High intrigue and shenanigans this week gang! JB has been invited to Washington to attend the farewell performance of East German violinist Greta Mueller and attend a swanky after-party with the Prime Minister of England. She’s met at the airport by Andrew Wyckham from her English publishing company, after her regular agent Geoffrey Phillips was called away at the last minute.
JB is amazed to even be invited (pish tosh) but Wyckham tells her that Greta Mueller is one of her biggest fans and couldn’t return to the dark side without meeting her hero. Nawww. (She claims to have learnt English from reading JB’s books. Believe me when I tell you this is a Scandalous Lie)
Before they can get anywhere they are met outside the terminal by the head of Greta’s security detail, Colonel Gerhardt Brunner, who these days is deep undercover on Young and the Restless.
He tells them that Greta is most anxious to meet her heroine (fair enough) and asks that they go straight to the concert hall where she is rehearsing and arguing with her brother. Over lunch Wyckham regales them with tales of his adventures in Africa
(including the time he flew an airplane with Brendan Fraser through a cursed sandstorm and died) before they are interrupted by a journalist requesting an interview.
Hang on a minute.
Before JB can give the game away Hegarty introduces himself as Dennis McElvey, a reporter from the London Evening Sentinel. Greta seems irritated at the intrusion but her brother Franz seems quite excited to have an interview arranged and so tells Hegarty to come backstage at the concert the following day.
Later that evening Hegarty pops round JB’s hotel to enlighten her – he’s on a mission
from God for the SIS but he still has plenty of time to catch up. She owes him a date, so he proposes dinner at a restaurant the following evening at which he hopes they “will both be on their worst behaviour”. Ew.
The next night at the concert hall there’s mystery and intrigue in the air. Hegarty meets with Franz Mueller who is quickly found out to be an East German intelligence source. Hegarty tells him that there’s a problem with Mueller’s information provider, a woman named Ilsa Steiner – she’s gone missing, and is suspected of going to the East German authorities to out Franz as a spy. Later, a call to SIS HQ contains news so bad that Hegarty’s colleague Jack Kendall goes racing down to the theatre to deliver it in person. Since mobile phones have yet to be invented.
At the interval JB and Wyckham are chatting merrily in the foyer when Hegarty appears, bleeding. He orders them to leave immediately and pulls a gun when Wyckham starts whingeing. With Brunner and his minions in hot pursuit, JB and Wyckham get into the limo – but not before Wyckham and the limo driver/SIS agent exchange a Look. SUBTLE PLOT POINT!
Hegarty tells Jack to drop JB and Wickham at a cab rank but Jack informs them that Brunner is still on their tail. Hegarty tells him to drive to the embassy and phones ahead to make sure the gates are open or he’s crashing through them. First Secretary Henry Claymore (who is inexplicably Australian but pretending not to be) is not particularly excited about this, and explains that there’s barely any staff at the embassy as most are off guarding the Prime Minister after an assassination attempt had been made in Australia the week before, HEY LEAVE US OUT OF THIS! Claymore tells his wife (played by Jenny Agutter who I know from Spooks, The Avengers and that episode of Coupling with Patrick’s love cupboard). They come out to meet the car and are amazed when Hegarty produces Greta and Franz Mueller out of the boot of the limo. I’m pretty sure this is also how Julian Assange ended up at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
Hegarty takes charge and orders Claymore not to tell the Ambassador that the Muellers are in the building. Dr Lynch, who just so happens to be hanging out in the embassy, checks Hegarty’s bullet wound and informs him that he will be fine. Despite all of this, Hegarty won’t tell Jess what is going on. I always said that Hegarty was shifty. JB goes for a stickybeak around the embassy and overhears Jack Kendall on the phone asking for information on Operation White Rose.
Hegarty finally comes clean after a stinging rebuke from JB and tells her the story of how Franz Mueller came to be a British informant. Until his source Ilsa Steiner is found, no one can leave the embassy. Just as he finishes his tale, Claymore appears with an update – the East German government has issued an arrest warrant for Franz Mueller. JB goes to tell Greta the news – and discovers the body of Jack Kendall lying on the ground clutching a white rose. OH THE SUBTLE PLOT POINTS DAZZLE ME WITH YOUR SUBTLETY!
Claymore regains control, orders everyone inside and gets on the phone to the guardhouse to search the grounds for intruders. Hegarty stands guard over the body and tells Jess that he was the one who recruited Jack to the service. He was perfect because he looked so much like a stuffy banker. The trick to being a spy, is to not look like a spy (Life Lesson #47). I don’t know how Hegarty thinks he doesn’t look like a spy, he’s one shady character.
Jess asks Hegarty about Operation White Rose. White Rose, Hegarty informs JB, was an operation in Johannesburg nine years earlier in which a group of agents (including Jack Kendall) were sent to guard an anti-apartheid leader by the name of Benjamin Kombassa, who was assassinated in a public square. His killer was never apprehended. Before he can go on one of Claymore’s minions arrives to request they rejoin the group. Instead they harangue Claymore until he grants Hegarty access to the Code Room. He hopes that that will be sufficient for Ms Fletcher?
JB goes for a snoop around Doctor Ryan’s office and discovers that Jack Kendall was not only stabbed but poisoned as well, suggesting a) a professional hit and b) Jack Kendall was killed because he was recognised. Hegarty tells her that Doctor Ryan was in Transvaal the same time as Benjamin Kombassa but since he was an anti-apartheid supporter it makes no sense that Kendall killed him. He also tells her that there is no file on Mrs Claymore. Meanwhile, Colonel Brunner gives the embassy a call and tells them that the Mueller’s parents have been taken into custody as a precaution against their treasonous son.
Leaving the group again, Our Heroine informs Hegarty that she has a fairly good idea what’s going on but needs some more information. She talks to the Claymores and hears a long-winded story about Mrs Claymore’s history that is boring and irrelevant but essentially JB realises that the Claymores and Doctor Ryan were not the killers of Benjamin Kombassa. But I think we all know who is, thanks to those SUBTLE PLOT POINTS.
It turns out our Mr Wyckham is a deadly assassin for hire, sent to America to kill the British Prime Minister, and used JB’s invitation to get in to the party. Unfortunately it all went a bit wrong for him with the whole East German defection business., but I guess you can’t plan for everything.
Job done, there’s still the matter of the East Germans to deal with. Greta decides to return to East Berlin and leave her brother in America, and Hegarty assures JB they will do all that they can for Greta in East Germany.
And by assures, I think you know what I mean.