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Authors: Donald Hamilton

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BOOK: The Wrecking Crew
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Her eyes widened. “How did you manage that?”

“After the local authorities had developed the films and cut out everything that might be remotely interesting to a potential enemy, they let me have the scraps that were left. We’d shot quite a bit, you remember, and from time to time I’d picked up a few exposures on my own while you were champing at the bit. Well, going over the stuff, I found enough to work with. The piece will appear in a forthcoming issue, and the editor can’t be too displeased with it, since he wrote asking if we’d be interested in working together on another article of a similar nature.” I looked at her across the table. “Would we?”

“Why,” she said, after the briefest hesitation, “why, it sounds wonderful, Matt…”

We had fish for dinner. They can’t cook meat for shucks over here, perhaps because they haven’t any worth eating, but they can take anything that swims and turn it into a gourmet’s delight. Afterward, I put her in a taxi and took her to her hotel, which didn’t happen to be the same as mine, for a change. She didn’t hesitate when we reached her door. She just unlocked it and walked in, leaving it open for me to follow, which I did, closing the door behind me. She got rid of her purse and gloves. Her full-skirted dress swished softly as she turned to face me.

“Nice,” I said, indicating it with a gesture.

“It’s about time you noticed,” she said. Then a kind of spark came into her eyes, something spontaneous and mischievous that gave me hope. “It wasn’t very expensive,” she murmured. “You can rip it if you like.”

“The great Kiruna rape scene,” I said wryly. “I’m never going to live that down, am I?”

She was silent, smiling, waiting, and there wasn’t anything more to say, and I stepped forward, and I didn’t really know what the hell to do. I could have been a kid on his first heavy date. I began unfastening her dress buttons, starting at the top. Then, suddenly, she was in my arms, the way it was supposed to be, and everything was going to be all right, everything was going to be fine, and then everything stopped, and that was all there was to that.

She made a small sound in her throat. I let her go and stepped back.

“I’m sorry, Matt,” she whispered. “I’m terribly sorry. That’s why I... I thought if I went away for a while… thought I could forget...”

“Sure, kid,” I said.

“The man in the bushes with a broken neck,” she whispered. “The one by the cabin with a bullet in the back. In the back, Matt!”

“Yeah,” I said. “In the back. He happened to be facing that way.”

She shook her head desperately. “And Caselius himself... I hated him more than I’d ever hated another human being. But he’d surrendered, Matt! He had his hands in the air!”

I said, “As a boy, I knew a fellow who’d throw rocks at you and call you all kinds of dirty names, and the minute you landed a solid punch, he’d start yelling uncle. He escaped more lickings that way.” She shook her head again, in that blind and unreasoning way. I said, “It was my job, Lou. I had to finish it, no matter where his damn hands were. I couldn’t leave it for some other poor sap to have to do all over again.”

“I know,” she whispered. “I know, and I know he was going to kill me and you saved me, but—”

“Yeah,” I said. I reached out and fastened the two buttons of her dress I’d undone. “There,” I said. “Well, take it easy, doll. There’s a guy named Wellington in town, whom you may remember. He’s got a cast on and it itches and he’d like sympathy, I’m sure. Look him up. You two ought to have a lot in common. He thinks I’m a stinker, too.”

“Matt!” she said. “Matt, I—”

I got out of there, and when I got to my own hotel room, some blocks away, the phone was ringing. I hesitated, but she’d know it was over; she’d have more sense than to call. I went over and picked up the instrument.

“Herr Helm,” the desk clerk’s voice said, “Herr Helm, you have a transatlantic telephone call, from a Mr. Martin Carrol, in Washington. I will try to get the connection for you. I will call you back.”

I hung up. For a blank moment, all I could think of was that I didn’t know anybody named Martin Carrol, in Washington or anywhere else. Then I thought of the initials, M.C. for Mac. Cute. I shivered, and wondered what the job would be this time. That was a silly thing to wonder about. I knew what it would be. The only questions were who and where.

The phone rang again. I picked it up. “We are getting your party in Washington, Herr Helm. Are you ready to take the call?”

I didn’t answer at once. The funny part was, I couldn’t feel a thing about Lou. What I was feeling was about another girl, a girl who’d been beautiful and young and kind of crazy. That was what I really needed, I thought, a girl who was a little crazy. But she was dead.

The clerk’s voice held a note of impatience. “Herr Helm, are you ready?”

“Yes,” I said. “Yes, I’m ready...”


Donald Hamilton was the creator of secret agent Matt Helm, star of 27 novels that have sold more than 20 million copies worldwide.

Born in Sweden, Hamilton emigrated to the United States and studied at the University of Chicago. During the Second World War he served in the United States Naval Reserve, and in 1941 he married Kathleen Stick, with whom he had four children.

The first Matt Helm book,
Death of a Citizen,
was published in 1960 to great acclaim, and four of the subsequent novels were made into motion pictures. Hamilton was also the author of several outstanding stand-alone thrillers and westerns, including two novels adapted for the big screen as
The Big Country
The Violent Men.

Donald Hamilton died in 2006.


The Matt Helm Series


The long-awaited return of the United States’ toughest special agent.

Death of a Citizen

The Removers
(April 2013)

The Silencers
(June 2013)

Murderers’ Row
(August 2013)

The Ambushers
(October 2013)

The Shadowers
(December 2013)

The Ravagers
(February 2014)


“Donald Hamilton has brought to the spy novel the authentic hard realism of Dashiell Hammett; and his stories are as compelling, and probably as close to the sordid truth of espionage, as any now being told.”

Anthony Boucher,
The New York Times

“This series by Donald Hamilton is the top-ranking American secret agent fare, with its intelligent protagonist and an author who consistently writes in high style. Good writing, slick plotting and stimulating characters, all tartly flavored with wit.”

Book Week

“Matt Helm is as credible a man of violence as has ever figured in the fiction of intrigue.”

The New York Sunday Times

“Fast, tightly written, brutal, and very good…”

Milwaukee Journal



Helen Maclnnes

A series of slick espionage thrillers from the New York Times bestselling “Queen of Spy Writers.”

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
(March 2013)

(April 2013)

Snare of the Hunter
(May 2013)

Agent in Place
(June 2013)


“The queen of spy writers.”
Sunday Express

“Definitely in the top class.”
Daily Mail

“The hallmarks of a MacInnes novel of suspense are as individual and as clearly stamped as a Hitchcock thriller.”
The New York Times

“She can hang her cloak and dagger right up there with Eric Ambler and Graham Greene.”

“More class than most adventure writers accumulate in a lifetime.”
Chicago Daily News

“A sophisticated thriller. The story builds up to an exciting climax.”
Times Literary Supplement

“An atmosphere that is ready to explode with tension... a wonderfully readable book.”
The New Yorker


BOOK: The Wrecking Crew
7.29Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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