Background to Danger

Background to Danger Read Online Free PDF Page A

Book: Background to Danger Read Online Free PDF
Author: Eric Ambler
lit a large pipe and then put it down.
    “It’s no use, Tamara,” he said, irritably, “I cannot—I will not smoke a pipe. It makes me sick.”
    “It is better than those interminable cigarettes. You must try.”
    Zaleshoff picked up the pipe impatiently, but he merely tapped the stem against his strong white teeth. His attention seemed suddenly to have wandered. The girl watched him for a minute.
    “Just how serious is this affair, Andreas?” she said at last.
    For a moment she thought he had not heard her. Then he shrugged.
    “Nobody quite knows—yet. You see the difficulty, Tamara? Borovansky only took photographs of the stuff and it might be put about that they are forgeries. But we have so little to work on. If we knew even who was paying him, we could move. You see. those B2 instructions aren’t justordinary military information. If it were gunnery reports, or fortification details, it would probably find its way to the bureau at Brussels and we should know where we stood. But it isn’t. I feel in my bones that there is a political end to this business, and I don’t like it. If Borovansky wanted something to sell there are so many more marketable things he might and could have stolen. Why, Tamara, must he photograph these specific instructions? Why? That is what I ask.”
    “Either because he hadn’t time to get anything else or because someone had offered him money for them.”
    “Exactly! Now, if he was merely going to steal and photograph anything of value he could find, he would realise that the B2 papers were, for his purpose, valueless. Would he risk his life getting away with something that he knew to have no market value? No; someone wanted the B2 stuff and Borovansky is being paid to get it. The worst of it is that nothing can be done to stop him until he gets into Austria. Berlin wants an excuse for another anti-Soviet drive and we don’t want to provide it. We must hope that he does not deliver the goods before he leaves Germany.”
    “Why in Heaven’s name wasn’t he stopped before he could leave Soviet territory?”
    “They didn’t know anything was wrong. Borovansky was acting as liaison between Moscow and our people in Riga. If the man who took the photographs hadn’t grown suspicious and made up his mind to tell the police about it, we should probably still be in the dark. Borovansky was a fool, too. He might have remained unsuspected for several extra days if he’d had the sense to report at Riga before he made for Germany.”
    “Still, it’s no affair of ours.”
    “No, I suppose not.”
    But he still looked thoughtful. Suddenly he rose abruptly, walked to a cupboard in a corner of the room, took a bulkyfile from it and started turning the pages absently.
    “A report came in from the Basel agent this afternoon,” said Tamara. “He says that the British agent has moved. The Englishman used to work from an office in the Badenstrasse. It was called the Swiss Central Import Company. Now he’s gone to the Koenig Gustavus Platz and is working from the apartment of a dentist named Bouchard. It’s a very good idea. You can’t keep a check on everyone who visits a dentist.”
    Zaleshoff, immersed in the file, grunted.
    “Oh, and the Geneva agents reported this morning that it’s not Skoda, but Nordenfelt who did the bribing over that new Italian order for howitzers; and they’re going to ship from Hamburg to Genoa,” Tamara went on. “He also reports that one of the South American League delegates is visiting a woman calling herself Madame Fleury. He says that she is actually a Hungarian named Putti and that she worked for Bulgaria in nineteen-sixteen. He doesn’t say who she’s working for now, and anyway I don’t see how he expects us to keep track of all these South American peccadillos.”
    Her brother went on reading.
    “There’s one rather interesting thing in his report. He says that the British, the Germans and the Italians met at a small hotel across the lake
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