Unexpected Means (Soft Cover)
by Henry O'Keefe « View this author's BIO
Willy opened the knife inside his pocket and carefully touched his thumb to the blade as if to assure himself it was sharp enough. He realized his hands were trembling and he could feel beads of sweat trickling down the small of his back. His knees suddenly felt disjointed and it took a conscious effort to perform the simple task of putting one foot in front of the other.
Willy quickened his pace and closed the gap between them. The hunter had become the hunted. The man was dodging frantically from one side of the pavement to the other, periodically jumping in the air, like a Zulu tribesman in high savannah grass, trying to see over the heads of the people in front of him, searching for his lost quarry. Willy came up close behind him and withdrew the knife from its hiding place.
Without warning, a car roared up, bounced off the curb and nearly landed in the midst of the throng of pedestrians. The rear doors burst open and three men vaulted from the rear seat, grabbed Willy's nemesis and flung him into the back of the car.
One man turned to Willy and said, 'We'll take care of this Mr Mudskipper.'
Before Willy could utter a word, they all leapt back into the car and sped off. The indifferent crowd resumed its collective march. It all happened in less than ten seconds.
Willy was stunned by what had just taken place but when the intolerant hordes began to jostle him, he stepped into the doorway of a closed shop. His entire body was shaking and his breathing came fast and hard. He remained in the doorway trying to think until it suddenly struck him that he himself could be in danger. The man who was following him could have backup as well, people who just might attempt a reprisal. He pushed his way to the curb, ran into the roadway and jumped onto the rear seat of a motorbike stalled by the heavy traffic and driven by a very startled young man.
'Go man, go!' Willy screamed into his ear.
The bike shot forward so rapidly that the front wheel lifted into the air, nearly dumping Willy onto his backside on the road. Necks craned as the whine of the small engine reverberated off the surrounding buildings. They flew up the road, slewing from one side to the other. He wrapped his arms around the driver's waist and held on for dear life.
In 1924 MI6 is handed a gift. An expatriate Englishman born of Russian parents is working deep inside the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow. He is angered that the Communists have emerged from the 1917 Revolution as the ruling faction, virtually bringing his career to an end. He must do something to ensure the government's hold on power is not long lasting. He contacts the British and offers his services.
Agent Willy Mudskipper has been assigned the task of recruiting someone to act as a liaison between the mole and his handlers. Enter Sergei Koslov, a Russian sable breeder, who makes regular sales sorties to Europe and England. Sergei too is opposed to the Communist takeover and is anxious to assist in any effort to bring the Leninists down.
Dorothy Millington manages a fur shop in London's west end. She has dreamt of having a shop of her own since she first started in the fur business, but her ego and ambition get her into big trouble.
Willy arranges a surreptitious meeting with Dorothy. The plan is to beguile her and then play on her patriotism. MI6 needs a London furrier to receive shipments directly from Sergei's ranch. The shipments will be used to get information and various other items the mole has stolen, out of Russia. Willy unexpectedly becomes romantically involved with Dorothy.
Dorothy's guv, Moses Blackburn, and Sergei's foreman, Stanas Rocheski, are long lost cousins and unbeknownst to everyone, Stanas is already shipping pelts, he has stolen from Sergei, to Moses in London.
Dorothy, Sergei and Willy all go to France, and with the help of MI6, capture Stanas and Moses. Before they all leave France MI6 arrests Sergei for spying against England. We learn that Sergei and his family, have been threatened with being sent to Siberia if he doesn't agree to work as a double agent. When he is returned to England, he is overwhelmed with guilt and disgrace for having deceived Willy and for having given an entire underground cell up to the Communists, he commits suicide.
Sergei wills the money he has in England to Dorothy, hence the Unexpected Means with which to buy the fur shop.