’ll have a sandwich. And get to bed, will you? Early?”

Nina took it well. She always did. It was as if she could sense some real urgency whenever he was forced to alter their plans. Now, she only said, “Take care, darling. Please?”

“Sure. I love you, don’t I?” He was the luckiest guy, he told himself for the thousandth time.

There was no need to call Gilman on the interoffice phone. Their doors were always open to each other. He lifted his Burberry off its hook on the wall, checked his hat in its pocket, and entered the passage that led into the main house. The filing room, vast with its steadily increasing data, was still at work. Next door, the computer room had its two experts busy with their question-and-answer games. And at the end of the corridor was Ronald Gilman’s office. He was the director of this establishment, elected by Renwick as much for his diplomatic connections as for his expert knowledge. It was Gilman who had arranged for the lease of this building, for the initial acquiring of equipment, and had managed to attract the unobtrusive support of his own government. The English had a quiet way in such matters.

Gilman, busy comparing the three reports, looked up in surprise. “Finished?” he asked. “Well, it looks as if you were right in your prediction two years ago.” He tapped the pages in front of him. “Right-wing terrorism is now as ruthless as left-wing. Joining each other, too, in some cases. An unholy alliance.”

“But I didn’t foresee any right-wing terrorists being trained in Communist camps.” That was what the three reports, each from a different source—France, Turkey, Lebanon—had indicated. “I’ll have to finish studying the evidence tomorrow morning. Something else has come up.”

BOOK: Cloak of Darkness
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