Adamant Makes An Entrance
antiquarian bookshop with its dingy dark green frontage stood on
“Ting a ling” sounded the shop bell.
“Ah a customer’ Jonesy muttered to himself.
He pressed a button on the camera, click “the fifth today and its only half
Hanson wrote a note in the log book and
remarking sarcastically “Busy man our Mr Nosmitz, he must be making a fortune’.
“Yeah, but not from selling books” returned
The two special branch officers we re-positioned
to an empty room across the street from Nosmitz Antiquarian Book Shop. The
floor of the room was bare and covered in dust and discarded sandwich holders.
The walls were covered in a grimy yellow wall paper, the mantlepiece of the
fire place served as a ledge for two flasks which had contained coffee, and half
empty day’s old coffee mugs, cola cans, and empty plastic sandwich containers,
and burger cartons littered the floor and a small transistor radio. All signs of
a long surveillance job.
“Put some music on Hanson, this excitement
will be the death of me” said Jonesy, rubbing his eyes and stretching his arms
Click, and ‘Tam O’Shanter’ by Malcom Arnold
issued forth through the speaker.
“Blimey Hanson, haven’t you gone digital
“It’s good enough for me, besides I can’t afford to ‘go digital’ not with a wife, three kids and a whopping great mortgage. It’s alright for you single blokes, I don’t know where you get the money. You’d better watch yourself or they’ll be watching you next, they don’t like big spenders!”
“I’ve got contacts in the trade, I get a
good deal” Jonesy replied.
Jonesy gave a broad grin and went back to
watching the shop opposite “Yeah, that’s what Philips said, and look what
happened to him.”
Suddenly the door burst open and framed in
the doorway, stood a tall man dressed in a black top hat, evening dress, and
black cape. The man sporting a thin moustache leaned casually on his silver
topped walking cane.
“Good afternoon gentlemen. I do hope I’m not
intruding!” the man said removing his top hat.
and Jonesy turned together to face the man.
“Who the devil are you?” Hanson asked, his
hand reaching inside his jacket.
The man who was over six feet tall entered
the room and remained silent, his cold light blue eyes scanning both the men
and the room.
“Come on, I asked who are you, and while
you’re about it, what do you want?” said Hanson, his right hand feeling the gun
in its holster.
“Dressed like that I’d say he was on his
way to the theatre!” Jonesy quipped
The man said nothing, he simply stared back
with cold, light blue fearless eyes.
“Always wear that fancy dress get-up do
you, what are you some sort of eccentric?’ asked Hanson, feeling that something
wasn’t quite right about this intruder.
“I know” said Jonsey suddenly “he thinks
he’s Adam Adamant!”
Hanson made to pull the forty-four calibre revolver
from its holster.
At that moment the man dropped his top hat
and pulled the blade out of the swordstick, putting the point of the blade to
Hanson’s throat “Now we’re not going to get all belligerent are we?”
Hanson released the grip on the butt of the
gun, pulling his hand from beneath his jacket, and the man put up his sword.
“How did you get in here?”
“You saw for yourself, by the door. But
perhaps you weren’t paying attention ” the man said making his way passed the
two men and gazing casually out of the window and down at the bookshop
“Look here, how about showing us some ID,
and telling us what it is you want” ordered Jonesy.
“You can call me Richard Roe” the man said
sliding the blade of his sword back into the cane. Then he put his hand into
his pocket beneath his cape and produced a black wallet, which he tossed
casually to Hanson. who reached out to catch it.
Hanson opened the wallet and read the
“Who is he?” asked Jonesy making eye
contact with the intruder, and being held in a trance like state, but only for
a few seconds.
“It says he’s Silas Blake of MI9.”
“MI9?” exclaimed Jonsey.
“Forgive my attire gentlemen.”
“Blake, Silas Blake” exclaimed Jonesy “I’ve
heard of you. You look ridiculous.”
“I see my reputation precedes me gentleman.
Fooled you for a moment though, didn’t it?” returned Blake with a smile.
“So why the elaborate disguise?” Hanson
asked, handing back the wallet.
“Believe me it would have been even more
elaborate, had they had the standard Mister X disguise!”
“So why are you here?”
“I’ve an interest in a mutual friend who occupies the bookshop opposite.”
“We have kept Vladimir Nosmitz under the
closest possible surveillance for the passed month. We have logs of all his
movements, records of all the comings and goings of his customers, and whoever else
has entered and left his bookshop. And still we have nothing. Weeks of
surveillance and we are no closer to him than we were when we started!” Jonesy
“That’s why I am here, I am going to make
something happen” returned Blake confidently.
“And who exactly are you supposed to be?”
“I am Richard Roe, a dashing Edwardian man
of action. I am also a keen antiquarian, you’ve heard of the legend of the
“Isn’t that the pub down the road?” quipped
three crowns of
“In that disguise?” asked Hanson, doubting
Blake’s thinking but not ability.
“It will serve well enough, now this is how it works………”
Richard Roe strode out across the street
towards the bookshop, his cape billowing out behind him as he went. Hanson and
Jonesy had taken up their positions as instructed, if possible Nosmitz was to
be taken alive.
‘Ting a ling a ling’ sounded the shop bell
as Richard Roe entered taking off his top hat, closing the door behind him
‘ting a ling a ling.’
There were no customers in the shop, only rows
of book filled shelves and Mr Nosmitz himself standing upon a set of steps, as
he arranged books up on a higher shelf. Roe began to casually browse the books,
many of which were old and dusty, as was the bookshop itself, it reminded him
of something out of a film he had seen long ago, he couldn’t remember which
Mr Nosmitz saw the man browsing the books
and descended the steps “Can I be of service?”
“I wonder if you can, the three crowns of
“What about them? Are you are an
antiquarian, and you are interested in old legends?” the bookseller asked eyeing
the man closely, an antiquarian maybe, an eccentric certainly.
“It is amongst my interests certainly, along
with secret writings, codes, ciphers and that kind of thing. I became interested
in them when I was a boy” Richard Roe explained.
“A fascinating subject I’m sure. I think I
can help you with the Three crowns of
“And Incunabula I see” Richard Roe
observed, pointing to a number of books with the tip of his cane.
“Books printed up to the year fifteen
so” said the bookseller
“But come now, to return to my other
subject. Codes and ciphers are as old as history itself, are they not?”
“True, but I have little knowledge of
Richard Roe continued to browse the
shelves, but moving towards the door of the back room, which stood slightly
ajar. He hoped Jonesy and Hanson were in position, at which point he saw Jonesy
standing outside the shop window, gazing in at the display of books and dead
Mr Nosmitz also saw the man standing
outside the shop window and knew that something wasn’t quite right, there was
danger, he felt it in his bones.
‘Ting a ling a ling’
Jonsey entered the bookshop and closing the
door dropped the latch and turned the sign to ‘Closed’.
“I think I might have what you are looking
for in the back room, please feel free to browse while you are waiting” said
Nosmitz suddenly making for the door.
As Nosmitz turned he felt something touch
his shoulder, the hard point of something, it was the point of Roe’s walking
The flick of a concealed button, a whiff of
nerve gas and Nosmitz collapsed unconscious on the floor.
“An old trick Jonesy my boy, but an effective
one, wouldn’t you say?”
Richard Roe darted forward into the back
room where he found Hanson restraining one henchman, while the other lay out
for the count on the carpet.
“They left the window open, about to leave
they were, and without saying goodbye.”
“And just as the party was getting
started!” quipped Richard Roe.
back room was a computer and lap top, with code books, and files of gathered
Jonsey brought Nosmitz into the back room to join the party, the effects of the nerve gas starting to wear off.
“Phone up some transport Jonesy, a removal
van would be preferable” Richard Roe ordered.
“Clever aren’t you?” Nosmitz said.
began to go through the items upon the table. “Only slightly more so than you,
an old musty, dust ridden antiquarian bookshop as a cover. And yet here is the
Wonderful World-Wide Web, information gathered and despatched to customers the
world over, via your dark website, all in code of course. So that to the
unsuspecting, Antiquarian Books were nothing more than that” Blake said picking
up the lap-top from the desk.
“Antiquarian perhaps but certainly not
antiquated!” returned Nosmitz, staring back at him.
“Just my sense of the theatrical” Blake
Jonesy turned off his mobile “Transport
will be here in five minutes and there’s a message from your Colonel. He wants
to see you in his office.”
“He would, when is the appointed hour to
“An hour ago” grinned Jonesy.
Blake rested upon his cane for a moment in
deep thought and anticipation.
“Yes it would be, it’s always like that
with him. No doubt the balloon’s gone up somewhere, world shortage of ‘proper
biscuits’ no doubt!” Blake said removing his cape.
“Why don’t you go as you are?” smiled Jonesy.
“Think yourselves lucky that you’re only in
special branch. I might have a sense of the theatrical, but not so the Colonel
I can assure you. I’m obliged to you both, be seeing you.”
a ling a ling’ sounded the shop bell as the door closed behind the departing
London traffic had much improved since the introduction of traffic congestion charge, not quite the open road, but Silas Blake was enjoying driving his grey open topped left-hand drive
Blake turned the
fed a handful of change into the parking metre and made his way back up Charles Street to Whitehall. There into a grey grime encrusted building that he knew only all too well.