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Authors: Colin Forbes

Tags: #Fiction, #Action & Adventure, #det_espionage

Double Jeopardy (22 page)

BOOK: Double Jeopardy
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'I will be in the canteen where we left her while we talked,'
Stoller informed him. 'Just ask the operator for your number, press the red button and you're on scrambler…'
While he waited for the Park Crescent number Martel studied a wall-map of Bavaria. It showed where caches of Delta arms and uniforms had been found. Flags indicated the discovery dates.
He found it strange that the rate of success was accelerating. No wonder the polls were showing increasing support for Tofler's party as Election Day approached. Each discovery increased the voters' fear of a Delta win. The phone rang and he heard McNeil at the other end of the line. He asked her to supply 'photos of the four principals…'
'Tweed is out of London,' she told him quickly. 'He asked me to give you a message, Keith. Tomorrow, Monday, catch the first available flight to Heathrow where you will be met. You can give me the flight number? Good. And the ETA? Bring a passport picture of Miss Hofer. As soon as the meeting is over you fly back to Bavaria. Time is running out..
`Don't I know it,' Martel replied.
It was a hot Sunday morning in Paris.
Howard had stayed in the city at the urging of Alain Flandres for a further discussion with O'Meara about security precautions aboard the Summit Express. The train was due to leave the Gare de l'Est late Tuesday evening, June 2 – only three days' hence.
Despite Howard's protestations Flandres had insisted he would personally drive his British opposite number to Charles de Gaulle Airport to catch his London flight. Howard had a shock when he stepped out of the lift with his bag into the reception hall of the H6tel de France et Choiseul ready for his departure.
`Tim is flying to London with you,' the Frenchman announced.
'Decided I'd call at the Embassy there and check out certain unfinished business, then fly back here for Der Tag,' O'Meara explained. `It will give us a chance to get better acquainted…'
Howard said nothing as he contemplated the two men, contrasting their styles. They were opposites – the slim, elegantly dressed Alain, every hair in place, his movements nimble and precise, and the large American in his check sports jacket who exuded aggressive self-confidence.
'I have to pay my bill,' Howard said and walked to the counter. His eyes scanned the guests seated in the lounge area. A slim, fair-haired girl, fashionably dressed and with her superb legs crossed, sat reading a copy of Vogue. A blue Vuiton suitcase stood by her chair and she glanced up briefly as Howard passed her.
It took only a few moments to settle the bill, he lifted his case, went back to the entrance and Flandres led the way to where a blue Citroen was parked. He opened the rear door and Howard was forced to join O'Meara in the back. As the car left the kerb the fair-haired girl with the Vuiton case emerged and climbed inside a waiting cab.
During the journey the Englishman encouraged O'Meara to talk and maintained an almost uninterrupted silence. Without appearing to do so he was watching Alain behind the wheel who frequently glanced in his rear-view mirror. Howard gained the impression they were being followed.
He was on the verge of asking the Frenchman if he had spotted a tail when something made him keep quiet. At de Gaulle Alain accompanied them to the barrier and bade them an effusive farewell. .. until we meet again here in Paris aboard the Summit Express,' he murmured. -
He watched as the two men stood on the escalator carrying them up inside a transparent tube elevated at a steep angle. A fair-haired girl passed him carrying a Vuiton case followed by a small, stocky man wearing a trilby. The tails were in position. Renee Duval would report on all Howard's movements and contacts. Georges Lepas would perform the same operation on O'Meara. Alain Flandres was a professional, his favourite maxim trust no one – particularly those close to you.
Because something was wrong…
Munich Hauptbahnhof. The location Charles Warner had haunted on his visits to the Bavarian state capital. Martel and Claire had asked Stoller to drop them at the Four Seasons Hotel in the centre of the city. As soon as the German had departed Martel picked up both bags and shook his head at the hotel porter.
`We're not staying here…'
They walked a short distance before Martel hailed a cab and gave an address close to the Hauptbahnhof. After he had paid the fare they separated, each carrying their own bag. When they entered the vast station there was nothing to indicate they knew each other. Claire followed Martel at a distance, thankful for the pistol concealed in her handbag.
Both got rid of their cases in self-locking storage compartments and Martel began his search. Why had Warner found this place. – and its alter ego in Zurich – important enough to record in his notebook? Knowing it would help identify him to any watcher, he strolled into the Sunday turmoil with his cigarette-holder at a jaunty angle. Behind him Claire checked for shadows. They were now in the middle of the spider's web.
Erwin Vinz felt desperate – which he knew was bad because a mood could cause him to make a mistake. After two fiascos in Lindau – Gross's unsuccessful attempt to kill Martel in the fog followed by the elimination of the windsurfer execution squad – Reinhard Dietrich had flown into a fury in his Munich penthouse apartment.
`You had Martel! You had him in the palm of your hand in_ Lindau. What happens? Gross is killed by Martel while you stand by! Are you degenerating into some kind of amateur? If so, there is always a remedy…'
`I do have a plan…' Vinz began.
'Wonderful! Just as you had a plan at Lindau! I hope you also realise I hold you partly responsible for my nephew, Werner's demise?' He paused, choking on his emotion. The news had come over the phone from Erich Stoller of all people, the Intelligence creep Dietrich loathed. Vinz made a great effort.
'I am sure that Martel will surface in Munich. He is likely to come in by train. He uses trains a lot. He travelled to St. Gallen from Zurich by train. He left St. Gallen aboard the Munich express last Thursday…'
'And you lost him,' Dietrich broke in sarcastically.
'I have crammed Munich Hauptbahnhof with our soldiers,' Vinz persisted. 'They have his description. The station is so overcrowded an accident can occur and no one will notice. A man falls off a platform under a train…'
'Dangerous,' Dietrich said thoughtfully as he lit a cigar, `to draw attention to the Hauptbahnhof
'Only if the Englishman realises its significance – only if he survives to pass on the information…'
'Kill him!' Dietrich crashed his fist on the desk, his face red with fury. 'Kill him for Werner! Now-get out…'
The Hauptbahnhof was an inferno: the noise, the chaos incredible. Martel was caught up in the mob of passengers hurrying for trains, getting out of the city for a Sunday break. Expresses arriving, departing…
Saarbruecken, Bremen, Frankfurt, Zurich, Dortmund, Wuerzburg… The destination boards carried the names of cities all over Europe. Under the tall roof in the cavern below were platforms 11 to 26. A sign pointed to an adjoining second station – the Starnberger. There was even a third station for platforms 1 to 10.
Wartesaal, a huge waiting room. Rows of telephone booths. A cafeteria. Kino – a cinema open from 0900 to 2100 hours, entrance six deutschemarks, for which sum you could sit there all day and in the evening. A score of different exits – including one to the complex U-Bahn system.
Martel was like a sponge, soaking up data, smoking his cigarette, strolling among the hustling, shoving crowds. At the back of his mind an idea was forming. Warner had noted down this rendezvous of strangers as important. Was the reason staring him in the face?
The noise was appalling, trapped by the overhang of the roof, the noise of voices, trampling feet, Tannoys booming. An assault on the nerves. The heat, again trapped inside the cavern by the roof, was exhausting-the clammy humidity, the sweat of God knew how many hurrying passengers.
Patiently, her handbag under her left arm, her right hand dose to the flap and the pistol inside, Claire Hofer appeared to drift into the whirlpool as she doggedly followed the Englishman. Then she saw, him. Erwin Vinz,
She was sure the killer would not recognise her. When he came into the reception hall of the Bayerischer Hof late in the evening he had not even glanced at her. But she had been trained never to make easy assumptions. From her handbag she took a pair of tinted glasses and slipped them on. She had to warn Mart
Keith Man. el's attention was absorbed by something else. He had the uncanny feeling that he was surrounded by hostile forces, that amid the surging crowd was a more compact, organised detachment of men. Then he saw a man wearing a Delta symbol in his lapel, a man waiting by the barrier where the Munich Express from Zurich was gliding to a halt.
More people poured off the platform into the station. Martel pretended to study a timetable board while he watched the man. One of the disembarking passengers showed his ticket but retained it – so it was a return. It happend in seconds – showing the ticket, the shaking of hands with the waiting Delta man and then they walked into the cafeteria. The new arrival also wore a silver triangle in his lapel.
'Erwin Vinz is here. Wearing the same clothes as in Lindau. He is standing by a loaded trolley behind you – he's seen you…'
Claire Hofer gently rubbed the side of her face to conceal the movement of her lips as she stood alongside Martel, also appearing to consult the timetable.
'Watch yourself,' he warned. 'I think the place is crawling with Delta types. Two have just gone into the cafeteria…'
He left her and she remained for a few moments studying the times and scribbling them in her pocket notebook. When she turned round Martel was disappearing inside the cafeteria. Erwin Vinz had spoken to, a man she had only a brief glimpse of: she had an impression of tanned skin, large sun-goggles and the man vanished towards the exit.
Inside the cafeteria Martel ordered a cup of coffee, paid for it and selected a table close to one of the doors to the concourse. He sat in a chair with his back to the wall. The two Delta men were absorbed in conversation. The recent arrival from the express handed to his companion a thick envelope which disappeared inside the companion's breast pocket.
A glance, the briefest lifting of eyes in Mattel's direction by the man who had waited at the barrier, warned the Englishman he had walked into a trap.
They crowded round the nearest exit, blocking his escape route – five well-built men wearing Tyrolean hats and carrying beer steins. One of them sat down at his table as Martel grasped the pepper pot. The man put his stein on the table, reached inside his pocket and produced a notebook which he laid on the table. He had not looked once in Martel's direction.
He put his hand in his pocket again and it reappeared holding a felt-tipped pen. He held it below the level of the table, pressed a button and the needle shot out into the action position. Martel ripped off the top of the pepper pot and tossed the contents into his eyes. He screamed – and his scream coincided with a louder sound. The explosion of shots fired from a pistol.
Martel jumped up and pushed over the table, tipping the killer opposite and his chair sprawling to the floor. The men round the door were stumbling against each other and their faces registered stark fear. They were desperate to get away from the door they had been blocking a moment earlier.
'This way out!'
Martel had a brief vision of Claire standing in the doorway, the pistol she had fired three times gripped in both hands and aimed at the Delta men. Her earlier shots had gone over their heads. Martel ran forward, using the stiffened side of his hand to chop down a man who made an attempt to stop him.
Then he was outside. Claire had rammed the pistol inside her handbag and he gripped her by the arm, hustling her across the concourse. Behind them they left a scene of confusion and shouted curses as frightened customers panicked and struggled to leave the place.
Martel shouted the words close to Claire's ear as he continued moving her fast among the crowds, elbowing people out of his way, forcing a swift passage towards the main exit and the escalator to the U-Bahn system.
'Tickets…' Claire reminded him.
'I bought a couple earlier when I was prowling round – to give us a line of retreat…'
Before entering the U-Bahn it is necessary to buy a ticket which you insert into an automatic punching machine and then descend the escalator. Still moving rapidly, still gripping her arm, he headed for the U-Bahn entrance, weaving in and out among the passengers.
He was careful now not to force his way through, to merge into the background. They had a short head-start; the U-Bahn must swallow them up before the Delta men inside the Hauptbahnhof arrived. They reached the machines, punched their tickets, went below and arrived on a platform as a train was pulling in.
As it moved out Martel was certain no one had followed them on to the train. He looked at Claire sitting beside him. She removed her dark glasses. Her forehead was glistening with beads of sweat – but other people in the coach sat in shirt-sleeves and mopped their own foreheads. She looked back at him uncertainly.
'We go straight to the Clausen,' he told her quietly. 'It's a small hotel in a side street. We can go back for our bags later – much later.'
'Was it all worth it?' she asked.
'You tell me. I know now why the Hauptbahnhofs are important.'
The Sunday Concorde flight from Washington departed 1305 hours local time and arrived at Heathrow at 2155 hours local time. The cab deposited Tweed at Park Crescent – where McNeil, forewarned by his call from Dulles – was waiting for him in his office. The clock on the wall registered thirty minutes before midnight.
The news has just come over the telex.'
McNeil made no attempt to soften the shock she knew Tweed would receive. The one thing her chief detested was any kind of fuss.
BOOK: Double Jeopardy
10.73Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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