LONDON ALERT

LONDON ALERT by Christopher Bartlett Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: LONDON ALERT by Christopher Bartlett Read Free Book Online
Authors: Christopher Bartlett
woman that cost him a
fortune in child maintenance. Holt smiled to himself, thinking that unlike
Becker he was beingsoftened up. Unfortunately,
all the secrecy meant it was a joke he would never be able to tell. It was only
much later that Holt learnt that Becker’s tryst had been in a stairwell and not
a broom cupboard.
    As if that were not
enough, Cut-Glass soon returned to soften him up even further with yet another of
her put-downs.
     ‘A VIP was here. It
was better they were not seen by commoners.’
    Deflated, he allowed
her to lead him back to the door to which they had earlier been refused entry.
The man in the dark suit was this time seated inside at a desk at right angles
to another door.
    ‘Go straight on in,’ he
said with a nod.
    Cut-Glass nevertheless
gave a quick knock to announce their entry and introduced Holt to a tall, wiry man
standing beside a large desk.
    ‘Sir Charles, this is
Jeremy Holt.’
    ‘Ah yes. Good. Bring
him in.’
    ‘We had to paaark him in the boxroom until X
vacated the building.’
    ‘Thank you, Sandra.’
    ‘Cut-Glass withdrew
discreetly, leaving him in the presence of the person she had called Sir
Charles, who had the style and class – not to mention the cool steeliness – of
those who rise to the top of the civil service and judiciary. He seemed to be quizzically
sizing Holt up.
    ‘Holt. Not a bad name. Short,
like Bond, but are you aware that Holt was the name of an attractive boy
associated with the notorious Kray twins, who terrorized East London? The boy –
or rather, young man – used to visit the late Lord Boothby’s flat in Eaton
Square, offering sexual services. There were security implications, as a
certain Tom Driberg was associating with them. He almost certainly passed on
information to the Russians.’
    ‘No, I didn’t know that.
There must be some good Holts.’
    ‘You’re right. I believe
the sportswriter for one of our popular daily papers is called Holt. He writes
well, by the way, so do not let the Kray association get you down.’
    ‘I’ll google my name
when I get back home…’
    ‘Do that. One day you
yourself may come up in a search, though in our business we prefer it not to
come up at all, unless it is a cover role, such as a second secretary at an
embassy.’
    ‘Yes…but…’
    ‘You must be wondering
what this is all about, though you must have some inkling, in view of the
questions the major posed, to which, by the way, you furnished highly
satisfactory answers.’
    ‘I hope I did not give
the impression that I was a potential terrorist.’
    ‘If you were, you would
not have been so outspoken.’
    Holt merely nodded. He
wanted to avoid making some trite remark that would lower him in the great man’s
esteem.
    ‘Sorry for having to confine
you in the boxroom. My PA can be somewhat daunting on first acquaintance, but I
can assure you she is quite accommodating underneath – that is, when you get to
know her properly.’
    Not sure how to take
that remark and wondering whether he was still being tested, Holt chose the safe
middle ground.
    ‘I doubt whether I shall
ever have the pleasure of finding out what’s underneath.’
    The astute answer apparently
reassured Sir Charles that he was dealing with someone with his wits about him,
for he immediately got down to business.
    ‘Ever since 7/7 we have
tried to find ways to prevent such events from reoccurring in Britain, and
particularly here in London. We have used the services of various expensive
consultants in addition to our own people at Five, which is what we call MI5, and
at Six – that’s MI6 – Special Branch, and in the other departments, but we still
feel vulnerable. One well-known consultant maintains we will always be behind
the curve, as we are always reacting to the last incident.’
    ‘I can see that,’
interjected Holt inanely. He had to at least say something.
    ‘After 9/11, the accent
was on flying schools. After the shoe-bomber incident, everyone was

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