Thursday, March 26, 2020

Foreign Service, a James Bond Story

A few years ago the copyright on Ian Fleming's James Bond ran out in Canada and a publisher here announced an anthology of short stories featuring Bond. I wrote one but it wasn't included (weird, I know).

So, I figured I'd post it here.

My story takes place just after the Ian Fleming short story, FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, in which James Bond flies to Montreal, drives to Ottawa, meets a mountie, sneaks into the USA and kills a Nazi. It's quite a good story and you can read it here:

So, picking up from the last line of that story, here's FOREIGN SERVICE:

 Bond picked up the tail as he passed through Pike River on route 7 heading north towards Montreal. A 1953 Chev, looking old and tired but Bond could tell by the sound it made that the motor was finely tuned and powerful. The tail was good, dropping out of sight for long periods and never getting too close.
Behind the wheel of his rented Plymouth Bond turned to the girl in the passenger seat and said, “How’s the shoulder?”
The girl, Judy Havelock, touched the bandage and smiled. “I’d forgotten all about it.”
“It’s a nasty wound.”
“It was nasty business.”
“Yes,” Bond agreed. It had been a nasty business just across the American border in Vermont. He’d flown from London to Montreal on the new BOAC Comet and driven to Ottawa where he’d met with an RCMP officer who’d already been briefed on the assignment. The off-the-record, personal assignment. An ex-Nazi looking to get out of Cuba before Castro ran him out had murdered a man and woman who had refused to sell him their Jamaican estate. M had been the best man at their wedding and he’d given Bond a file marked, “For Your Eyes Only,” with some details and the RCMP had finished the briefing and fitted him out with a new Savage 99F, Weatherby 6 x 62, five-shot repeater with twenty rounds of high-velocity .250-3,000. Bond had used eight rounds to kill the three Cuban bodyguards.
In the mountains of Vermont Bond discovered Judy Havelock with a bow and arrow. She was quite good and very determined.
And she was the daughter of the couple killed in Jamaica. She killed the Nazi with a single arrow.
Bond said, “Hold on,” and swerved the car sharply, turning off the main road and then sharply again, coming to a stop between a two hundred year old stone church and a small graveyard.
“James, what are you doing?”
“Making a confession.” He motioned slightly to the side door of the church where a priest was just going in.
“What? Where are we?”
“Saint-Sébastien. Looks like a charming little town, I imagine they’ll have some very good charcuterie. Fancy a picnic?”
“Well, I am a little hungry.”
Bond got out the car and said, “Wait here.” He walked a few steps to the church and stood in the shade under large maple tree.
A minute later the Chev came slowly prowling down the street and stopped in front the Plymouth. A clean-cut young man got out and walked towards Judy.
Bond stepped up behind him and said, “Are you looking for me?”
The young man turned around quickly and saw the Walther PPK in Bond’s hand.
“Oh, no, sir, Commander, you’ve got it wrong,” the young man said. “I’m your escort.”
Bond didn’t lower the Walther. “You are?”
“Yes, sir, Colonel… Johns sent me. I escorted you to the border and picked you up on the way back.”
“Is that so?” Bond was impressed the young man managed to stay undiscovered on the first leg of the journey, but of course, following the route Johns had devised for Bond gave him an advantage.
“Colonel Johns was hoping that maybe he could have a word with you. When you get back to Montreal.”
“How’s tomorrow,” Bond said.
“Fine. Colonel Johns can call you at the Ko-Zee motel?”
“He may have to leave a message with Andre at desk,” Bond said.
“It’s less than an hour from here, sir.”
“I may take the scenic route.”
The young man nodded. “Yes, sir.”
“All right then, on your way.”
Bond watched the young man run back to his Chev, get in and head back to the main road.
Judy was leaning out the window then and she said, “Do you know where this scenic route is?”
Getting into the car Bond said, “I think I can find it.”

The next morning Bond put Judy on a plane to London once he’d gotten a firm promise from her to call her ‘uncle’ M and fill him in on everything that had happened in Vermont.
Judy said, “Should I tell him what happened in Montreal?”
“What happened in Montreal?”
“Oh, James.” Judy was still smiling as Bond drove off.
He headed west taking the same route he’d taken to Ottawa only a couple of days before but this time he turned off the highway only a few miles from the airport and pulled into the parking lot of the Royal Montreal Golf and Country Club.
The club house was a large, stone building built to look stodgily important and to withstand the long hard winters. There was a veranda around the front and healthy-looking, casually-dressed women sat drinking coffee and eating sandwiches.
Bond parked his rented Plymouth and walked to the pro shop where Colonel Johns was waiting, talking with an older man Bond took to be the resident professional.
Johns saw him and said, “Ah, Mr. James,” careful not to use a rank of any kind. “No trouble finding the place?”
“None at all,” Bond said. “Nice to have a destination with a street address.”
Johns smiled a little and said, “Of course.” Then he turned to the man he was standing beside and said, “Mr. James, this is Mr. Blake, the professional here at the Royal Montreal. He’ll be happy to get you fitted out for the round, any special requirements?”
“None at all.”
Blake held out his hand and said, “Gareth here can take you through to the locker room.”
Bond said, “Right then, I’ll see you on the first tee in a few minutes.”
It was a clear, crisp fall day and the course was in excellent condition. Colonel Johns was a solid, if cautious golfer, preferring to lay up on approaches when Bond would try for the green. More often than not, though, there was no bite and Bond’s Penfield Hearts would roll off to the fringe.
Johns never offered advice about his home course but he did enjoy telling Bond a little of the history of the place, how it had started out at a different location, on Fletcher’s Field on the side of Mount Royal and it was at that location in 1884 that permission was granted by Queen Victoria herself for use of the “Royal” prefix.
Bond found it almost quaint the way these colonists clung to the empire, possibly more so than the English did themselves these days but there was something a little noble in it and Bond was appropriately appreciative.
When they finished the round and shook hands on the eighteenth green, Bond squeaking out a two shot victory, Johns said, “Perhaps I could buy you dinner?” He motioned to the clubhouse and Bond said, “Alberta steaks?”
Johns smiled and said, “And New Brunswick lobster, if you like.”
Bond said, “Excellent.” He was wondering when Johns would get to the point of the meeting and expected he’d have to wait until after dinner when they were finally in front of the fireplace drinking port, but the Canadian surprised him after the Caesar salads, saying “I’m pleased that your trip has gone well.”
“So am I.”
“And I hope you’re enjoying your time in Canada.”
“Most pleasant,” Bond said.
The waiter arrived at the table with the steaks. Neither Johns nor Bond had requested lobster.
Johns said, “I have a somewhat delicate matter and I wonder if I could impose on you for some advice.”
“I would suggest a little less of that HP sauce,” Bond said.
“Oh, yes, thank you. Guess I was a little distracted.”
Bond took a bite of his steak and said, “This is most excellent.”
“They do a roast beef here on Sunday that’s also excellent, Yorkshire pudding, delicious gravy, really quite good.”
Bond smiled and hoped it wasn’t too patronizing.
“The thing is,” Johns said, “I have a very small matter that needs a quick looking into.”
“But none of your men are available?” Bond said.
Johns looked pleased and said, “Yes, that’s right, not available.”
“Has your commissioner contacted M?”
“To be completely frank,” Johns said. “In this matter I would prefer not to involve my commissioner. At this point.”
Bond continued to eat his New York cut, which was excellent, as he considered the request. The RCMP commissioner had been very helpful when M had contacted him with his off-the-record request and Colonel Johns and been very helpful, getting Bond the Weatherby, and as it turned out, an escort to the American border and back. But this was a surprise.
“This is a delicate matter.”
“I hope it’s nothing, of course,” Johns said. “It’s just, I was talking to our American cousins and something was mentioned and now you’re here so I thought maybe a quick look around would put it to bed and no official action need be taken.”
“So it’s an internal matter?”
Johns drank more of his red wine and said, “If it’s a matter at all. I’m sure you’re familiar with the Gouzenko affair?”
“Thirteen years ago,” Bond said, “as the war was ending, Igor Gouzenko, a cipher clerk with the Soviet embassy in Ottawa defected.”
“And brought a hundred and nine documents, as all the papers helpfully pointed out.”
“I suppose he’s a big reason we all have the jobs we have,” Bond said. “Gouzenko showed the world how active Stalin was in counter-intelligence.”
“And the Soviets no less so now.”
“I think I understand your situation,” Bond said. “Have you got a starting point?”
Relief swept over Johns and he actually smiled. “I do. A woman.”
“You don’t say.”

Bond had moved from the Ko-Zee motel on the south shore to a room in the Laurentian Hotel overlooking Dominion Square. In America Bond preferred to stay in motels but Montreal had an old world feel and although the Laurentian was nearly new and a modern design of flat steel and glass without balconies or windows that opened it was in the heart of the city.
And the Laurentian Hotel contained the Kiltie Pub, which James Bond entered after a room service dinner of a surprisingly good cassoulet. He sat down in one of the chairs made out of a barrel and got out his cigarettes.
The blonde woman already at the table said, “Excuse me, I am waiting for someone.”
“And who might you be waiting for, Olga?”
“I’m afraid you’ve mistaken me for someone else.”
“You’re not Olga Schmidt?”
She looked at Bond in his old black and white hound’s-tooth tweed suit and white shirt and thin black tie and said, “No, I’m sorry, I’m not..” Her accent was a mix of German and Russian.
Bond said, “You’re not still using Gerda Hessler, are you?”
Her eyes narrowed. “Who are you?”
“My name is Bond. James Bond.”
“Well, Mr. Bond, whoever you think I am, you’re mistaken.”
“Am I? Who are you, then?”
“You’re not a policeman,” she said, “why is it any of your business?”
“Why would the fact that your name is Gerta Munsinger be of interest to a policeman?”
She was looking around the bar, at the businessmen and their secretaries out for drinks before they went home to wives and roommates or before they did things they might regret.
The woman sitting across the table from James Bond said, “I’m going to have to call hotel security.”
“And tell them what? That you’re a prostitute and your client is running late?”
She leaned forward and whispered through gritted teeth, “You have no idea who you’re dealing with.”
Bond stood up and said, “No, I suppose I don’t.” He started to walk away and added, “Have a wonderful evening, Miss, whatever you’re calling yourself tonight.”
Outside on Peel Street Bond watched a streetcar pass, the steel wheels grinding on the track, and he stopped to light a cigarette. Then he crossed the streets and walked into Dominion Square. It was dark already in the early fall evening and the air was cool.
Bond stopped at the base of a statue and looked up past the six-foot concrete base to the greenish figure of a man, arms crossed, looking into the distance.
“It’s a reproduction of the one in Ayr, near his birthplace.”
Bond didn’t take his eyes off the statue. “What’s he looking at?”
“He’s looking to the west,” the young man said. “To the infinite expanse of western Canada that was opened up by the Scotsmen who financed the railways.”
“So he’s not looking into the hotel?”
The young man said, “No, sir.”
Bond turned now and said, “Still my escort, are you?”
“Colonel Johns said you wanted to see me.”
“Yes,” Bond said. “I’m going to go back across the street and into that bar and have a Canadian Whiskey. I would like you to come and tell me when Miss Munsinger leaves the hotel.”
“She hasn’t left yet?”
“I expect her client has paid for the full hour.”
The young mountie looked a little flushed and said, “Oh, yes, of course.”
“Go on,” Bond said, “get on your horse,” and he added, “so to speak.”
“Right sir.” The young man dodged a streetcar and ran to the hotel.
Bond looked back at Robbie Burns and said, “Keep an eye on him, will you?” Then he walked slowly past the Sun Life building, once so proudly the largest building in the British Empire, and went into the Rymark Tavern.
Johns had told Bond about Gerta Munsinger, about how she had come to Canada from East Germany three years previously after trying unsuccessfully to get into the United States. In that short time she’d already managed to acquire two members of the federal cabinet as clients. Colonel Johns had begun an investigation but after a few months it was called off by his superiors when no evidence could be found that Munsinger was anything more than a prostitute.
In the Rymark Bond had a Canadian whiskey and decided he liked Montreal in the fall. The days were getting shorter and there was no doubt the cold was coming but he city seemed determined not to give in to the winter. The bar was crowded and the mood was light.
Bond had told Johns he could give him a couple of days if he wasn’t called back to London right away and that shortened time frame was why he spooked Munsinger. He wanted to see where she jumped.
Almost exactly an hour and ten minutes after Bond had left the Laurentian Hotel his young escort walked into the Rymark and said, “She got into a taxi. My partner followed. She’s at another bar in another hotel.”
“She’s busy.”
“No sir, she’s with a woman.”
Bond didn’t want to tell the young man that stranger things can happen in the world so he just said, “Which hotel?”
“The Mount Royal sir. Just a few blocks. We can take my car.”
Fifteen minutes later Bond walked through the faux-Polynesian archway into the Kon Tiki restaurant and bar and found a seat at a table tucked away behind a faux-palm tree in corner by the faux-bamboo pillars.
He had a clear look at Gerda Munsinger in a booth against the far wall and it only took a moment to see that she wasn’t meeting a client – male or female. She was distressed. She was looking for help.
As for the woman Munsinger was seeking help from, Bond could only see the back of her head, her blonde hair falling to her shoulders and the hand in which she held her cigarette.
Before Bond finished his first Mai Tai Munsinger was settled down and looking a little at ease and a few minutes later she stood up and walked out of the Kon Tiki. No hug, not even a handshake.
A business relationship.
Bond watched the blonde order another drink and as the waiter made his to the bar Bond motioned to him.
“Yes sir?”
“I’ll pay for the lady’s drink.”
“Very good, sir.”
Bond got out his cigarettes and lighter and watched the waiter take a lowball glass to the blonde. She accepted the drink and then surprised by Bond by standing up and walking towards him.
She said, “Mr. Bond, you upset Gerda.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Bond said. “But Gerda has a lot of people worried. Please, join me?”
The blonde sat down and said, “Thank you.”
“You have me at a disadvantage,” Bond said. “I don’t know your name.”
She put her drink down on the table and held out her hand. “Helen Dow.”
“You’re not an associate of Miss Munsinger?”
“Oh no,” Helen said, trying to appear shocked at the very suggestion but not doing a very good job of it. “We’re just old friends.” She sipped her drink and said, “And what is your interest in Miss Munsinger? You’re not a police officer, you’re not even a local.”
“My concern is of a professional nature,” Bond said. “And since you’re not a business associate I don’t see how it would concern you.”
Helen laughed a little and Bond began to feel that she was older than he’d first thought, more late than early thirties.
She said, “I hardly think you’re in the same business as Gerda.”
“Some of my associates may be coming to Canada,” Bond said, “and they may want to do some business with someone like Miss Munsinger.”
The smile faded from Helen’s face and she looked serious. She said, “So, you’re the advance man, what are your concerns?”
“The usual. Discretion, professionalism.” He drank some of his mai tai. “Experience.”
“Then I think you’ll find Miss Munsinger and her associates will be ideal for your associates.” She held up her glass in a toast and Bond did the same.
There were lies upon lies being told and accepted, which was Bond’s professional, after all, but he wondered what this Helen’s profession really was. Was the secret she was hiding simply that she was a madam? It was possible, of course. For the moment Bond decided to accept that and see if there was a reason to suspect more over the course of the evening.
They chatted for a while about Montreal, how the winter would be cold, of course, but here would be excellent skiing in the Laurentian mountains and the nightlife in Montreal would not be deterred.
“In fact,” Helen said, “I hear the young man singing at the El Morocco tonight is very good, a Mr. Tony Bennett.”
Bond said, “Perhaps some investigation is in order?” and looked closely at Helen’s reaction. He was sure he saw something.
The night club was on Closse Street, across from the Forum which was filled with fifteen thousand people at a professional wrestling match. Many of those fans came into the El Morocco when the match was finished and Helen squeezed up to Bond and said, “It’s too crowded.” She took his hand and led him outside and into a cab.
Helen’s apartment wasn’t far, a few blocks east and just north of Sherbrooke, a main street through downtown lined with big old houses that had been converted into office buildings with boutiques on the ground floor.
Bond had no doubt Helen would be discrete, professional and experienced. And he was right. But he didn’t get the sense that Helen had worked her way up in the profession. His knowledge and understanding of prostitutes was a little more than professional, it was with a Parisian prostitute that Bond had first been with a woman when he was a teenager. It hadn’t gone well. Over the years Bond’s work took him into many situations where he dealt with prostitutes and he had become much more sympathetic towards the women personally. In fact, he saw many similarities in their professions, more than just pretending to be someone you’re not and keeping secrets.
And that’s why he was even more suspicious of Helen. He knew, of course, that she was taking him to bed as a professional courtesy but he had a nagging suspicion that there was more to it than just looking for business for herself and her associates. He couldn’t help but think she was overselling it.
When Helen fell asleep Bond got out of bed and pulled on his trousers. The apartment was on the ground floor of a three-story red brick building, a row of apartment buildings lining Mountain Street and the base of Mount Royal. Bond went into the small bathroom and looked through Helen’s toiletries, finding the usual make-up and headache pills, hairspray and what the advertising business was now calling ‘feminine hygiene products,’ but no prescription medication. There was a small window in the bathroom, not big enough to for a person to fit through, and besides, it led to an enclosed shaft.
The kitchenette was clean and neat and the living room looked like a picture in a magazine. Like a picture in one of the magazines spread out on the end table by the couch. Bond picked up a magazine looking for the subscriber mail tag but didn’t see one. He felt the apartment was certainly lived in, but nothing in it was personal. He walked quietly back into the bedroom and saw Helen still sleeping. He went to the closet and looked through the clothes. There was more than one size of dresses in similar styles. He looked down at the shoes and boots and again, there were at least three different sizes but similar sizes.
It felt like a safe house. A place that might be used by any agent of MI6 who was in town. Another similarity between the two professions.
Turning to leave Bond’s foot caught on something on the floor of the closet. A metal loop like a handle on a steamer trunk. He bent down and moved the shoes and boots aside.
He held the latch and pulled it up, opening it like the hatch on a submarine.
“Well, well, what have we here?”
Bond climbed down the ladder. At the bottom was a narrow hallway. A long one. It went for about twenty feet and then made a turn. Bond walked slowly. There was light but it was dim. After the turn was a longer, straight section and then another turn.
And then another ladder.
The hatch at the top of the ladder was locked.
Bond counted his steps back through the tunnel, making a note of where the turns came and at what approximate angle. He climbed the ladder back into Helen’s apartment, got dressed silently and slipped out the front door.
Across Mountain Street Bond saw buildings belonging to McGill University. He remembered a man from naval intelligence who’d gone to McGill and told stories about a camp in Canada during the war, a place where espionage was practiced. No one believed the man that such things happened in Canada.
Bond walked down Mountain Street to Sherbrook and turned right. On Sherbrooke he passed the Museum of Fine Arts and then turned right onto the next street. The sun was just coming up and the city was still asleep. The streets were empty.
Halfway up the block, almost the same distance up as Helen’s apartment, Bond stopped in front of a black iron fence. Behind the fence was a fairly large, three-story sandstone building. On the gate was a gold plaque with the letters CCCP across the top.
And under those letters were the words: Consulate of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
Bond said, “Oh Helen, how could you.”
He walked back to Sherbrooke Street and figured he was about a dozen blocks from the Laurentian Hotel. There was a little traffic but so early in the morning he didn’t see any taxis so Bond decided to walk. As he passed the Ritz Carleton Hotel he was thinking that he would wait a couple of hours and then call Colonel Johns in Ottawa and let him know that Gerda Munsinger was indeed a Soviet spy. Johns could certainly take it from there.
As he turned onto Peel Street Bond saw a green delivery truck from a bakery, POM – Pride of Montreal, stopped in the curb lane. Immediately he turned around and headed back towards Sherbrooke.
But there was a man walking towards him with a gun in his hand who said, “Get in the truck, Mr. Bond.”
“You should have put some bread in there,” Bond said. “Something to at least give it the smell of a bakery truck.”
“Get in.”
The back door of the truck was open and another man was standing beside it holding another gun.
Bond climbed into the truck and said, “A croissant would be nice.”
The door slammed and the truck drove off.
It was dark and empty. If the truck had ever been used for bakery deliveries it was a long time ago and it had been thoroughly cleaned. More likely, Bond figured, there were so many green POM trucks on the streets of Montreal this one could be driven around without ever drawing suspicion.
For a few miles Bond concentrated on the speed and turns of the truck so he could later determine the route, but after a few dozen stops and starts and even more turns he stopped keeping track. All he knew for sure was that they were no longer on the island of Montreal as they had driven over the metal grates that had been added to the old railroad Victoria Bridge for automobile traffic.
After that Bond sat down on the floor of the truck and worked on keeping himself from being thrown into the walls as they careened around corners and stopped too suddenly. He felt they’d been driving for about forty minutes when the truck slowed down to a crawl and he heard voices speaking Russian in the cab. Then the truck stopped, someone got out and a minute later the truck drove for another twenty or thirty feet and stopped.
Probably drove into a barn, Bond figured, and when the back door of the truck opened he realized he was wrong.
They were in a small airplane hangar.
Bond said, “Thoughtful of you, gentlemen, but I don’t mind flying commercial. I know I complained about the new Comet, but I don’t think your crop dusters here will make it across the Atlantic.”
One of the Russians had a gun in his hand and he said, “Get out.”
Bond climbed down from the bakery truck and looked around the hangar. There were two small planes, Cessna 172 Skyhawks, and a couple of other trucks, both with New York state license plates. Now Bond was thinking that they likely took the same route south that he had taken himself only days earlier. It made complete sense to him that the Soviets would use Montreal as a base of operations where they could easily slip across the border into the United States. He wondered how much of the operation would be news to Colonel Johns and the Mounties.
“Why did you follow us and steal this plane, Mr. Bond?”
As the Russian was speaking Bond saw his rented Plymouth drive into the hangar and he said, “Do the good people at Hertz know you’ve taken their car?”
The Russian motioned with his gun and Bond walked slowly towards one of the Cessnas. As he crossed the hangar he took a look at some very sophisticated electronic equipment along the far wall. It looked like the control room for a Sputnik launch.
At the end of the console Bond saw what looked like the control panel and rudders from one of the Cessnas. The man sitting at the controls turned and said something in Russian.
The man with the gun said something in reply and the only words Bond could make out were, “Gagarin,” which he figured was the man’s name, and something about getting back to work.
Then Bond was clubbed over the head and everything went black.
When he came to, Bond was in the Cessna.
A quick look around and Bond figured the plane was at about twenty-five hundred feet and flying steady over thick forest.
The Skyhawk was a four-seater and Bond was in the back. The plane banked slightly and Bond saw the rudders moving on their own and the rectangular steering wheel turning.
He said, “Remote control,” out loud in the cockpit as he climbed over the seats to the front. He grabbed the wheel but couldn’t move it. “I hope you can fly blind, Gagarin,” Bond said.
Then he remembered that a Cessna would have emergency parachutes under the seats and he reached for one but came upon a solid metal box. He got down on his knees in front of the seat and tried to pry open the box but he couldn’t find a seam. The plane banked again and descended a couple of hundred feet and then leveled out.
Below was still nothing but forest and ahead in the distance Bond could see mountains, likely the green mountains of Vermont but as he had no way of knowing how long he’d been unconscious they could also be the Laurentian Mountains in Quebec or even the Appalachians.
Whatever mountains they were, Bond expected the plan was to crash the plane into one of them.
He ran his hand along the stem of the steering wheel looking for the point the remote control motor took over but couldn’t find anything.
Then Bond heard a sound, an engine coming up behind and he turned to see plane approaching. He thought it might be one of the Viscounts that Colonel Johns said were used in the area by druggers and white-slavers but as it got closer Bond realized it was smaller than that and single-engine.
He took off a shoe and smashed the glass cover off one of the dials on the panel, Then he ripped away the needle and got the chrome backing, a piece about three inches in diameter.
As the small plane got closer Bond realized it was a Hawker Fury, almost the same as the Sea Fury he’d flown himself in the navy. He hoped it was another one of Colonel Johns’ patrol planes like the one that took the aerial surveillance photos of the ranch where von Hammerstein had been in Vermont.
Catching the sun, Bond used the piece chrome to flash out Morse code, a quick SOS until he received a wing tip from the Fury. Then Bond sent out a longer message, “Can you give me a lift?”
He opened the door of the Cessna and waved.
The Fury flew underneath, coming up as close to the Cessna as the young pilot dared and Bond jumped.
He landed on the body of the Fury just ahead of the cockpit and immediately began to slide off. He got one hand onto the edge of the cockpit just behind the windshield and held on. The Fury was already descending away from the Fury and when it leveled off Bond was able to climb into the second seat behind the pilot, a young man who turned to look back at Bond and said, “I’ve never picked up a hitchhiker at two thousand feet before.”
“I appreciate it,” Bond said. “I hope I won’t take you too far out of your way.”
“You don’t want to go back to that ranch in Vermont, do you?”
Bond said, “No, thank you.” So it was the same plane Johns had sent to do the reconnaissance.
As the Fury banked and began to turn back towards Montreal there was a small explosion in the distance and Bond saw the ball of fire that was the Cessna high up in the mountain.

A few months later, in February, Bond met with M to go over his final report of the business in America with Auric Goldfinger and when that business was concluded M said, “A shame about the business in Canada.”
Bond said, “Some lingering effects, sir?”
“Yes,” M said. “Of course, the Soviets had deeply infiltrated the Canadian research. We were able to salvage a little bit of the remote control technology, Q was quite excited, especially by the range of the connection.”
Bond said, “I see,” but wasn’t particularly interested in the details.
“The real shame, I suppose,” M said, “is the plane the Canadians were working on, the Arrow. The Soviets had completely infiltrated the operation.”
“That’s a shame, sir.”
“Yes, well, the whole thing’s to be scrapped now,” M said. “We’re bringing one of the prototypes over here, much of it looks promising.”
“I’m glad to hear that.”
“Yes, well, I’m sure you are.” M began to move files around on his desk. “The RCMP commissioner asked me to thank you for your help, James.”
Bond was standing up then and he said, “My help, sir? Was I ever in Canada?”
“Not as far as I know,” M said. Then he looked up at Bond and said, “And I want to thank you for… well, for what happened in Vermont.”
“I’ve never been to Vermont, either,” Bond said.
“No, of course not.”
Bond lingered by the door, looking for something to say. M had been very conflicted by the vigilante justice, by sending Bond to Vermont to kill von Hammerstein and Bond knew the old man was still having trouble reconciling a personal vendetta – von Hammerstein had killed two of M’s closest friends after all – and the professional work but Bond had no such trouble.
“I’ll be escorting Judy Haverstock back to Jamaica,” Bond said. “She will be continuing to run her parents’ estate.”
“That’s good,” M said. Judy Haverstock’s parents, the victims of von Hammerstein. “You’ll make sure she has the proper local security?”
“I will, sir.”
“Well, then, off you go.”
Bond had the hint of a smile. “Yes sir.”
Then it was off to winter in Jamaica. It was possible it might take the entire month of February and maybe even March to find the proper local security for Judy Haverstock.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

ECW Press

For more information about my books, please go to ECW Press.

Monday, February 22, 2016


Wow, a year since the last post. So, not one mention of 2113.

So, here's the cover and my ticket from a Rush concert at the Montreal Forum in 1977.

And here's the publisher's description of the book:

18 exhilarating journeys into Rush-inspired worlds

The music of Rush, one of the most successful bands in history, is filled with fantastic stories, evocative images, and thought-provoking futures and pasts. In this anthology, notable, bestselling, and award-winning writers each chose a Rush song as the spark for a new story, drawing inspiration from the visionary trio that is Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart.

Enduring stark dystopian struggles or testing the limits of the human spirit, the characters populating 2113 find strength while searching for hope in a world that is repressive, dangerous, or just debilitatingly bland. Most of these tales are science fiction, but some are fantasies, thrillers, even edgy mainstream. Many of Rush’s big hits are represented, as well as deeper cuts . . . with wonderful results. This anthology also includes the seminal stories that inspired the Rush classics “Red Barchetta” and “Roll the Bones,” as well as Kevin J. Anderson’s novella sequel to the groundbreaking Rush album2112.

2113 contains stories by New York Times bestselling authors Kevin J. Anderson, Michael Z. Williamson, David Mack, David Farland, Dayton Ward, and Mercedes Lackey; award winners Fritz Leiber, Steven Savile, Brad R. Torgersen, Ron Collins, David Niall Wilson, and Brian Hodge, as well as many other authors with imaginations on fire.

Official publication date is April 12th, but of course, the book can be pre-ordered now.

Monday, February 09, 2015

A Little More Free


Here’s the cover for the second Eddie Dougherty novel, A Little More Free:


And the description:

Montreal, Labour Day weekend, 1972. The city is getting ready to host the first game in the legendary Summit Series between Canada and the USSR. Three men set fire to a nightclub and Constable Eddie Dougherty witnesses the deaths of 37 people. The Museum of Fine Arts is robbed and two million dollars’ worth of paintings are stolen. Against the backdrop of these historic events, Dougherty discovers the body of a murdered young man on Mount Royal. As he tries to prove he has the stuff to become a detective, he is drawn into the world of American draft dodgers and deserters, class politics, and organized crime.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Harbourfront 2014


The event I’m most looking forward to at this year’s Harbourfront International Festival of Authors is Linwood Barclay interviewing James Ellroy on October 24th at 7:30.

There are still some tickets available here.

Or maybe I’m most looking forward to Linwood Barclay and George Pelecanos in discussion with Jared Bland on November 2nd at 5:00.

Tickets for that one can be purchased here.

I’m also doing a couple of events at this year’s Harbourfront and, I have to admit, they look pretty good, too.

First, I’m part of the discussion Time for Crime with Peter Robinson and Michael Robotham hosted by James Grainger.

Tickets here.

And then I’m taking part in the discussion, “October 1970,” hosted by Marc Côté and featuring Claire Holden Rothman and Catherine Gildener. It takes place on November 1st at 7:30.

Tickets here.

So, looks like I’ll be spending a lot of time down on Queen’s Quay in the next few weeks. I’m glad to hear the streetcar is back after the construction.

Monday, September 01, 2014

A Little More Free–Chapter One

The second Eddie Dougherty novel, A Little More Free, will be published in 2015 by ECW Press. This one takes place in the fall of 1972 in Montreal. Eddie is still a uniformed constable working out of Station Ten and once again he ends up in the middle of a murder investigation.

Here is Chapter One:


Montreal, September 1972

Friday afternoon before Labour Day weekend, Constable Eddie Dougherty gave evidence in the trial of three women charged with being naked in a public place. The week before he’d been temporarily assigned to the Morality Squad and was one of the cops who’d gone in plainclothes to a discothèque on Ste. Catherine Street and arrested the women who were dancing in the window.

At first it had been fun, his first undercover work, and the club was lively and the girls were having a good time. Dougherty figured, of course they were dancing in the window, they were trying to get more customers in the place, but the guys he was with, Morality Squad regulars, weren’t having any fun.

Now at the trial one of the other cops, Trepannier, was saying, “They wiggled their posteriors towards the window,” and Constable Quevillon said, “It was shocking, the women appeared bottomless as well as topless.”

When Dougherty was on the stand the prosecutor showed him the bright orange and red costumes, a thin strip of material, and said, “Is this, in fact, what this woman was wearing?” and motioned the g-string towards the blonde at the defence table sitting between the other two women.

Dougherty said, “Well, it looks like it, but I’d have to see her wearing it again to be sure.”

Pretty much everyone in the courtroom burst out laughing and when the judge finally got them quieted down the blonde winked at Dougherty and blew him a kiss.

The judge said, “I’m afraid that’s a little out of the question,” and adjourned the trial until the next week when he said they’d hear from defence witnesses.

One of the reporters looked at Dougherty then and said, “You might as well just stay on the stand, constable,” and everyone laughed again.

In the hallway outside the courtroom the blonde came up to Dougherty and said, “Hi, I’m Erin Mulvaney,” and Dougherty said, yeah, “I remember from the arrest report.”

“Oh yeah. Anyway, I have to work tonight.”

Dougherty said, “So do I.”

“But sometimes when we finish we go to Dunn’s for a bite.”

“Oh yeah?”

“If you’re, you know, hungry.”

“Maybe a little cheesecake.”

She was giggling then and said, yeah, “Maybe some cheesecake.”

Dougherty said, okay, maybe, and then he watched Erin walk away with the other two women.

That night he was back driving a squad car out of Station Ten. Captain Boisvert of the Morality Squad said Dougherty wasn’t going to work out and Dougherty was okay with that.

A little after eleven Dougherty was standing beside his squad car having a smoke with the doorman at Rockheads on St. Antoine and a call came over the radio about a fire at the corner of Dorchester and Union.

The doorman, a Joe Louis lookalike named Jones, looked up the hill towards downtown and said, “Union? By Phillips Square, that the Blue Bird?”

“Or the bar upstairs.”

“Wagon Wheel,” Jones said. “Country western.”

Dougherty said, “You know all the clubs,” and Jones said, “Gotta know what’s what in this business,” and he leaned in a little and winked and said, “and who’s who.”

“Yeah,” Dougherty said, “like this business,” nodding his head a little towards the open window of the squad car. “Maybe it’s a kitchen fire.”


The radio squawked out another call for the fire and Dougherty said, “Sound like something.” He was looking up the hill then, too, downtown blocked by the expressway but he saw smoke rising and started around the cop car saying, “Keep the peace tonight, all right,” and Jones said, “Will do, boss.”

Dougherty drove fast up Mountain and turned right onto Dorchester. It was only a few blocks to Union, the radio going steady, every cop and fireman on duty called in. As soon as he saw the place, Dougherty knew it was bad.

A little two-storey building right on the corner, used to be a garage, now flames were pouring out the front door. Dougherty knew that behind the door were the narrow, rickety stairs going up to the nightclub.

And no one was coming out that door.

Dougherty jumped out of his squad car and saw a man hanging from the big neon sign on the side of the building for a couple of seconds and then watched the guy fall onto the roof of a car and bounce onto Union Street.

People were falling from the sky, climbing out the window behind the sign and jumping.

There was a fire escape on the other corner of the building and dozens of people were coming down that as fast as they could, tripping and falling, getting up or just crawling. Fire trucks were pulling up, guys dragging hoses towards the building and hooking them up to hydrants, people were screaming and black smoke was pouring out of the building.


There was a loud crack and the wrought-iron fire escape gave way and collapsed.

People were thrown off and people were crushed underneath.

Dougherty saw a rookie getting out of a squad car looking like he was going to faint and grabbed him and said, “Stay on the corner and keep Dorchester clear, make sure the fire trucks and the ambulances can get through. Start getting these people to hospitals.”

People who had gotten out of the fire were standing by the building yelling back for people still inside and Dougherty tried to move them all further away. He heard a guy calling his name and saw the bouncer and managed to make out something about the back door.


Dougherty ran around the building to the parking lot and the back door, ran up to it and heard screaming. Women screaming.

Pounding on the door.

No handle on the outside.

Dougherty looked around on the ground for something to pry open the door but didn’t see anything in the dark.

The screaming died down and for a second Dougherty thought the panic was ending but then he realized the people trapped inside were just passing out from the smoke.

Then the doorframe busted and the door slammed onto the ground and three or four guys fell out and staggered, coughing and trying to breathe.

Dougherty pushed past them and saw the bodies in the stairwell, piled all the way up the stairs. One of the guys who’d broken the door and gotten out was right behind Dougherty going back in saying, “My brother,” and grabbing bodies and pulling them out. The stairwell was full of thick, black smoke, it was impossible to breathe. Dougherty picked up a body, looked like a teenage girl, rushed outside, rushed back in, grabbed another.

A couple minutes later there was a fireman at the top of the stairs yelling down, saying, “Tous monde dehors?”

Dougherty tried to speak but his throat was closing up so he just stood there nodding and waved and the fireman rushed back into the club.

Outside a guy grabbed Dougherty by the arm and said, “My fiancée’s in there.”

Dougherty was trying to get air into his lungs, doubled over and gasping and he looked up at the guy and said, “We’ve been taking... people to hospitals.”

The guy let go and ran off.

Dougherty took a few steps to a car, leaned back against it and looked back at the club. The Blue Bird Cafe on the ground floor was dark but there were still flames coming out of parts of the second floor, the Wagon Wheel. The place was surrounded by fire trucks, the big ladders extended over the roof, firemen in the buckets pointing hoses at the building.

The flames were getting smaller, going out.

Now Dougherty realized the crowd was growing, it wasn’t just the people who’d been in the club it was people showing up looking for friends and relatives. He closed his eyes and heard voices... my sister... my husband... it was a birthday... a party... we were celebrating...

There were more cop cars on the scene then, cops moving people away from the building.

Dougherty got some breath into his lungs, it tasted like soot, and he tried to push himself off the car and stand up. He heard a voice that sounded far away but he focused harder and saw a man inches from his face.

“Are you okay?”

Dougherty realized it was a reporter he knew, Logan, and saw he was covered in black ash.

“They’re all out of the stairwell, they’re out.”


Logan leaned back against the car beside Dougherty and said, “It looks like they’ve got it under control.” Then he looked at his watch and said, “That place went up fast.”

Dougherty said, yeah. He pushed himself off the car and walked back towards the building. As he pushed through the crowd he saw people with blood on their faces and hands and smashed glass all over the ground and figured they’d gotten out through the small windows. He’d been to the club a few times since it had become the country bar, almost everyone there was English from Verdun or the Point or the West Island. Lots of women who worked in Place Ville Marie or the Sun Life building a little further down Dorchester, secretaries, and guys from the custom brokers and shipping companies down the hill by the port. A working class crowd.

Around the front of the building Dougherty stopped and stared. The firemen were carrying out bodies, handing them from one fireman to another and cops were loading people onto stretchers and into ambulances and police cars.

The crowd was staying back but there was panic in the air.

Dougherty pushed his way past a couple firemen, one of them looked like the captain, and he heard him saying, “Bien sûr, respirer la gas, tout l’escalier,” and realized right away it was true, he could smell the gasoline, it was arson. He pushed his way up the stairs into the club.

A couple of firemen were shining flashlights into the far corner of the room, past the dance floor, and Dougherty saw that was where they were picking up the bodies. He went over to help and caught unconnected words, “Women’s bathroom,” “fenêtres brisées,” “kids.” He took his turn picking up a body from the floor and walked across the club to the stairwell and handed it – him, Dougherty was thinking, a man about his own age, probably someone he’d seen when he was in the club – to a fireman.

Then he went back for another.

When the bodies had been cleared, Dougherty and the rest of the cops went down the stairs and left the firemen to do whatever it was they did.

Out front Dougherty had no idea how much time had passed since he’d first seen the flames coming out of the building – an hour? Three hours? There was still a big crowd all the way up Union to Phillips Square, and in the other direction Dougherty saw the rookie he’d told to direct traffic still standing on Dorchester waving cop cars in and out. He went up to the kid and said, “How you doing?”

“It’s bad, isn’t it?”

“The worst.”

“Probably fifty trips to the hospital so far.” The kid waved another cop car out onto Dorchester and looked at Dougherty and Dougherty didn’t think he’d ever seen skin so white. He thought maybe that was just because every other face he’d seen for hours was covered with black soot but then he thought, no, this kid looks like he’s going to pass out.

“Okay,” Dougherty said, “keep the cars moving, we’ve got to be coming to an end.”

The kid looked unsteady on his feet but he nodded and looked glad to have something to do.

Dougherty wandered back around the front of the Blue Bird and saw Logan talking to a couple of guys, saying, “He played the drums?”

One of the guys said, “Yeah, he plays drums, we’re Don and Curly and the Dudes.”

Logan was writing in his notebook. “You were the first one to see the fire?”

“Curly saw it, he stopped playing, he put down his guitar, told everybody not to panic.”

Dougherty took a few steps away, the voice fading, “... tried to get everybody out, the windows were boarded up with plywood...” and he saw the Night Sergeant from Station Ten, Beauchamps, talking to a couple of detectives and the bouncer, guy named Riley, who was saying, “Around ten, ten-thirty.”

Riley saw Dougherty and said, “Eddie, you know that guy, Gaetan...”

“Gaetan who?”

“I don’t know, sometimes he’s in here with his brother, you had to straighten them out a couple weeks ago.”

“Gaetan Eggers.”

“It was him I threw out tonight, him and a couple of his buddies.”

“His brother?”

Riley thought for a second and said, “No, two other guys. They were all drunk, they came in and tried to sit with people they didn’t know, they didn’t want them, I had to get them out.” He looked up at Dougherty and shook his head and said, “Eddie, man, the place was packed.”

One of the detectives, a guy in his fifties Dougherty didn’t recognize said, “Do you know the other two?”

Riley said, “They’re in here all the time, I don’t know their names,” and looked at Dougherty who said, “I’ve picked them up before, sometimes Eggers with his brother and another guy, O’Boyle.”

“That’s right, Jimmy,” Riley said, “he was one of them.”

“But you don’t know,” the detective said, “if it was them who started the fire?”

Riley shook his head, he didn’t know.

The detective looked at his watch and said, “Bon, it’s after three, bars are closing.” Then he looked at Dougherty and said, “Call the Station, get addresses on these guys. Try to remember the other name.”

“It’ll be in one of the arrest reports,” Dougherty said. “They’ve been picked up a few times.”

He turned and took a step before he realized he didn’t know where his squad car was and as he was standing there one of the bartenders from the Wagon Wheel came up to him looking like he wanted to say something but Dougherty had to say, “What is it?” before the guy would say, “I don’t really want to bother you, but...”

“But what?”

“Well, somebody rifled the cash register.”


“And a bunch of purses were stolen, the girls are talking about it over there.”

Dougherty said, “Okay, well, tell them to come into the Station tomorrow, okay? There’s nothing we can do now.”

The bartender said, okay, and started to walk away and Dougherty said, “Hey.”


“Try and keep them calmed down, okay?”

The bartender nodded, said, “Okay,” and walked back towards the crowd. Dougherty watched him go, thinking the guy was still in shock, but hoping he could talk to the regulars, at least.

Then Dougherty saw his squad car on Dorchester, the front wheels up on the sidewalk and he went to it and got on the radio to Station Ten and asked the only guy in the building to look up the arrest report on Gaetan Eggers. “Drunk and disorderly back in July, I think.”

“That’s all you got?”

“There was one in the winter, too,” Dougherty said, “fight in Atwater Park, with a drug dealer, I think, coloured guy, I chased him down Ste. Catherine, he broke a window in that store,” Dougherty thought for a second and then said, “Cargo Canada. In the D&D there was another guy with him, Jimmy O’Boyle, and probably another guy, I don’t know his name but I need an address for him, too.”

Over the radio the cop said, “That’s all?” Sarcastic even now and Dougherty said, “As fast as you can.”

The cop at Station Ten said, “Okay.” Then he said, “How bad is it?” and Dougherty said, “Bad.”

“They’re saying on the radio more than a dozen killed.”

“Yeah,” Dougherty said, “more than a dozen.”

Dougherty was standing beside the car holding the handset, the wire connecting it to the big radio on the dash stretched as far as it would go, looking over the scene. The two westbound lanes of Dorchester were blocked with squad cars, Union Street was filled with fire engines and there were hundreds of people just standing around.

A few minutes later the cop at Station Ten was back on the radio saying, “Okay, I got one for Eggers, NDG, below the tracks, no surprise there.”

“What about the other guys?”

“O’Boyle is in Verdun but there’s no one else on the report. I’ll keep looking, last winter, and back.”

Dougherty said, “Okay. What’re the addresses you have?” The cop read out the street addresses and Dougherty ran back to the detectives.

“One’s in NDG and one in Verdun.”

“The third?”

“Still looking.”

“Okay, get another officer and you each go and wait, maybe they’ll go home. If they do bring them in.”

The other detective said something and then the two of them spoke quietly to each other for a moment and Dougherty couldn’t make out what they were saying. Then the first detective nodded and said to Dougherty, “We’ll get a coroner’s warrant, with that we don’t need to charge him with anything right away. You pick him up bring him to Bonsecours Street, we’ll find out if it was him.”

“Okay.” Dougherty ran to his squad car. He found the rookie who had been directing traffic standing under a streetlight looking dazed and gave him the address in Verdun and told him to go and wait there. “Park around the corner, try and stay out of sight, but watch the building, if anyone goes in radio right away.” The kid nodded and got into a squad car and Dougherty watched him drive away hoping he wouldn’t crash.

Then Dougherty got into his squad car and backed out onto Dorchester. As he pulled away he looked into the rear view mirror and saw the fire trucks still surrounding the small building, the ladders still extended above it, the hoses still spraying water onto the smouldering, blackened husk.

It was bad.

Dougherty drove fast, the streets deserted at three in the morning and got to Grand Boulevard in less than fifteen minutes. On the other side of the train tracks it was a wide, tree-lined street with nice, old brick houses, especially once it crossed Sherbrooke, but below the tracks Grand was a single block of three- and four-storey low-rent apartment buildings and some old fourplexes and walk-ups. Dougherty dumped his squad car behind some trucks in the parking lot of a landscaping company on St. Jacques and waited in the shadows across the street from Eggers’ building.

He didn’t have to wait long.

A gray Comet pulled up and Eggers got out just after three-thirty. Dougherty grabbed him. There was no fight, no struggle. Eggers had been drunk earlier but now he looked like he was in shock.

Dougherty said, “So, you know how bad it is,” and Eggers started crying, saying, “We didn’t want to hurt anybody.”

Dougherty cuffed him and dragged him across St. Jacques to his squad car, put him in the back seat and then got on the radio and called it in.

The cop at Station Ten said the detectives would meet him at HQ and Dougherty said, “Okay.”

He drove all the way to Bonsecours Street in Old Montreal with Eggers sobbing in the back seat.

An hour later Dougherty was standing in the parking lot behind the building having a smoke when Detective Carpentier pulled up in his own car, a Bonneville, and got out saying, “Mon Dieu.”

Dougherty had known the homicide detective for a few years, had been with him when they’d arrested a man they thought had killed five women and he’d never seen him so shaken.

Carpentier looked at Dougherty and said, “On dit peut-être plus de trente?”

Dougherty spoke French, too, saying, yeah, it looks like more than thirty, and the detective said again, “Mon Dieu.”

Then Carpentier switched to English and said, “You have a suspect?”

“Yes. There are two more, we’ve got a man waiting at one of the apartments and this guy,” motioning towards the building, “will give up the other one.”

“They were thrown out of the club earlier?”

“They were drunk, the bouncer threw them out.”

“And you’re sure it was them?”

Dougherty took a drag on his cigarette and tossed the butt on the ground. “He’s been crying since I picked him up, saying how they didn’t mean to hurt anyone.”

Carpentier nodded and walked past Dougherty to the doors of the police station saying, “Well, they did.”

The sun was coming up then and a little while later the parking lot started to fill up with people coming to the morgue to identify bodies. Dougherty recognized a few people, had nodding acquaintances with them, a couple he’d been in classes with at Verdun High School.

Then it was quiet for a few minutes and Dougherty was thinking about going home when a car pulled up and a guy got out and Dougherty recognized him but couldn’t place him. The guy was by himself and as he came towards the back door and saw Dougherty he said, “She wasn’t at the hospital, she wasn’t at the Royal Vic or the General or the St. Luc.”

As he was talking, Dougherty realized he’d seen him the night before, outside the Blue Bird looking for his fiancée.

“They told me to come here.”

Dougherty said, “Downstairs,” and as the guy pushed past him into the building, Dougherty touched his arm and said, “You by yourself?”

The guy said, yeah, and they looked at each other for a moment and then the guy went inside.

A little while later Detective Carpentier came out and stared up at the blue sky. He lit a cigarette and said, “Do you know where they bought the gas?” and Dougherty said, no.

Carpentier didn’t look at him, he just kept staring at the sky and said, “A gas station on de Maisonneuve.” He took a drag and exhaled slowly, smoke coming out of his nose and said, “Where his father was working. His father told him he was drunk and he should go home. One of the other guys...” Carpentier turned and looked at Dougherty and said, “You were right, he gave them up, it was O’Boyle and another, David Gratton.”

Dougherty nodded, “Yeah, I know him.”

“Oh yes, they are what the newspapers will call, ‘known to the police.’ Going back years.”

Dougherty said, yeah.

“They spent the day drinking, the three of them, on the South Shore, then they came to the club.”

“Riley told me, he kicked them out.”

“They went to Club 67, do you know it?”

“On Crescent.”

“Yes, that’s the one. They had a few more drinks and came up with their plan. The first gas station they went to wouldn’t sell them any so they went to where Eggers’ father was working. Eggers talked to him while Gratton filled the, how you say, canne de gaz, rouge?”


“Jerrycan. And they went back to the Blue Bird.”

“Where are the other two?”

“He doesn’t know, he says he left them at Torchy Wharf, you know it?”

“La Tortortue, yeah, it’s in Verdun, bottom of Allard Street.”

“He doesn’t know where they were going, he thinks out of town.”

Carpentier finished his cigarette and tossed the butt on the ground. Then he turned around and went back inside.

A couple of cops came out and squinted into the sun. One of them said, “Tabarnak, Je suis fucking fatigué.”

The other cop, an older guy probably in his late forties, looked at Dougherty and spoke English, saying, “There were two birthday parties in that club. One guy was turning thirty-nine, he was there with his wife.” The cop moved his head a little, the smallest of motions towards the building and said, “They’re both here. Four kids at home. Orphans now. The other one was turning twenty-one.”

The other cop, the tired one, said, “Deux filles là, quatorze ans.”

Dougherty didn’t say anything but he wasn’t surprised to hear there were fourteen-year-old girls in a bar. Montreal always a party town. Then he wondered if this would change that but didn’t think it was too likely.

Then the older cop said, “Bon, better get some sleep,” and looked at Dougherty. “You work tonight?”


The other cop said, “You working the game?”

“What game?”

Quelle jeux? Come on.”

Dougherty shook his head and said, “Right, shit.” Then he said, “No, I’m on patrol.”

“Me too, we’re watching it at the bar in the plaza, Alexis Nihon.”

“Not Toe Blake’s?”

“Hey, we might get a call, it would be too crowded, too tough to get out of there.”

Dougherty said, “That’s very conscientious of you,” and the other cop said, “Eh?”

“That’s good thinking.”

“Oh well, it won’t be much of a game, but fun to smack some commie bastards around, eh?”

Dougherty said, yeah, and the other two cops walked through the parking lot towards the Métro station. He’d forgotten about the Summit Series as it was being called. After years and years of watching the Soviet so-called amateurs beat up on Canadian university kids at the Olympics and World Championships, Canada’s pros were finally getting their chance at some revenge. Four games in Canada and then four games in Moscow. First one tonight at the Forum in Montreal. Be good, Dougherty figured, give people something to cheer about.

He walked to where he’d parked his squad car a few hours earlier when he brought in Eggers and as he opened the door he looked back at the building and saw a man coming out with his hands over his face. He was stumbling and shaking and Dougherty went to him, grabbing him by the arm and holding him up.

The guy was crying, sobbing, and Dougherty realized he was the one who’d been looking for his fiancé.

They stood there for a minute by the door and then Dougherty said, “Where do you live, where’s your family?”

“I’m okay, I’m okay.”

“Come on,” Dougherty said, “where do you live, I’ll drive you.”

“No, it’s okay.” The guy took a deep breath and got himself under control. “I’m okay.”

“Your parents, man, where are they?”

The guy took a couple more breaths, struggling to get air in and out, and then he said, “LaSalle, it’s okay. I’m okay.”

“I’ll follow you.”

The guy said he was okay again and walked to his car in a daze. Dougherty got into the squad car and followed him, onto the expressway at Berri, west through the Ville Marie tunnel and then to de la Vérendrye Boulevard through Verdun and into LaSalle.

When the guy pulled up in front of a two-storey duplex on 9th Avenue Dougherty pulled over, too, and watched the guy go into the house. There were other people inside. It was quiet for a minute and then Dougherty heard the crying.

Then he drove back downtown, dropped the car at Station Ten and walked the two blocks to his apartment. Almost six hours till he had to be back on shift.

“Sixty-five cents for a pint? We should arrest you.”

“You’d like to try, you would.” The waitress had an Irish accent and Dougherty thought she sounded a little like his grandmother but the wench outfit with the low-cut white blouse and the short skirt took away that image pretty quick.

Gagnon, who’d complained about the price was saying, “It’s fifty cents at the Royal,” and the waitress said, “Ah, but they don’t treat you so well,” and Dougherty had a feeling her joking around was just about over as she put down six pint glasses, three in each hand. The place was packed with guys watching the game and the waitresses were hopping.

Dougherty handed her a couple of two dollar bills and a single and said, “It’s my round, thanks.”

Canada had scored thirty seconds into the game, Phil Esposito banging the puck out of the air and past a Russian goalie nobody’d ever heard of.

Dougherty started his shift at six but got sent on a call right away and by the time he finally parked his squad car on Atwater across from the Forum he heard the eighteen thousand people inside cheer the second goal. It was looking like the rout everyone predicted but by the time he got to the Maidenhead bar at the Metro level of the Alexis Nihon shopping plaza across from the Forum, the Russians had scored to make it 2-1.

Now Gagnon was saying it was great to see the Commies get put in their place but one of the older cops, a guy named Duclos that Dougherty had never seen outside the station said, “They’re starting to look better, look at the way they move as a unit.” Every guy at the table, half a dozen cops all in uniform, told him he was crazy.

Then just before the first period ended the Russians scored a shorthanded goal off a two-on-one and Duclos said, “How do you get a two-on-one killing a penalty?”

The cops made Duclos buy the next round.

Dougherty got sent on another call. He had his walkie-talkie on his belt and when the call came in he looked around and saw he was the only one with a radio.

Duclos shrugged and said, “If you lose it or if you break it, you have buy a new one out of your own pay,” and Dougherty said, yeah, “I know the rule,” and Duclos said, “So, leave it in the station like everybody else.”

The call was actually in the plaza, a couple of kids had grabbed some jackets from the Jean Junction and ran. Dougherty brought Gagnon with him and they ended up chasing the kids up three flights of stairs and then back down, past the Miracle Mart and the Steinberg and the Vieille Europe food store and the poster shop and the movie theatre and finally caught them at the turnstiles to the Metro almost at the doors to the Maidenhead.

Gagnon said, “You made us miss the game,” and one of the kids said, “Screw you.”

They were both teenagers, boys with long hair wearing t-shirts with images of rock stars with long hair, confident that they were still minors and nothing serious would happen.

Dougherty told Gagnon to take the jean jackets back to the store and he took the kids to Station Ten and dumped them in a cell. They were mouthy when he’d dragged them out of the Alexis Nihon but they got quieter in the squad car and had nothing to say at all in the cell. Dougherty figured it might make an impression and it might not, hard to tell these days, but it was pretty much all he could do. He phoned the manager of the store and sure enough the guy was just happy to get the jackets back and didn’t want to have to go to court if it looked like the kids’ parents could afford a lawyer and Dougherty told him, “Yeah, it looks like they can, addresses are in Westmount,” so he let them go and drove the couple blocks back to the Maidenhead.

And was shocked to see the Russians were leading 5-2.

The bar was quiet, shocked silence.

Duclos said, “It’s a hundred and ten degrees in there and Sinden is only playing three lines.”

Canada got one back but the Russians scored two more and the game ended 7-3 for the commies. Huge upset. Unbelievable.

Gagnon said, “So much for eight games to none.” The prediction every hockey expert had made. Eight easy wins for the Canadian professionals.

One of the other cops said, “Well, they’ve been training all summer, we’ve been playing golf,” and a few guys tried to agree but it was half-hearted. The game hadn’t been close.

“Oh, we’ll win a couple,” Duclos said, “but the bubble has burst.”

“We’ll win the next seven games.”

“All right,” Duclos said, “we have to do some crowd control,” and he led the way out of the shopping plaza and onto Atwater.

The crowd was coming slowly out of the Forum and the people were upset about the loss but it looked to Dougherty like they were more in shock. And maybe when they got out of the steam bath that the inside of the Forum had become and into the cool night air they calmed down. Whatever it was, the crowd wasn’t rowdy, they looked like the living dead.

Dougherty’s radio crackled again and he took it off his belt and pressed the button, saying, “Go ahead.”

The sergeant at Station Ten, Beauchamps, told him there was something suspicious on the stairs coming off Mount Royal at Peel and Dougherty said, “Suspicious?”

“That’s what the call said, yeah.”

“On the stairs?”

“That’s right.”

“Okay, I’ll check it out.”

He got into his squad car and was amazed that eighteen thousand unhappy people could disperse so easily and quickly. The bars had filled up, no doubt, and the Métro was probably crowded for a while, but the streets were surprisingly empty.

Dougherty drove up Atwater to Pine, halfway up Mount Royal. He parked at Peel and stood for a moment looking at the cobblestone path leading to the stairs, the black iron railings on either side cutting through dark forest all the way up. He figured if it was an office building, the stairs would probably go up ten or fifteen stories – the lookout at the top higher than any of the big downtown buildings, higher than the nearly fifty stories of Place Ville Marie, and then there was the huge cross on top of that.

It was almost midnight by then and the area was dark and quiet so Dougherty turned on his flashlight and lit up the first section of stairs as far as the landing – maybe twenty stairs.

Nothing suspicious.

As he started up the stairs, trees on either side, he was hoping he wouldn’t have to go all the way to the top and then realized he wouldn’t.

Right there in the trees beside the first landing was the something suspicious.

Dougherty got out his radio and called in, saying, “I found it.”

The Sergeant said, “It is suspicious?” and Dougherty said, yeah, “It’s suspicious.”

“What is it?”

“It’s a dead body.”


end of chapter one

Monday, August 04, 2014

Blog Hop


Off the top I want to say thanks to Dietrich Kalteis for tagging me in this Blog Hop.

Each week a writer answers four questions and posts them to his or her blog, then introduces two more writers to take part for the following week. And they in turn invite two new writers each to take part, and so on; As ER Brown says, ‘it’s kind of a chain letter for writers.’

At the end of this I’ll give you links to the two writers I’ve tagged, Dana King and Steve Weddle who will be posting answers to these questions on August 11th.

So, here we go:

What am I working on?

A couple of weeks ago I handed in the manuscript of the second Eddie Dougherty novel, this one called A Little More Free, and set in Montreal in 1972 and then I started pretty much right away on the next one which will be set in 1976 and cover the Brinks truck robbery (at the time the biggest robbery in North America), the summer Olympics and the first election of the Parti Québécois.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My first four novels were multi-pov crime novels that aspired to fit into the Elmore Leonard school of writing and didn’t differ much from others in the same genre. They were set in and around Toronto and may have had a little more Canadian feel to them but otherwise they were character-driven and loosely plotted stories of cops and criminals going about their business.

My most recent novel, Black Rock, is more of a traditional whodunit, told from the pov of a young constable who is thrust into the middle of a homicide investigation. It’s set in 1970 in Montreal against a backdrop of real-life events.

Why do I write what I do?

I’m trying to find answers to questions I have. Francis Ford Coppola said, “The idea is the question and you make the movie to find the answer.” That’s how I feel about the novels I write, I start with a question – usually a pretty basic question – and then try to answer it. My first novel, Dirty Sweet, started with the question, Why Do People Move to Toronto? (no spoilers, but the answer is for the opportunities.)

For Black Rock the question was, Is One Life More Valuable Than Another? Of course, we will all say the answer is no, but the reality is different. In Montreal in 1970 two politicians were kidnapped and one was murdered and the whole country stopped what it was doing. Task forces were assembled, the army was called out, civil rights were suspended and new laws were passed. At the same time a man murdered three women and the police knew from the second victim that it was the same murderer. And it barely made the news. No task forces were assembled, no additional cops were assigned to the case and no laws were changed.

How does my writing process work?

For these historical novels the process starts with the research. I use a lot of real-life events so I start by making a timeline. Then I fit the fictional aspects of the story into it and start writing.

And now the two writers I’ve tagged:

I met Dana King online when he posted insights and funny comments to various blogs and discussion groups and then we met in person at Bouchercon in Baltimore. The first book of Dana’s I read was, Wild Bill, a terrific story of FBI agents and mafiosos in the era of terrorism taking up all the attention and resources. It was funny in a mature, not-laugh-out-loud way and had plenty of action and insight. Since then his private eye novel, Small Sacrifice has been nominated for a Shamus Award and that private eye, Nick Forte, shows up as a secondary character in the novel, Grind Joint, which takes place in the small town of Penns River, a place that got left behind when the steel mills closed. Check out Dana King here.

“Steve Weddle’s writing is downright dazzling.” – the New York Times. Not really much I can add to that. So go check out what he’s working on here.