Chapter 13

It was Kazzie who told him. She'd been down to the town and shouted up to his room when she got back. He flew downstairs half expecting bad news. 'I'm really sorry,' she said. 'It's not easy to say this, but Jim Wilson's dead.' Dan could hardly take it in. 'Everyone's talking about it,' she went on. And then she paused and added more quietly. 'He shot himself, using a rifle old Picard had left on the premises. They found him by the well. There's the usual daft gossip. Someone said he had a sister South West of here and she went completely mad too. That's probably rubbish.' Dan decided not to comment on the rumour, but told Kazzie about Jim throwing the gun in the river, adding that Celia had said how happy he was, at least in some ways. He certainly hadn't seemed suicidal to her. Kazzie went white. There was no need to say what they were both thinking. Someone investigates Didier and ends up dead. 'Look, you can go home of you like. No-one will blame you', she said. Dan shook his head. He was even more determined to find Ollie now.

'Oh, and I found this hanging on the handle of the front door,' Kazzie said at length. There was a polythene bag on the table. Dan looked inside. There was a bundle of papers, in the middle of which was Ollie's notebook. 'It's from Celia,' he said. He went through them. They seemed to be in some sort of code. It was all unfathomable until he came across one page that said "Eureka" in large letters at the top. Dan read aloud. 'It's just the alphabet backwards,' Jim had written. 'A becomes Z, B becomes Y and so on. "Hello" is svool.' They glanced at the notebook. There certainly were a lot of V's in it. Jim had more patience than I have thought Dan, as he looked at the pages of rough notes. He longed to contact Celia, but of course it wasn't safe to do that.

In the end the code turned out to be fairly useful, if perhaps a little disappointing. Once he got the hang of it Dan deciphered Ollie's notes quite quickly. Almost all the diary entries read, 'Nothing of interest'. Or sometimes, 'Full Council meeting. Nothing relevant.' Having worked his way through the book Dan had only one idea in mind. He needed to get rid of this information somehow. It would be very dangerous for Ollie if someone found this information on the computer. Any attempt to incriminate Didier however unsuccessful would be extremely unwelcome. Dan couldn't think what to do. Maybe he could try to find an expert who could remove all traces of spying, but that might not be easy, and anyway you never knew who you could trust. He rang Philippe. 'We'll take an axe to the computer'. Phil was decisive. 'I'll meet you at the hut,' 'Have you got an axe?' asked Dan. 'We've got about fifteen. We own a hardware shop. Remember?'

They carried the computer out into the clearing and took it in turns to attack it with the axe. Dan had noticed before how therapeutic destruction could be. They put the pieces in a large black bag and left them in the corner of the hut. Clearing up was a job for later. Okay, that was the easy bit, thought Dan. Now there was the small matter of breaking in to Didier's office and planting a phone bug. Not exactly all in a day's work.

He had set the alarm for 3.30am. He forced himself to get out of bed and get dressed. He envied those millions of people whose rest was undisturbed. Phil's instructions proved accurate and he found himself halfway along a wide road. There was no street lighting, but he had brought a torch and he managed to pick his way along the uneven surface. There was a wall on his left and to the right a high fence. Soon he came to a building and stopped. He could see a window about seven feet from the ground. There was a drainpipe as Phil had said, but Dan was not sure if he could shin his way up. He saw a dustbin nearby and pulled it over, making as little noise as possible. He climbed on to it and managed somehow to open the window and crawl through. Luckily on the other side there was what seemed to be a draining board and he landed on that. He must be in some sort of kitchen, he realized. He opened a door which led to a fair sized room. There was a desk in the corner with a phone on it. Dan quickly unscrewed the base and put in the device, making sure to secure it carefully afterwards. Not an easy thing to do by torchlight, but he succeeded somehow. He went quickly back the way he'd come, shutting the door behind him. That was when he heard a noise. It sounded like a footstep. He stood still and listened. Yes, there was definitely someone in the building with him. He curled himself up into a ball and sat leaning against the wall. He was stiff with fright. He could hear men's voices, or possible one voice. It soon became clear that the person, whoever it was, was on the phone. Dan tried his hardest to work out what was being said. 'The police don't suspect a thing', the man was saying. It really did sound like Didier's slightly nasal voice. 'Thanks', he went on. And the said what seemed to be, 'Good work.' He also heard the name Warrender. This was surely evidence that Didier had ordered Jim's murder. Fantastic! But then to his horror he thought he heard the word "Grog". "Grog", he knew was rum with sugar and hot water. That meant that whoever was out there would be coming in soon to use the stove. But maybe he hadn't said "Grog". He'd probably jut go away. People didn't usually drop round at a friend's for a little chat at four in the morning did they? And in any case he wasn't even sure it was the ruthless Didier who was out there. There was no point being pessimistic. Negativity never helped anyone. As long as he kept very still everything would be fine. Wouldn't it?

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