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Jenoff, Pam - The Lost Girls of Paris by Jenoff Pam

Jenoff, Pam - The Lost Girls of Paris by Jenoff Pam

Author:Jenoff, Pam [Jenoff, Pam]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Park Row Books
Published: 2018-11-15T20:38:38+00:00


Chapter Sixteen

Eleanor

London, 1944

Eleanor stood in the door of the Director’s office, paper clutched in her hand. “Sir, something isn’t right.”

Ten minutes earlier, a message had come across the wireless. “It’s Marie,” the operator Jane had said. Eleanor raced across the room as Jane decoded the message.

It was not that Marie’s message was overdue, as had been the case after her arrival. The girl had been broadcasting regularly—in some cases more often than expected. And some of her messages sounded just fine. But that first message, which had seemed somehow off, still rankled. Eleanor had tried to tell herself that it was just Marie’s newness in the field, nerves making her typing less than smooth. There would not, could not, be further problems.

But as she scanned the paper now, her heart sank. The message purported to be from Angel. But the substance of what she was asking was wrong: “Awaiting weapons for the Maquis. Please advise the location of the next arms drop.” The message, too unguarded and overt, was not something a trained operator would ask.

And it was not just the content of the message; the stamp at the top of the message, “Security Check Assent,” which would have signaled that Marie’s bluff and true checks were both present in the coded transmission, was missing.

“Bloody hell!” Eleanor swore, crumpling the message into a ball. Jane blinked at Eleanor’s unusual loss of composure. The problem was not just Marie for which she was concerned; a compromised radio could mean a much bigger leak or breach.

Eleanor started to throw the message away. Then, thinking better of it, she smoothed out the paper and started for the Director’s office.

As she approached the Director’s door, she could tell from his hunched posture that it was not a good time and that the intrusion would not be welcome. But he would not turn her away. He looked up wearily now from the report he had been reading and set his pipe down. “Trigg?”

“It’s about one of the girls, sir.” Of course, for her it was always about the girls. “That is, her radio transmissions.” Eleanor normally hated to create any needless intrusion and risk the Director’s impatience. She wanted to be self-sufficient, capable of running the unit she’d created. But now she was too worried to care. “Look here,” she said, nearing his desk and placing the paper in front of him.

“It’s from Roux,” he observed. “A few weeks back, you were worried because she wasn’t transmitting. This is good news, isn’t it?”

“I’m afraid not, sir.” Eleanor ran her finger under the last line of the transmission: “Please advise the location of the next arms drop.” “Marie would never ask that directly, nor would Vesper, or anyone else for whom she might be transmitting.”

The Director looked up from the paper skeptically. “You always said the girl was green. Maybe she made a mistake, or was rushed.”

“I said she was innocent, perhaps even naive. Not careless. It’s more than that, sir.” He looked at her expectantly as she faltered to find more evidence to support her claim.



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