Chapter Thirteen


Sleep is an impossibility, so I don't even try, and instead of returning to the Royal Munster to brood, I spend the night driving around London, listening to the radio, flicking between stations, humming along to corny ballads, listening with interest to people who phone in with their problems, love stories or tales of the city night.

In the early hours, I park close to a bagel shop on Brick Lane. I wolf down a salmon and cream-cheese bagel, then order another, which I munch slowly. When I've washed down the last of the crumbs with coffee, I make for the restroom and check my appearance in the mirror. A little wild about the eyes, but that's the only sign that all isn't well.

I return to the hotel, shower, bag my clothes for incineration and pull on fresh jeans, a shirt and a sweater. It's too early to hit Heathrow, so I sit on the end of the bed and flick through a magazine. But the words mean nothing. My thoughts return to the Turk's room, how he collapsed when I killed him, the last look on his face, how the gun kicked in my hand.

I catch the Tube to the airport in the morning rush. It's full of surly commuters. A pregnant woman boards at Acton Town. Nobody offers her a seat. I want to give her mine but I dare not do anything that might attract attention.

Axel Nelke's car is even colder than before. I get in and stick the gun under the seat. I take the keys and lock the door this time when I leave, so if I have to break in a few weeks from now, I won't be smashing the window of an unlocked vehicle.

Back in central London, I go for a stroll by the Thames and find a quiet spot on a bridge, where I drop the car keys and my gloves into the river. The true and final end of the unfortunate Axel Nelke. After that I head to the Royal Munster and bed.

The murder of Mikis Menderes is major news. He was well known to the media, and they pick over his bones with predictable zeal. I ignore the hoopla, not bothering with the newspaper articles, catching only a couple of items on TV. The police have no firm suspects but are 'pursuing definite lines of enquiry', which means they haven't a clue who killed him. No sign of Andeanna, which is good, although there are clips of a pale-faced Greygo pushing through the hordes of reporters outside their house and blanking questions.

I'm tempted to call Andeanna, to check that she's OK. But it's best to let sleeping dogs lie and look ahead to Paris. It will be months before she can slip away and be with me. I'll have to get used to the loneliness.

I've made arrangements to check out of the hotel on Tuesday. I plan to work on Spirit of the Fire in Paris. I call Jonathan to inform him of my change of address. He's alarmed when I tell him I haven't started writing, but relaxes when I state my intention to complete the book within a few months.

Monday passes with surprising speed. I'm so busy packing clothes, organizing my notes and checking my travel plans that before I know it I'm undressing for bed and falling asleep to dream of Paris, Andeanna and our new life together.

Hotel account paid in full. Bags in order. Nothing left in the room. Train ticket tucked securely into my money belt, along with my passport and credit cards. A spare pair of socks and a toothbrush in my travel bag in case I get delayed. A book. A map of Paris. The name and address of my new hotel.


I'm catching the Eurostar from St Pancras. Rather than drag all three of my bags with me, I send the pair filled with notes and books as registered baggage  -  they'll follow on after I've travelled, which means another trip to the train station in Paris to collect them, but I'm going to have plenty of time on my hands over there, so I don't mind.

Before checking in and passing through security, I stroll around the shops, but nothing catches my interest. There's still almost an hour before I board  -  not having been on the Eurostar before, I allowed plenty of time. To distract myself, I buy a newspaper and scan it while sipping a cup of coffee. The front page reveals some kind of royal scoop and the next six are devoted to the same story. Bored, I flick ahead. A few pages further on, I find an article devoted to the Mikis Menderes murder.

It's trashily written, but that's what I'm in the mood for. Having skimmed the first couple of lurid paragraphs, I settle back, intending to take my time chuckling wryly through the rest of it. But something has unsettled me. It's one of the pictures, a black-and-white photo of the Turk and Andeanna. They're seated at a large table, smiling for the camera. The Turk holds a fat cigar. Andeanna is sporting a tiara, which has slipped slightly.

Why am I disturbed by the photo? There's nothing glaringly unusual about it. The Turk looks smug, as he did in most photos that he posed for. Andeanna is smiling in a sad way, which was often the case. It's only when I read the caption that I focus in on what I'd subconsciously clocked first time round. It says simply, Mikis Menderes and his late wife.

I blink dumbly and read it again, then a third time.


Hands trembling, I speed through the rest of the article until I find it, eight paragraphs down.

While it's hard to muster any sympathy for Mikis Menderes, he does seem to have genuinely suffered when his young wife perished in a car crash. His beautiful bride burnt to death and the grief-stricken gangster vowed never to remarry. True to his word, he never took another wife, although he has been linked with many glamorous women over the years.

I read the sickening paragraph again and again, unable to tear my eyes away. My train is called, but I don't respond. I'm rooted to the chair, the paper glued to my hands, eyes sliding from the photo to the words to the photo to the words to . . .

More calls for my train, but I pay them no heed. I'm off in a world of my own. A world of love and promises. Of Andeanna and the Turk. Of contradictory truths and looming madness. A world of shades.

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