FW3-1 The French Drop

Detailed summaries.

FW3-1 The French Drop

Postby Lynnedean » Tue Jan 21, 2014 12:54 am

FW3-1 The French Drop (detailed summary revised)

February 1941

Night, in northern France.
Two Frenchmen on bicycles watch a parachutist descending over an area of woodland, and make for his landing point. On landing, the parachutist checks his compass and a roughly drawn map of the route between St Etienne and Rouen, then walks out of the trees and across open ground. He steps on a landmine and is killed instantly. The cyclists hear the explosion, express alarm and turn back.

A day or so later.
Foyle enters a ministry building in London and asks at the reception desk to see Commander Howard. He is asked to wait.

The commander is in a meeting with Admiral James Francis, Sir Giles Messenger and Lt Col James Wintringham. The colonel is demanding a ship to get his agents into Brittany, as all special-duty flights are now reserved by the secret intelligence services. Sir Giles, speaking for the SIS, says that they were there first, and why should more flights, fuel and men be supplied when after seven months there's been nothing to show for it. Wintringham retorts that they would make more progress if Messenger didn't block every operation. In reply, Messenger is scathing of the Special Operations Executive, saying they are amateurs and upstarts who waste time and resources. When Wintringham points out results have been achieved in that contact with the Polish Home Army has been made, Messenger counters by saying it was lost again and two agents had vanished in Poland, and another in Czechoslovakia. Wintringham angrily accuses him of spying on his organisation, and the Admiral has to cool down the heated exchange. Howard says there is a ship in Portsmouth that can be used and Francis asks Messenger if he has any further comment to make. Sir Giles warns, "One more mistake - I'll prove you should have listened to me in the first place."

Howard collects Foyle from the lobby and takes him to his office. He enquires about his son and laments that he is not much of an uncle to Andrew. Foyle reminds him that he's the only uncle he's got.

Howard tells the DCS that he might have for him the kind of job he's been longing for. He would be reporting to Admiral Sir Percy Noble, who is heading up the new Western Approaches Command Centre. Foyle is very interested and thanks his brother-in-law for the promised recommendation. Howard tells him that the job couldn't be more important because if any more shipping is lost, the country will starve, but he is puzzled as to why, when Foyle is so highly spoken of and doing such a good job where he is, he is so determined to leave.

Foyle explains: "Andrew flies Spitfires. I know the work you're doing here. This morning I arrest a man for speculating in breach of the 1939 Prices of Goods Act, selling batteries at tenpence-ha'penny a time."

Howard takes the point. "I'd better speak to Sir Percy."

In the car, Sam asks her boss if everything is all right, and when he replies that he thinks so, she says, "You're not really planning to leave, are you?"

He asks her where she got that from, but instead of explaining, she only comments with feeling that he can't leave the force because "What would I do without you?"

He smiles and says she will easily find another job, but Sam says it wouldn't be the same, and jokingly suggests that he could take her with him and make her an honorary Wren. Foyle is discomforted. He tells her that nothing has been decided yet, and requests that she keep it under her hat. She replies glumly, "Mum's the word."

Sunday morning.
In Leavenham Parish Church, the vicar begins a service by welcoming those who have recently arrived in the village. Outside in the churchyard, a man covertly makes notes of the inscription above one of the graves: Edward Harper 1921-1941.

After the service, Colonel James Winteringham tells Hilda Pierce that he has had news from France: Facteur is dead. Shocked, Hilda asks what happened. Winteringham says it doesn't matter, but that Sir Giles must not hear the details. He says he has a plan, but Hilda is displeased, saying he has too many plans. The colonel tells her that Sir Giles has indicated that there is a spy in the camp, so she must discover who it is.

In Hastings police station, Jack Fenner, a profiteer, faces Milner across a desk in the interview room and asks how much longer he is to be kept there. Milner says his shop on Albury Street is getting well known for supplying batteries, razor blades, spare parts for radios, even thermos flasks, provided people are willing to pay. Fenner is exasperated: "Look, what is this? It's a penny here and tuppence there. Things come my way and I pass them on."

Milner says that men are losing their lives every day to keep the supply lines open, and asks if a penny here and tuppence there is all Fenner thinks they are worth. The profiteer sneers, saying that he'll only get a £5 fine and be sent home again, so Milner can just go ahead.

Monday morning.
As Foyle and Sam pass the station reception desk, Sergeant Rivers reminds the DCS that he hasn't bought any tuppenny raffle tickets yet. Foyle is impressed when shown the large onion that will be the prize, and he says he'll take a bob's worth.

Milner comes into the lobby and reports that he can't discover who is supplying Fenner with the goods. Foyle instructs him to let the man go, but notices that Milner looks glum and asks if he is all right. The sergeant attempts a smile and replies that he is.

Foyle goes to his office, leaving Sam at the desk. She asks Rivers if she may smell the onion because she hasn't seen one since Christmas. She takes a long, appreciative sniff, whereupon the sergeant announces, "That'll cost you a penny!"

As Jack Fenner locks up his hardware store that night, a car pulls up at the corner of the street and he sees two men drag from it a body-shaped load. Fenner is too busy concentrating on the action to hear someone approaching from behind, and is knocked cold by a hefty bang on the head.

As Sam is leaving the station for home, she finds Milner still at his desk. She tells him that she has dropped the DCS at his home and is leaving the car at the station for the night. She smiles at Milner and asks if he wants to buy her a drink.

In the pub, Milner explains that his marriage is not working and Jane has gone back to Wales. He says that he is thinking of leaving Hastings. Sam's immediate response of "Oh, not you too" prompts Milner to query who else is leaving, and she mutters that it's nobody, and diverts his attention by asking why he wants to go. All he can say is that he's probably looking for a fresh start and when Sam remarks that Foyle will be very disappointed in him, he asks her not to mention it to him yet. Sam says that the two men need something to take their minds off things and a "jolly good murder" would do it. The two laugh.

During the night, a patrolling ARP warden is blown off his feet by a blast from an explosion in a nearby bookshop.

Tuesday morning.
Foyle and Sam join Milner at the scene. In the building is a body of a young man, too badly disfigured to be identified. Milner explains that it looks as though the man had held a grenade to his head. The doors were locked, the key was in the deceased's pocket and the warden didn't see anyone else around, so it appears to be suicide. No identity card or ration book has been found, but the man had a solid gold pocket watch bearing the inscription: WRM - Congratulations - April 5th 1938.

Outside in the street, Milner tells his boss that the shop has been closed for a while and points out that Fenner's place is directly opposite. Foyle instructs his sergeant to release some details of the watch inscription to the press, but for the time being to describe the death as an accident.

A local watchmaker tells Milner that the watch is expensive and the marks on it indicate that it has been well used. It looks like an old watch but is a recent model, made after the date engraved on it.

Wednesday morning.
In the station, Sam reads the newspaper report of the "accident" and comments to her boss that she thought it was suicide. He replies, "Perhaps."

Sam asks, "Won't you miss it, sir?"
"The Chronicle?"
"All this – police work."

The look on Foyle's face indicates that he doesn't want to discuss the subject, but before he can say so, the telephone rings. Sam continues. "I mean, if you join Naval Intelligence, it's all just paperwork."

Foyle picks up the phone and raises a forefinger to indicate firmly to his driver that she should stop talking. He responds to the message he has received by telling the caller that they are on their way. As he rises from his chair, Sam persists. "You see what I mean? Here we go again. You never know what's around the corner in this job."

Foyle gives a patient little smile, but says in staccato as he plonks his trilby onto his head, "That's enough. End of conversation. Subject's off limits. Thank you!" And he means it.

Foyle and Milner visit the Hastings home of a Mrs Thorndyke. On seeing the newspaper report, she had told the police that she thought the dead man was her lodger, William Messenger. She is shown the watch and barely glancing at it, she identifies it as his. She says he'd been with her for six months but she doesn't know what he was doing in Hastings. She says his parents live in the town, and when Foyle queries why, in that case, he would need the room, she says she doesn't know, but he was seeing a young lady called Marian Greenwood and perhaps he didn't want to take her home. In response to a question, Mrs Thorndyke tells Foyle that she has lived in the town with her husband for a long time but Ernest had died last year, aged only 63. Foyle asks if her husband was a Hastings man, and she says he was. When the DCS then asks what school her husband went to, she answers, puzzled, "What do you want to know that for? What's that got to do with anything? I thought you wanted to know about Mr Messenger."

Foyle doesn't pursue the subject. Instead, he requests to see Messenger's room. In the room, the man's identity card and some money are found. A photograph of a young woman is on the bedside table. There is an envelope addressed to "Marion" and containing a letter in which the writer says he can't live without her and that she will now know that he meant what he said. Foyle asks Mrs Thorndyke if it is Messenger's handwriting. She confirms that it is.

Back in the street, Milner remarks to his boss that he doesn't appear to think it was suicide. Foyle asks him his opinion and he says he doesn't think it was, either.

In a large country house, Hilda complains to Wintringham that he went ahead with his plans against her advice. He is unrepentant, saying that she runs the section but he is director of operations. She tells him the plan is madness and cannot possibly work. He replies, "Why not? It's exactly the sort of operation we were put in place to achieve."

She tells him that there is already a problem and, indicating the newspaper article about the body being found, says he has been very unlucky because DCS Foyle is the investigating officer. She warns him that Foyle is not the provincial policeman he expected and won't leave this alone. "He may even find his way to you."

Wintringham is dismissive. Hilda warns him again, but he simply throws the newspaper into the wastebasket and snaps, "Forget him!"

In the police station, Milner tells Foyle that Fenner can't be found, and Rivers informs him that Marion Greenwood is waiting to see him.

Marion says that someone gave the watch to Messenger for his birthday. She reads the letter and says it is not fair that he blames her for his suicide. She tells how they met when she was working in the bookshop. She doesn't know what his job was, only that it was very hush-hush and he was in London much of the time. She knows that his father, Sir Giles, is a major general, but she was never allowed near the family's mansion outside of Hastings. She and William used to meet in the bookshop, to which he had his own key, because it was the only place they could get privacy. Marion admits that she liked William but didn't love him. When she met someone else, she had told him. He was very upset, but she didn't think he would do what he did.

After the interview, Foyle explains to Milner that Sir Giles Messenger is "fairly big in Whitehall, economic warfare, something like that, but also rumoured to be associated with Military Intelligence."

Foyle and Milner visit the Messengers, who are distraught to learn of their son's death. Foyle asks about the watch, but they say he didn't possess one. The engraved date is that of his twenty-first birthday. The letter is confirmed as being in his handwriting, but they know nothing of Marion Greenwood. Foyle is told that they last saw their son two weeks ago when he came for lunch. He was in an excitable mood. Sir Giles won't tell Foyle what work his son did, as it was classified, but says he will report the death to William's superiors. He remarks that his son's death obviously had nothing to do with his work and asks that the policemen now leave. Foyle leaves, but before doing so says that the circumstances of William's death are not so clear to the police, so he may have more questions later.

As they walk to the car, Milner comments to Foyle that the Messengers raised more questions than they answered: they hadn't know his girlfriend and if they hadn't given him a watch for his twenty-first, who had?

Lady Anne Messenger comes from the house to tell Foyle something that she says he should know. She says that when William came to the house, she thought he was more afraid than excited, and he had a friend with him called Jan Komorovsky, with whom she knows he was working in Hill House in Leavenham. Sir Giles calls from the garden and his wife retreats.

When Foyle has gone, Lady Anne assure her husband that she told him nothing. Sir Giles is remorseful about his relationship with his son, saying that his failure to be a good father had driven William to do what he did.

Foyle takes his brother-in-law to lunch. Howard tells him that normally the Navy would fill the post he mentioned with one of their own, but men good men are in short supply. "They need a first-class mind and it might as well be yours."

Foyle asks about Giles Messenger. Howard says he is very senior and influential in the SIS, the Secret Intelligence Service. He ran Section D but they took half his men away from him and he has been very angry about it ever since. Howard warns his brother-in-law not to get on the wrong side of him unless he wants to spend the rest of his career back on the beat.

Wednesday afternoon.
In the station, Sam overhears Foyle mention Leavenham to Milner and says that if he's referring to the village in Hampshire, then her uncle is the vicar there. Foyle tells her that they are going there. He instructs his sergeant to revisit Mrs Thorndyke to find out how long she has really been in Hastings, and also where her husband went to school, because she seemed reluctant to tell them. Milner comments on her identifying the pocket watch without really looking at it. Foyle instructs him to have another word with Marion and to keep looking for Fenner. As he and Sam leave, he tells Milner that they will be gone for a day or two.

Lt Col Wintringham visits the Messengers to commiserate over their son's death. He tells them that the week before, William had been disappointed to be pulled out of an operation and had been given a few days leave to get over it. Sir Giles says that a policeman by the name of Foyle implied that there were loose ends concerning William's death and he appears to be conducting a criminal investigation. Wintringham reports that Foyle is a troublemaker who has a reputation for "extending his authority into places where it has no right to be." Lady Anne looks pointedly at the colonel and remarks that the DCS seemed to her to be a very honest man.

Sir Giles tells Wintringham that if Churchill had listened to him the SOE would never have stood a chance of being formed, and that he is still profoundly disappointed that his son chose to defy him and join the organisation. "If I find that you were in any way responsible for his death, I will destroy you."

In an underground chamber, two men in German uniform drag Jan Komorowski into an interrogation room and try to force information from him by repeatedly holding his head under water. A short time later, the interrogators emerge from the chamber into the hallway of a large country house. As they light cigarettes, one says to the other in impeccable English, "I think that went rather well, don't you?"

Thursday morning.
On the way to Leavenham, Foyle remarks to Sam that Milner is working long hours and is very quiet. He wonders if anything is wrong, but Sam says she knows nothing she can repeat. Her boss indicates understanding and doesn't press further.

When the pair arrive at the Revd Aubrey Stewart's vicarage, the vicar remarks that it is almost divine Providence that the detective should come to Leavenham at this time. Asked about Hill House, he says it was requisitioned by the military but that no one knew why, and he is uneasy about the people there. One chap seems always to be hanging around, and there have been incidents.

The vicar hands a glass of his home-made greengage wine to each of his visitors as he tells how he was called out one night to see a parishioner whom the person on the phone said was dying. When he says he cycled six and a half miles to get there, Sam queries it and her uncle explains that petrol coupons aren’t issued for that sort of thing. He goes on to say that the callout was a hoax, his parishioner was fine. Pausing, he asks, "How’s the wine?"
Foyle struggles to find a way to describe the drink. "It's, em…" He flashes a look at Sam, who immediately comes to his rescue.
"Very… green!"
The vicar chuckles and agrees.

Foyle asks what else has happened, and Stewart tells him that the next day it was discovered that in the churchyard someone had smashed a flower vase from one of the graves. The grave was only two days old and was that of Ted Harper, a young local man who had died after falling off a roof. The vicar has a feeling that these things are connected with Hill House.

Thursday afternoon
On the drive to Hill House, Sam expresses puzzlement as to what makes her boss think that the suicide of a man over a girl in Hastings has anything to do with what's going on there. Foyle says he doesn't know yet, that's why they've come, he's just curious.

The Army guard at the gate obstructs Foyle's entry to the grounds and rings the house for instructions. Hilda is in Wintringham's office when he receives the call. She is alarmed and says that she knew he'd find them. Wintringham is puzzled as to how he did it. Hilda says she told him Foyle is clever. The colonel suggests that they ask him. Hilda is further alarmed.

"You're not going to let him in?"
"You know what they say about keeping your friends close and your enemies closer."
"Yes, well I'm not sure he's either."

Wintringham says that Foyle can be controlled in Hill House, official secrets and all that, but outside, he's a loose canon. Hilda is concerned that the visit might be reported to Sir Giles by the spy, but Wintringham then suggests that Foyle might be of use in uncovering the agent. Hilda strongly warns against, but the colonel instructs the guard to admit the DCS.

Milner calls on Mrs Thorndyke as she is about to leave home with a suitcase. She tells him that she is going to visit her sister in Slough for two days. The detective says that he knows that she has been lying, as there is no record of an Ernest Thorndyke ever having lived in Hastings and the present house was rented by someone else a year ago. She says she has lived in Hastings for a long time but not at the present address. As Milner leaves he warns Mrs Thorndyke not to extend her trip, as he will need to speak with her again.

Sam does not accompany Foyle into the grounds of Hill House. When he is greeted by Hilda Pierce, the DCS expresses surprise. She confirms that she is still with the Special Organisations Executive and this is only one of many houses they use. Foyle asks what they do there and says she will explain, but with great reluctance. She tells him that no one in the country knows who they are or what they do, but the SOE could be all that stands between England and defeat. She says that they could be called "a department of dirty tricks" because they break all the rules of war. Their only aim is to win. "The SOE was created last July to co-ordinate subversion and sabotage against the enemy overseas. The arts of ungentlemanly warfare, that's what we teach here."

She confirms that William Messenger was one of their "students" and says that the SOE has a number of "finishing schools" across the country: training centres where they teach Morse, demolition, resistance to interrogation and silent killings. "We deal in murder as well, Mr Foyle."

Hilda takes Foyle through the house. They enter a room in which men and women are sitting at desks, taking notes. On seeing Foyle, the instructor Leo Maccoby stops abruptly, more than the interruption bothering him. Hilda tells him to continue as she and Foyle walk to another door. He does so, talking about getting to people through bribery, but eyes the policeman with intense dislike. Foyle looks back with distaste.

Outside the building, Foyle asks from where the SOE get their instructors and Hilda says from many places. They pass a group of men being taught how to kill efficiently with a handgun and Foyle is told that the instructor Major Stafford used to be with the Municipal Police in Shanghai.

Hilda takes the DCS to Wintringham's office where the colonel expresses sadness at the loss of William Messenger, saying that he was deeply committed to the SOE and determined to succeed. When Foyle comments that it was strange that such a man would commit suicide, Wintringham says that he was also immature and sometimes even foolhardy, but it may have been that he was disappointed. He explains that Messenger was about to be sent on a mission overseas.

Foyle asks "Where was that?" and is told that it is not relevant.

Wintringham goes on to say that he decided that Messenger wasn't ready, so another agent took his place and perhaps that was what upset him. When Foyle asks about Jan Komorowski, the colonel is a little disconcerted, and queries how he came by the name. Foyle replies simply, "Not relevant."

Wintringham smiles wryly and explains that Komorowski is from Warsaw and was with the Polish Resistance. He says there are people of various nationalities at the house and that Miss Pierce will be delighted to arrange for Foyle to meet them. Hilda looks anything but delighted.

Sam's uncle finds her in the vicarage trying to glue together pieces of the glass vase from Ted Harper's grave. She says that she is trying to help with the investigation. Stewart comments that always she wanted to be a detective, and she replies that she is one now and has been with the police for a whole year. She says that she has a theory. She thinks the hoax telephone caller wanted the vicar out of the way so that he could steal something. Perhaps he took the vase but then dropped it. She explains that she's mending the vase to see if she can figure out if it's worth anything. Her uncle squashes her theory by telling her that it was bought in Woolworth's.

Sam then asks him about the loiterer he mentioned. Stewart says he doesn't think the man is from Hill House as he always seems to be watching the others. He gives her a description.

As Foyle walks with Hilda and Wintringham through the grounds of Hill House, the colonel points out that the place comes under his jurisdiction and while Foyle is there, so does he. He tells the DCS that he must restrict his investigation to William Messenger and before he leaves, he must report back directly to him (Wintringham) as CO. He asks if that is clear, and Foyle replies, "It certainly is."

Wintringham tells him that he will arrange a bed for him and that Miss Pierce will arrange for his things to be brought over.

As they walk, from an upstairs window Leo Maccoby is watching Foyle through the sights of a rifle.

Thursday evening.
That evening, in the Hastings police station, Sergeant Rivers reports to Milner that Mrs Thorndyke managed to shake off surveillance in the railway station by going into the ladies' convenience and simply disappearing. Milner asks what trains were scheduled through Hastings at the time, and learns that one would be going to Brighton and then on to Leavenham.

Milner learns that Fenner is in hospital, and visits him there. Fenner tells him what he saw that night.

Wintringham takes Foyle into the lounge of Hill House and introduces him to the occupants: Jan Komorowski, Major Stafford, Jacques Dumont, Leo Maccoby and Mark Nicholson. Maccoby mutters sourly that they have already met. The colonel explains why the detective is there, and then leaves.

Foyle asks Mark Nicholson if he is the writer with that name. Nicholson says that in another life he used to write crime stories, and asks Foyle if he reads such. When Foyle says he does, Nicholson jokes that he probably always guesses the ending.

Dumont says he thinks this is a test and that Foyle is not a real police officer. Maccoby says he's a policeman all right, explaining that they know each other. He says to Foyle that he had hoped he would never see him again, and Foyle replies that the feeling was mutual.

In Wintringham's office, the colonel tells Hilda that Admiral Francis says they can have a ship. Hilda says she thinks they should wait and says Facteur's death was their fault because they didn't wait for the right information. Wintringham snaps back that they had to move when the transport was ready. The two mutually acknowledge their unease at having to work together.

Maccoby confronts Foyle in a hallway in Hill House. The DCS calls him by the surname of Mason, saying that you can change the name but not the man, and asks if the SOE really needs a brothel owner. Maccoby says he was doing no one any harm, but that Foyle put him away for seven years. The SOE got him out because he understands people's weaknesses. He says the war has changed everything: he is useful now and Foyle is redundant. As Foyle makes to walk past him, Maccoby warns him to watch his step. "There are hundreds of ways to kill a man and we know them all."

Foyle asks if one of them was used on Messenger. Maccoby replies that it had nothing to do him, it was just one of those things. Foyle walks away. Maccoby looks grim.

Friday morning.
Sam cycles to the Red Lion pub to speak with the landlord. She tells him that she is on an investigation and gives him the description of the loiterer. He says there is no one like that there but she could try Farmer Parkin's place as he has a lodger.

In the lounge of Hill House, Nicholson spreads a deck of cards on the table. He asks Foyle to name a card and immediately produces the one chosen. Foyle asks if he does anything else there apart from card tricks, and Nicholson says he'll show him something.

He places a threepenny bit (small three pence coin) on end between the fingers and thumb of his slightly cupped left hand, and then holds his hands apart. Without moving his left hand, he appears to take the coin away with his right, but when he opens his right hand, it is empty. Foyle smiles and says, "Well, if we can't beat the Germans, we can always entertain 'em."

Nicholson explains that the move is called the French drop, and shows how it was done. When the fingers of the right hand cover the coin as if to take it, the coin is allowed to drop into the palm of the left hand. It is not noticed because the right hand is immediately swept away to the right and then opened to reveal that it is empty, drawing the watcher's eye. Nicholson says it is classic misdirection. "A bit like you and this business of William Messenger, perhaps."

Foyle asks what he means. Nicholson explains that he worked in the now depleted Section D before being recruited by the SOE and he believes that Sir Giles feels undermined by the organisation, and is determined to shut it down. Foyle asks about William. Nicholson says that the man didn't get on with his father. He assumes that it was Sir Giles who sent the DCS, and says the man is using his son's death to try to destroy the SOE. Foyle says, "Well, I've told you why I'm here."

Nicholson replies, "Maybe I do you a disservice. But I'll tell you one thing. All this may just seem like party tricks to you – misdirection, sleight of hand. But think what will happen if we can make the Germans think that there are a hundred Spitfires in a field when in fact there are none. Suppose we can make an advancing army look like an empty street."

Foyle looks thoughtful.

Outside the house, the DCS is watching an instruction session on explosives when Jan Komorowski approaches him and asks if there is doubt about the suicide. He thinks Messenger would have said something to him because he was his friend.

The Pole knows nothing about a girlfriend. Foyle asks about the mood Messenger was in when he visited his parents. Komorowski says he was excited about going to Rouen, but in the end he didn't go because the colonel changed his mind at the last minute. If his friend killed himself, it was because of that, not over a girl. When he remarks that it would have made no difference anyway, Foyle asks what he means. Komorowski tells him that the man who was sent in Messenger's place was an agent called Facteur from another station. The agent was killed, so if Messenger had not taken his life, he would still have died.

In the village, Sam spots a man fitting the description of the loiterer, and follows him. He enters a telephone box and appears to make a call.

Mid morning.
Foyle finds Jacques Dumont sitting in the dining room of Hill House doing a newspaper crossword puzzle. As he pours a cup of tea, he asks Dumont from which part of France he comes. The man tells him it is Paris and stands up to leave. Foyle asks which part of Paris. Dumont replies that it is Montparnasse and begins to walk away. Foyle draws his attention to the newspaper he has left behind and when he stops to pick it up, takes the opportunity to ask him further questions.

Dumont says that he didn't know Messenger very well, but agrees that he was upset at not being allowed to go to France. Foyle asks, "Why did you throw your cap into the ring?"

Dumont queries the expression and when Foyle explains it means to be a part of this, he tells him any Frenchman wants to help get the Nazis out of Paris where they are treading on French culture. Dumont refers to the Louvre and Notre Dame, then mentions the French beating the English at football ten years before. Foyle remembers it well and quotes the score, 5-2, saying that it hurt. He thanks Dumont for helping and says he hopes that it won't be too long before the Frenchman sees Paris Montparnasse play again. Dumont says he hopes so too, and leaves.

As Foyle and Wintringham walk through the ground floor of Hill House, Foyle asks about Sir Giles wanting to close down the SOE. The colonel is unhappy that someone has been talking, and doesn't answer the question. Foyle queries the wisdom of recruiting Messenger's son when knowing that his father was already against them. Wintringham says the son came to them and that it could have been to spite his father, but he wouldn't know. He wonders why the detective asks the question and Foyle replies that he's just curious. Wintringham smiles and says that the DCS would fit in very well at Hill House. To Foyle's surprise and displeasure, also says that he understands that he is looking to do more for the war effort. "Why end up pen-pushing for Sir Percy Noble when we could use you here?"

Foyle says he doesn't think he'd get on with the sort of people employed there. Wintringham says that putting Maccoby in prison was the waste of a good man. Foyle says he was a pimp who used girls of fifteen, and the colonel responds, "The waste of a bad man, then."

A woman in her late thirties enters the building and walks towards them. Wintringham is startled and says he wasn't expecting her so soon. A look of dismay crosses the woman's face when she turns to Foyle as the colonel introduces them. He gives her name as Evelyn Cresswell and she smiles and says hello to Foyle, but shoots a puzzled glance at Wintringham when he adds that she is his secretary.

Foyle remarks that they have met, but Evelyn says she thinks not. Wintringham tells her that there are letters waiting to be typed and as Evelyn exits, tells Foyle that his driver will be called.

In Hastings, Sergeant Rivers alerts Milner to the fact that Marion Greenwood is in the railway station waiting for the Brighton train that is due in twenty minutes.

In the Leavenham vicarage, Sam announces to her uncle that she's discovered that the loiterer has a room at Farmer Parkin's place. She spotted him and followed him. He made a call from the telephone box in Beeches Lane and then went home. Stewart says that he can't have made a call because the box has been out of order since some soldiers cut through the cable on a training exercise.

In the storeroom at Hill House, Maccoby takes a box of powder from a shelf. He is disturbed by Stafford, who tells him he shouldn't be in there.

Sam sees another man apparently making a call from the phone box in Beeches Lane. She waits until he has gone, and investigates the kiosk. Unable to get a response from the phone, she searches around and in the small drawer in the base of the telephone, finds a buff envelope stamped "Official" and "Private & Confidential". She takes it.

Early afternoon.
As Foyle awaits Sam's arrival at Hill House, Stafford speaks with him. The major talks of the kind of things they do in the organisation. He makes a point of mentioning that they have a powder that can make a car's wheels lock. Foyle is puzzled as to why he should do so, but the major doesn't expand on it. He says he won't talk about Messenger's death. He also says that, although he and Foyle are both policemen, they are from different worlds and the DCS doesn't really belong in Hill House. Foyle agrees. Stafford tells him to leave them alone and not to tar them all with the same brush.

Maccoby challenges Wintringham about having allowed Foyle into Hill House and says that the detective will find him out. The colonel says he has nothing to hide, but Maccoby says there is no way that Messenger committed suicide over a girl, because he didn't like girls. He threatens to tell Foyle, but then says, "Or maybe we should just get rid of him. Get him out of here permanently. You think about that."

Sam collects her boss, saying that she was worried that they weren't going to let him out, to which he responds, "So was I!"
"So what do they actually do here?"
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you."
"Are you going to?"

As they drive away from Hill House, Foyle asks Sam if she has spoken to Milner. She says that she hasn't had time and triumphantly announces that she has found an envelope containing a letter and a map.

At that moment, an oncoming taxi passes them and they recognise the passenger as Marion Greenwood. Foyle does not wish to turn around and follow.

Suddenly, Sam realises that she has lost control of the Wolseley's steering, and a minute later the car careers over to the side of the road and buries its nose in the side of a wooden farm building. Foyle is unhurt, but Sam has a small gash over her right eye.

At the vicarage, Sam's uncle gives her a cup of tea. Milner has come from Hastings by train and tells them that he was following Marion. At Leavenham railway station she had got in a taxi and headed for Hill House.

Sam asks if the map of Rouen she found is of any help. The letter says it is a copy of a map used by an agent. The figures 101040 appear at the top. Sam assumes that it is a map reference but Foyle is not so sure.

The vicar says it's all to do with Hill House, but Foyle says it is also to do with his church. He is interested in the grave of Ted Harper, and tells Stewart that he is sorry that he is going to have to disturb the peace and quite of the churchyard.

Saturday morning.
The grave of Ted Harper is opened. Stewart asks what Foyle expects to find, and the DCS replies that he does not expect to find anything. He is not disappointed; the grave contains a coffin, but it's empty.

Foyle returns to Hill House. As he enters, two Redcaps are escorting Maccoby out. He curses the detective as he passes and receives in return, "Nice to see you again, Mr Mason. Bye!"

Foyle spots Stafford in the reception area and asks him about the powder that could lock a car's wheels. He is told the technical name is carborundum powder. Foyle says the major knew what was going to happen and Stafford replies that a man like Maccoby has no place at Hill House. "There's dirty tricks and dirty tricks, but you have to decide how dirty you want to be."

"Well, thank you if you were trying to warn me. I just wish you'd been a little less covert about it."

Foyle walks in on Wintringham talking mission details with three of his agents while Hilda Pierce looks on. The colonel tells him that it is not a good moment, but Foyle says it is a perfectly good one for him. The DCS proceeds to tell Wintringham that he has proved himself incompetent in several ways. Firstly, he is directly responsible for the failure of the organisation's recent operation in France, which got an agent killed because his map, dated 10th October last year, gave no indication that the Germans had since moved in and mined the area. Secondly, a spy has been allowed to operate in Hill House. Classified information in the letter indicates he is from MI6. Foyle says that the items were left lying about in a disused phone box to be collected. "You're as bad as each other."

A subdued Wintringham asks if Foyle can reveal the identity of the spy. Foyle replies that it's not part of his brief, but says that if he were the colonel, he would look for someone posing as a Frenchman, who does the Times crossword but claims not to understand basic English idioms, and who does not know Paris Montparnasse is a railway station, not a football team. Foyle gives the map and letter to Dumont, saying, "You dropped these."

In his native English accent, Dumont owns up, saying that he is amazed that he got away with it for so long. He says they will have to address any questions to his CO. Wintringham realises that he means Sir Giles Messenger.

After Dumont has been escorted out of the room, Foyle says that it would seem the man did not know the whole story. Wintringham asks what he means and Foyle explains. Messenger wasn't replaced on the mission. He was the agent called Facteur, which is French for postman – everybody's messenger. He did not commit suicide, he died in France.

Hilda tells Wintringham to tell Foyle the truth. He says he won't, so Hilda does it for him. She says they had a special duty flight, but no recent information about the area around Rouen. The colonel sent ahead, regardless, and Messenger was dropped over St Etienne. He was killed almost at once without making contact with the French. "Sir Giles Messenger was waiting for us to make one last mistake and we dropped his son in a minefield. How were we going to tell him that?"

Foyle asks why Sir Giles' son of all people was sent in the first place. Wintringham says he wanted to go because if he came back a hero, his father would have to change his opinion of the SOE. Foyle says that he has no interest in their interdepartmental squabbles, his concern is with the law. Wintringham snaps that they have done nothing illegal, nothing to be ashamed of and nothing they can't justify.

Foyle points out that taking a body from a grave to substitute it for Messenger was illegal. They then rendered it unrecognisable by means of a grenade. How could they justify that? They fabricated evidence: the watch, the rented room, the Hastings landlady, the forged suicide letter and the girlfriend. All those involved wasted police time and perverted the course of justice. Foyle adds that one of the colonel's men tried to kill him. "Illegal. All morally unacceptable. How would you like to justify it?"

Wintringham replies, "Necessities of war, Mr Foyle, in which there is no morality. You fail to grasp this. In truth, I don't like it any more than you do, but it's part of our existence. It's what we're for."

As Hilda walks with Foyle to the front gate, she pleads with him. She says that Wintringham goes too far and will not survive in his position for much longer. He and she do not matter, but the organisation does and the people involved have great courage and commitment to their country. The cover up of how William Messenger died was a mad scheme, but in the end, what real harm had it done? Foyle asks if she does not think the Messengers have a right to know what happened to their son. She replies by asking if he thinks they'd be happy to know their son died as a result of a stupid mistake. He responds with feeling that they might prefer to remember him as a war hero rather than a suicide.

Hilda makes one last bid for Foyle's help. "Well tell them – but not yet. Wait until the war is over. Give us our chance. Until now we've been fighting this war using conventional methods and we're losing, Mr Foyle. But I swear to you, one day we will make a difference."

Foyle understands, but finds the situation extremely difficult. "I won't lie for you."
"I'm not asking you to do that. I'm asking you to wait before you reveal the truth."

A car pulls up nearby and Sir Giles and Lady Anne Messenger climb out. Hilda explains to Foyle that she invited them to come and collect their son's belongings.

The Messengers are surprised to see the detective. Sir Giles reminds him that when he visited their house he led them to believe that there was something to investigate concerning their son's death. Foyle says, "That's right."
Lady Anne asks, "Is it true? Have you found something?"
Hilda looks at Foyle and holds her breath. He looks back at her and slowly, choosing his words carefully, he replies, "It seems that I was misinformed."

Lady Anne turns and begins to walk to the house, but Sir Giles draws close to the DCS. He is very angry. "You haven't heard the last of this, Foyle. Seems to me, you've grossly exceeded the limits of your authority. Percy Noble at the Admiralty was speaking to me about you. You may put any idea of joining the service out of your mind!"

He follows his wife to the house.

Foyle stands in silence, sick at heart. Hilda realises what his decision to help the SOE has cost him and she looks at him with intense gratitude.

Sam and Milner wait for their boss at the vicarage gate. Sam is contemplating the future and in gloomy mood. She says to Milner that he can't really leave Hastings because what would we they do without him? They are a team, aren't they – all for one and one for all?

Milner takes her mind off it by reaching into the car and producing the large onion Sam had seen in the station. He laughs and says that he won the raffle, and she can have half the prize. Sam is absolutely delighted. She plonks a kiss on the onion and another on Milner's cheek.

Aubrey Stewart walks with Foyle to the gate. Stewart comments that it looks as though he won't be leaving the police force after all. Foyle replies quietly, "It seems so."

Climbing into the car, he says to Sam and Milner, "Let's go, it's a long way back." Calling goodbye to her uncle, Sam starts the engine of the Wolseley, and the team heads home.

"Progress might have been all right once, but it has gone on too long." ~ Ogden Nash
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