Top Secret by W.E.B. GriffinTop Secret by W.E.B. Griffin

Top Secret

byW.E.B. Griffin, William E. Butterworth

Paperback | July 28, 2015

Pricing and Purchase Info

$10.43 online 
$12.99 list price save 19%
Earn 52 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores


From the #1 New York Times bestselling authors, a brand-new series about the Cold War—and a different breed of warrior.

In the first weeks after World War II, James D. Cronley, Jr., is recruited for a new enterprise that will eventually be transformed into something called the CIA. For a new war has already begun against an enemy that is bigger, smarter, and more vicious: the Soviet Union.

The Soviets have hit the ground running, and Cronley’s job is to help frustrate them, harass them, and spy on them any way he can. But his first assignment might be his last. He’s got only seven days to extract a vital piece of information from a Soviet agent, and he’s already managed to rile up his superior officers. If he fails now, his intelligence career could be the shortest in history.

Because there are enemies everywhere—and, as Cronley is about to find out, some of them wear the same uniform he does…
W.E.B. Griffin is the author of six other bestselling series: The Corps, Brotherhood of War, Badge of Honor, Men at War, Honor Bound, and Presidential Agent series. He has been invested into the orders of St. George of the U.S. Armor Association and St. Michael of the Army Aviation Association of America, and is a life member of the U....
Title:Top SecretFormat:PaperbackDimensions:560 pages, 7.51 × 4.25 × 1.18 inPublished:July 28, 2015Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0515155616

ISBN - 13:9780515155617

Look for similar items by category:


Rated 5 out of 5 by from TOP Secret web Griffin CPT JAMES CRONLEY AS THE STORY TOLD A SECRET If more then three know about it, its not a secret any longer glad thatthe Capt relized that being in charge isn't what it creaks up to be first mistake 2 mistake never , never lay a senior officers wife even if she undress in front of you . Behavior unbecomlng , decrease in rank or bad discharge.
Date published: 2015-01-16

Read from the Book

I[ ONE ]National AirportAlexandria, Virginia0405 25 October 1945The triple-tail Lockheed Constellation with howell petroleum letteredon its fuselage came in low over the Potomac River, lowered itsgear, put down its huge flaps, and touched smoothly down at thevery end of the main north-south runway.Her four engines roared as the pilot quickly moved the propellersinto reverse pitch and shoved her throttles forward. When the Conniefinally stopped, she was very uncomfortably close to the far endof the runway and her tires were smoking.The pilot radioed: “National, Howell One on the ground at sixpast the hour. Request taxi instructions.”“Howell One, turn and take Taxiway One on your right. Holdthere.”“Howell One understands hold on Taxiway One.”The Constellation was the finest transport aircraft in the world.It was capable of flying forty passengers in its pressurized cabinhigher—at an altitude of 35,000 feet—and faster—it cruised at betterthan 300 knots—and for a longer distance—4,300 miles—thanany other transport aircraft in the world. When National Airporthad opened in June 1941, it had been not much more than a pencilsketch in the notebook of legendary aviator Howard Hughes, whoowned, among a good deal else, the Lockheed Aircraft Company.Hughes, who had designed the Lockheed P-38 “Lightning” fighterplane, had decided that if he took his design of the P-38’s wing, enlargedit appropriately, put four engines on it, and then married it toa huge, sleek fuselage with an unusual triple-tail design, he wouldhave one hell of an airplane.“Build it,” Hughes ordered. “The Air Corps will buy it once theysee it. And if they don’t, I know at least one airline that will.”Although the Congress, in its wisdom, had decreed that airlinescould not own aircraft manufacturing companies, and vice versa, itwas widely believed that Hughes secretly owned TWA, then knownas Transcontinental & Western Airlines, and later as Trans-WorldAirlines.No sooner had Howell One stopped on Taxiway One than asmall but impressive fleet of vehicles surrounded it. There were fourFord station wagons and two large trucks. On all their doors was theinsignia of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. There was also a thirdtruck with a crane mounted in its bed, and a black 1942 Buick Road-master. Neither was marked. The Buick had a large chrome objecthousing a siren and a red light mounted on its left front fender. Finally,there was a truck carrying the logotype of National Airport. Ithad a stairway mounted in its bed.A dozen or more men in business suits and hats and carryingThompson submachine guns erupted from the station wagons as thetruck with the stairs backed up against the Constellation’s rear door.Two men in business suits got out of the Buick and quicklyclimbed the stairs up to the fuselage.They stood waiting at the top until the door was finally opened.A handsome young officer—blond, six-foot-one, 212 pounds—stood in the doorway. He was wearing an olive drab woolen “Ike”jacket and trousers. The jacket’s insignia identified him as a secondlieutenant of Cavalry. The jacket was unbuttoned, and his necktiepulled down.The two men in suits flashed him looks of surprised disapprovalas they pushed past him and entered the cabin.The cabin looked more like a living room pictured in ArchitecturalDigest than the interior of a passenger aircraft. Instead of rowsof seats, there were leather upholstered armchairs and couches scatteredalong its length. There was a desk and two tables. A full barwas at the front of the cabin. The floor was lushly carpeted.Seated in armchairs were three people: a tall, sharp-featured, elegantlytailored septuagenarian; a stocky, short-haired blond womanin her late forties; and an attractive, tanned, and athletic-lookingyoung woman of about twenty.They were, respectively, Cletus Marcus Howell, president andchairman of the board of the Howell Petroleum Corporation; hisdaughter-in-law, Martha Williamson Howell; and her daughter—theold man’s granddaughter—Marjorie.“I’m Assistant Deputy Director Kelly of the FBI,” the older of thetwo men who had come into the cabin announced. He was in hisfifties, wore spectacles, and had a short haircut. “Welcome to Washington.”No one responded.“Where is the officer-in-charge?” Kelly asked.The old man pointed to the young officer standing at the door.“You just walked past him,” he said.“I asked for the officer-in-charge, sir,” Kelly snapped.“Sonny,” the old man said, “I hate to rain on your parade, but ifthat FBI army you have with you was intended to dazzle me, it hasfailed to do so.”“Dad!” the older woman said warningly.Her daughter smiled.There came the sound of a siren, and then the squealing of brakes,and finally the faint sound of car doors slamming closed.A moment later, three men came into the cabin.One wore the uniform of a rear admiral. Another, an Army brigadiergeneral, was in “pinks and greens”—a green tunic with pinktrousers. The third, a colonel, wore an Army olive drab uniform.The colonel stopped just inside the door to both shake the handof the young officer, then affectionately pat his shoulder.“You done real good, Jimmy,” Colonel Robert Mattingly said.“Thank you, sir,” Second Lieutenant James D. Cronley Jr. replied.“Admiral,” Kelly said.“What are you doing here, Kelly?” Rear Admiral Sidney W.Souers, U.S. Navy, demanded coldly.“Self-evidently,” Kelly announced, “the FBI is here to guaranteethe security of the cargo aboard this aircraft until it can be placed inthe hands of the Manhattan Project.”The door to the cockpit opened and a man wearing an airline-type uniform stepped into the cabin. His tunic carried the fourgolden stripes of a captain.Admiral Souers turned to him.“Any problems, Ford?”The “captain,” who was in fact U.S. Navy Commander RichardW. Ford, came to attention.“None, Admiral,” he said.Souers turned to Kelly.“Thank you for your interest, Mr. Kelly. You and your peoplemay go.”“Admiral, the FBI will stay here until the cargo is in the hands ofthe Manhattan Project.”Souers gestured toward the man in pink and greens.“This is General Tomlinson of the Manhattan Project, Mr. Kelly.You may report to Mr. Hoover, if you are here at his orders, that youwitnessed my turning over of the cargo to the Manhattan Project.”Kelly, white-faced, didn’t reply.“Are you going to leave, taking your people with you, Mr. Kelly?Or am I going to have to go down to my car, get on the radio, wakethe President up, explain the situation to him and ask him to callDirector Hoover and tell him to tell you your presence here is notrequired?”Kelly turned on his heels, made an impatient gesture for the manwith him to follow, and left the cabin.Souers shook his head as he looked away from the door.“How did those sonsofbitches manage to beat us here?” he askedrhetorically. He then quickly added, “Pardon the language, ladies.”“My daughter-in-law and granddaughter have heard the word before,”Cletus Marcus Howell said.“Mattingly, do you think Hoover has someone in my office?”Souers asked.Mattingly shrugged. “Sir, I would not like to think so. But . . .”“Admiral,” Commander Ford said, “the FBI must have had peopleat the airport in Miami . . .”“Where you refueled,” Souers instantly picked up his thought.“With orders to keep an eye out for a civilian Constellation comingfrom South America.”“And they called Washington,” Mattingly added. “When theylearned you had filed a nonstop flight plan to National.”“And instead of calling me,” Souers concluded, “the FBI—probably J. Edgar himself—decided to meet the plane here.”“Why?” General Tomlinson asked.“J. Edgar is very good at turning any situation so that it shines aflattering light on the FBI,” Souers said.He turned and walked back to Second Lieutenant Cronley.“I have a message for you, son, from President Truman,” he said.“Yes, sir?”“Quote Well done unquote.”“Thank you, sir.”“The President also said he wants to see you. That won’t happentoday, but when it does, I wouldn’t be surprised if he said you canreplace your golden bar with a silver one. But . . .”Souers stopped as a colonel in an olive drab uniform with Corpsof Engineers insignia appeared in the doorway.“Good morning, Broadhead,” General Tomlinson said. “Come in.”“Good morning, sir.”“Admiral Souers,” Tomlinson said, “this is Colonel Broadhead,who will take charge of the cargo.”Souers nodded, and then asked of Cronley, “Where is it, son?”“In the cargo hold, sir.”“How hot is it?” Colonel Broadhead asked.Commander Ford answered for him.“There are six packages, Colonel. Each weighing a little overtwo hundred pounds. They’re roped so as to be manhandle-able.Each came with two lead blankets, each weighing about a hundredpounds. With the blankets off, my Geiger counter indicated significant,but not life-threatening, radiation within a two-hour period.With the lead blankets in place, the counter shows only insignificantradiation.”“You are?” Broadhead asked.Ford looked to Souers for permission to answer the question.Souers nodded, just perceptibly.“Commander Richard Ford, sir.”Broadhead then said, “Where did you first put the Geiger counterto it, Commander? On the submarine?”“Colonel,” Souers snapped, “who told you anything about a submarine?”“Admiral,” General Tomlinson put in, “Colonel Broadhead hasworked for me in the Manhattan Project for three years. He has allthe necessary security clearances.”“That’s very nice, General,” Souers said unpleasantly. “But myquestion to the colonel with all the necessary security clearances was‘Who said something—anything—to him about a submarine?’ ”“Sir,” Broadhead said, “one of my duties at the Manhattan Projectwas to keep an eye on the German efforts in that area. I knew theyhad some uranium oxide—from the Belgian Congo—and I heardabout the missing German U-boats. When I heard that the OSS wasabout to turn over to us a half ton of it that they’d acquired in Argentina,it seemed to me the most logical place for the OSS to have gottenit was from one of the missing U-boats.”Souers went on: “And did you share this assumption of yours,Colonel, with a bunch of other colonels—all with the necessary securityclearances—while you were sitting around having a beer?”Broadhead, sensing where the line of questioning was headed, replied,“Yes, sir. I’m afraid I did.”“Not that it excuses you in any way, Colonel,” Souers said icily,“but you’re just one of a great many stupid senior sonsof . . . officerswith all the necessary security clearances who think it’s perfectly allright to share anything they know with anyone else who has suchclearances. Now do you take my point? Or do I have to order you notto share with anyone anything you’ve seen or heard here today or anyassumptions you may make from what you have seen or heard?”“Sir, I take your point.”Souers let the exchange sink in for a very long twenty seconds,and then ordered, “Ford, answer the colonel’s question.”“When Cronley seized the cargo, sir,” Ford said, “he did not havea Geiger counter device.”“May I ask who Cronley is? And why he didn’t have a radiationdetection device?”Admiral Souers turned to Cronley. “Son, I’m going to give ColonelBroadhead the benefit of the doubt, meaning I am presumingthat he has a reason beyond idle curiosity in asking it. Therefore, youmay answer those questions.”“Yes, sir,” Cronley said, then looked at Broadhead. “Sir, I’m SecondLieutenant James D. Cronley Junior. The first Geiger counter Iever saw was the one Commander Ford used on the . . . packages thatI took off . . . wherever they were and gave to him.”“I predict a great military career for this fine young officer,” AdmiralSouers said. “I’m sure everyone noticed that he didn’t say ‘submarine’or ‘U-boat’ or ‘uranium oxide’ even once.”Souers let that sink in for another ten seconds, and then went on:“Now my curiosity is aroused. Why did you want to know, Broadhead,if the Geiger counter had been used on . . . wherever thesepackages were when Cronley seized them?”“Sir, I was hoping that someone looked for radiation that mighthave leaked from the packages while they were on the sub—” Hestopped.“Now that the cat’s out of the bag, Colonel,” Souers said, “youcan say ‘submarine.’ You can even say ‘U-boat’ and ‘uranium oxide.’ ”“Yes, sir.”Souers looked at Cletus Marcus Howell, who was grinning widely.“Please don’t think this is funny, Mr. Howell,” he said.“That was a smile of approval, Admiral. From one mean sonofabitchto another.”“Dad, for God’s sake!” Martha Howell said.“I will take that as a compliment, Mr. Howell,” Souers said.“It was intended as one,” the old man said.Souers turned to Broadhead.“You think the submarine may be hot, Broadhead?”“I think it’s possible, sir. The uranium oxide was on the submarinefor a couple of months, maybe even longer.”“Mattingly, get that word to Frade just as soon as we’re finishedhere,” Souers ordered. “We don’t want to sterilize half the brighterofficers of the Armada Argentina, do we?”“Yes, sir,” Colonel Mattingly said, smiling. “And no, sir, we certainlywouldn’t want to do that.”Second Lieutenant Cronley chuckled.“I don’t understand that,” Cletus Marcus Howell said.“Possibly, Dad,” his daughter-in-law said, “because you’re not supposedto. It’s none of your business.”“Actually, with apologies to the ladies, I was being crude in ordernot to have to say ‘suffer radiation poisoning,’ ” Souers said. “And,ma’am, the President ordered me to answer any questions Mr. Howellmight have.”“I thought I told you, Martha,” the old man said, “that ole Harryand I have the honor to be Thirty-third Degree Masons. We cantrust one another.”“May I ask who ‘Frade’ is?” Broadhead said. “And if he’s qualifiedto conduct an examination of this kind?”“No, Colonel, you may not. You don’t have the Need to Know,”Souers said. “Are you and General Tomlinson about ready to get thecargo moving?”“At your orders, Admiral,” Tomlinson said.“Then may I suggest you get going?”“Yes, sir.”“Show them how to get into the cargo bay, Ford.”“Aye, aye, sir.”Cronley made a move suggesting he was going with them.Souers held up his hand. “Unless the commander can’t find thecargo without your help, son, you stay here.”“Yes, sir,” Cronley said.Souers waited until enough time had passed for Tomlinson,Broadhead, and Ford to have gone down the stairway, then walked tothe door to make sure they had.He turned to Cronley.“The next problem we have, son, is what to do with you. My firstthought, when we first heard of what you had done, was regret thatyou were coming with the uranium oxide.”“For Christ’s sake, Admiral,” Cletus Marcus Howell exploded.“You wouldn’t have that goddamned radioactive dirt if it wasn’t forJimmy! It seems to me a little gratitude is in order. Starting with aleave so that he can go to Texas and see his father and mother.”Souers ignored him.“In the best of all possible worlds,” Souers went on, “you wouldalready be back in Germany. But the worst-case scenario has happened.Hoover now knows your name and that you have had somethingto do with the uranium ore. He will now be determined tolearn that precise relationship.”“And Truman can’t tell him to mind his own business?” the oldman asked. “I think he will if I ask him. And I goddamned sure will.I figure ole Harry owes me a little favor—hell, a large favor. Youknow what it costs by the hour to fly this airplane? And I don’t mindat all calling it in.”“I hope I can talk you out of doing that, Mr. Howell. The problemthere is that if the President tells Hoover to mind his own business,all that will do is whet Hoover’s curiosity. And we have to keepin mind that the ore isn’t the only thing Cronley knows about.”“You mean the Germans we sneaked into Argentina?”Souers nodded. “That whole operation.”“And you don’t trust Jimmy to keep his mouth shut, is that it?That’s insulting!”“The less he tells the FBI agents that Hoover certainly is going tosend to ‘interview’ him, the greater their—Hoover’s—curiosity isgoing to be. I don’t want—can’t permit—the ax of Hoover learningabout the Gehlen operation to be hanging over the President.”“I understand this, Mr. Howell,” Cronley said, then met Souers’seyes. “Sir, I’m perfectly willing to go back to Germany right away.”“And then where do we get married?” Marjorie Howell demanded.“In the ruins of Berlin? Maybe we could get married in that bunkerwhere Hitler married his mistress the day before he shot her. Thatwould be romantic as hell, wouldn’t it?”“Chip off the old block, isn’t she, Admiral?” the old man said,smiling with obvious pride. “She’s got my genes. I advise you not tocross her.”“Squirt,” Cronley said. “This is important stuff.”“So far as I’m concerned, getting married is pretty importantstuff,” she said.“Not that I think the admiral is at all interested,” Martha Howellsaid, “but I thought you and Beth wanted a double wedding. And Ican’t set up something like that in less than three months.”“You wanted the double wedding, Mother,” Marjorie said. “Let’sget that straight. Beth would like to get married today. And so, goddamnit, would I, now that I think about it.”“I’m afraid your marriage plans are going to have to be put onhold until we get this straightened out, Miss Howell,” Souers said.“On hold for how long?” Marjorie demanded. “Or is that anotherclassified secret?”“Yes, it is classified,” Souers said. “Highly classified. LieutenantCronley is right, Miss Howell. This is very important stuff.”“So you’re going to send him right back to Germany?” Marjoriesaid. “ ‘Thank you for all you’ve done, Lieutenant. Don’t let the knobon the airplane door hit you in the ass as you get on board.’ ”“That’s quite enough, Marjorie!” her mother announced.“Cool it, Squirt,” Cronley said. “I’m a soldier. I obey my orders.”“I would like to send him back to Germany immediately, MissHowell,” Souers said. “But unfortunately, that’s not possible. PresidentTruman wants to see him before he goes back, and that’s it.”“You’re going to explain that, right?” Cletus Marcus Howell said.“What Colonel Mattingly suggested, and what we’re going to do,is put Lieutenant Cronley on ice, so to speak, until the President’sschedule is such that he can see him.”“What does ‘on ice, so to speak’ mean, Admiral?” Marjorie said.“Well, since we can’t put him in a hotel, or at Fort Myer, becauseJ. Edgar’s minions would quickly find him, what we’re going to dois put him in the Transient Officers’ Quarters at Camp Holabird.That’s in Baltimore. Mattingly tells me junior CIC officers passingthrough the Washington area routinely stay there—it’s a dollar and ahalf a night—so he won’t attract any attention. Mattingly will arrangefor them to misplace his registry card, so if the FBI calls forhim they can say they have no record of him being there.”“And how long will he be there?” the old man asked.“Just until he sees the President. And on that subject, Mr. Howell,the President would like to see you there at the same time. And hewould be furious with me if he later learned that your granddaughterand Mrs. Howell were here and I hadn’t brought you along to theWhite House for his meeting with Lieutenant Cronley.”“And after he meets with the President, he gets on the plane toGermany?” Marjorie said.Souers nodded.“If Jimmy goes to Germany, I’m going to Germany,” Marjoriethen announced.“We’ll talk about that, dear,” Martha Howell said.“If Jimmy goes to Germany, I’m going to Germany. Period. Subject closed.”[ TWO ]The Officers’ ClubU.S. Army Counterintelligence Center & SchoolCamp Holabird1019 Dundalk Avenue, Baltimore 19, Maryland1730 25 October 1945The artwork behind the bar at which Second Lieutenant Cronley wassipping at his second scotch was more or less an oil painting. It portrayedthree soldiers wearing World War I–era steel helmets trying veryhard not to be thrown out of a Jeep bouncing three feet off the ground.Rather than an original work, it was an enlargement of a photographtaken at Camp Holabird in 1939. The U.S. Army QuartermasterCorps, which had then reigned over Camp Holabird, was testingthe new Willys-designed vehicle. Some GI artist had colored the photographwith oil paints.Cronley had heard the rumor that it was at Camp Holabirdthat the vehicle—officially known as “Truck, ¼ Ton, 4×4, GeneralPurpose”—first had been dubbed “Jeep,” from the G and P in GeneralPurpose.He wasn’t sure if this was true or just lore. Or bullshit, like therumors circulating among the student officers and enlisted menabout My Brother’s Place, the bar directly across Dundalk Avenuefrom the main gate. That lore, or bullshit, held that an unnamed“foreign power” had a camera with a long-range lens installed in anupstairs window with which they were taking photographs of everyonecoming out the gate.That, the lore said, would of course pose enormous problems forthe students when they graduated and were sent “into the field.”His thoughts were interrupted when a voice beside him said,“Cronley, isn’t it?”He turned and saw the speaker was a major.“Yes, sir.”The major offered his hand. “Remember me, Cronley? MajorDerwin? ‘Techniques of Surveillance’?”“Yes, sir, of course. Good to see you again, sir.”“So they sent you back, did they, to finish the course?”“Just passing through, sir.”“From where to where, if I can ask?”“Munich to Munich, sir. With a brief stop here. I was the escortofficer for some classified documents.”That bullshit came to me naturally. I didn’t even have to wonderwhat cover story I should tell this guy.“Munich? I thought you’d been sent to the Twenty-second inMarburg.”“Yes, sir. I was. Then I was transferred to the Twenty-seventh.”Counterintelligence Corps units were numbered. When written,for reasons Cronley could not explain—except as a manifestation ofthe Eleventh Commandment that there were three ways to doanything, the Right Way, the Wrong Way, and the Army Way—Roman numerals were used. For example, the XXVIIth CIC Detachment.“I’m not familiar with the Twenty-seventh. Who’s the senioragent?”Is that classified? No. It’s not.The XXIIIrd CIC Detachment and what it does is classified—oh,boy, is it classified!—but not the XXVIIth. The XXVIIth is the cover forthe XXIIIrd.“Major Harold Wallace, sir.”“Wallace? Harold Wallace?”“Yes, sir.”“I don’t think I know him.”“I’m not sure if this is so, sir, but I’ve heard that Major Wallacewas in Japan, and sent to Germany because we’re so under strength.”Actually, before President Truman put the OSS out of business, Wallacehad been deputy commander of OSS Forward. I can’t tell this guythat; he doesn’t have the Need to Know. And if I did, he probablywouldn’t believe me.And, clever fellow that I am, I learned early this morning fromAdmiral Souers—who really knows how to eat someone a new analorifice—that sharing classified information one has with someone whoalso has a security clearance is something that clever fellows such as myselfjust should not do.“That would explain it,” Major Derwin said. “The personnelproblem is enormous. They scraped the bottom of the Far East CommandCIC barrel as they scraped ours here.”“Yes, sir.”As a matter of fact, Major, the morning report of the XXIIIrd CICDetachment shows a total strength of two officers—Major Wallace andme—and two EM—First Sergeant Chauncey L. Dunwiddie and SergeantFriedrich Hessinger. And we really see very little of Major Wallaceof the XXVIIth.“No offense, Cronley,” Major Derwin said.“Sir?”“It certainly wasn’t your fault that scraping the barrel here sawyou sent into the field before you were properly trained. Did you findyourself in over your head?”“Sir, that’s something of an understatement. No offense taken.”On the other hand, this morning Colonel Mattingly patted my shoulderand said, “You done good, Jimmy.”Their conversation was interrupted by the bartender, a sergeantwho was earning a little extra money by tending bar. He inquired, “Isthere a Lieutenant Crumley in here?”Speaking of the devil, that’s Colonel Mattingly, calling to tell me thePresident can’t find time for me and that he’s sending a car to take me tothe airport for my flight back to Germany.And I probably won’t even get to say goodbye to the Squirt.Shit!“There’s a Lieutenant Cronley,” Jimmy called.The bartender came to him and handed him a telephone on along cord.Jimmy said into it: “Lieutenant Cronley, sir.”“Sergeant Killian at the gate, Lieutenant,” the caller replied.“There’s a civilian lady here wanting to see you. A Miss Howell.Should I pass her through?”Cronley’s heart jumped.“After first giving her directions to the officers’ club, absolutely!”“Yes, sir.”Cronley handed the phone back to the bartender.“My date has arrived, sir,” Cronley said to Major Derwin.We never had a date, come to think of it.One moment, Squirt was Clete’s annoying little sister, and the nextwe were . . . involved.“Ah, to be young!” Major Derwin said. “You just got here, andalready you’re playing the field.”Cronley smiled but didn’t reply.Derwin had a helpful thought and expressed it.“Perhaps you should go outside and wait for her. The club’s sign ispoorly lit.”“She’s a very resourceful young woman, sir. She’ll find me.”Five minutes later, the Squirt did.She stopped at the door to the bar just long enough for Jimmy tosee her, which caused his heart to thump, and then walked to him.“Hi,” she said.“Hi, yourself.” Jimmy then turned to Derwin. “Major Derwin,may I introduce Miss Marjorie Howell?”Please, Major, say “Nice to meet you” and then leave us alone.“A great pleasure, Miss Howell. When the lieutenant was a studenthere, I was his instructor in the techniques of surveillance. Obviously,I taught him well. Look what he found.”Miss Howell gave him an icy look.Please, Squirt, don’t say what you’re thinking!“Oh, really?” she asked. Then, “Jimmy, why don’t you pay yourtab? I’m pressed for time.”“Well, there’s a small problem there,” Cronley said. “All I have isFunny Money—Army of Occupation Scrip—and they won’t takethat here. I don’t suppose you’d loan me a few dollars?”She looked at him, saw on his face that he was telling the truth,and reached into her purse. She came out with a thick wad of currency,folded in half, that seemed to be made up entirely of new onehundred-dollar bills.She unfolded the wad and extended it to him. He took three ofthe hundreds.“Thank you,” he said, and then curiosity got the better of him.“What are you doing with all that money?”“I thought I might need it in Germany, so I cashed a check.”“You’re going to Germany, Miss Howell?” Major Derwin asked.“Yes, I am,” she said. “Pay the bill, please, Jimmy.”“Oh, you’re from an Army family?”“Not yet,” Marjorie said. “Thank you for entertaining Jimmyuntil I could get here, Major.”[THREE]Marjorie took Jimmy’s hand as they left the officers’ club and ledhim to a bright yellow 1941 Buick convertible.“I’ll drive,” she said. “You’ve been drinking.”He got in beside her.“Where the hell did you get the car?”“On a lot on Ninth Street. One look and I had to have it.”“You bought it?” he asked incredulously.“And since it was parked right in front of the lot, I thought Icould buy it quicker than anything else they had. I didn’t know howlong it was going to take me to get here.”“What are you going to do with it when you go to Midland?”“I’m not going to Midland. Weren’t you listening? I’m going to Germany.”“We have to talk about that,” he said.“I don’t like the way you said that.”She turned to face him. Their eyes met.“Jimmy, you sound like my mother trying to reason with me . . .”Their conversation was interrupted when the proximity of theirfaces caused a mutual involuntary act on both their parts.A minute or so later, Jimmy said, “Jesus H. Christ!” and Marjoriesaid, a little breathlessly, “Don’t let this go to your head, but as kissersgo, you’re not too bad.”A moment after that, she said, “No! God, Jimmy, not in the car!”“Sorry.”“Let’s go to a motel,” she said. “God, I can’t believe I said that!”He put his hands on her arms and moved her back behind thesteering wheel.“About you coming to Germany,” he then said. “Do you rememberwhat the major said, that he asked, ‘Oh, you’re from an Armyfamily?’ ”“What’s that got to do with anything?”“The only way you’re going to get into Germany, Squirt, is as amember of an Army family. The Army calls them ‘dependents.’ ”“I’ll get into Germany. Trust me.”“If you did, we couldn’t get married. There’s a rule about that,too. You can’t get married in Germany without permission, and theywon’t give you permission to marry unless you have less than ninetydays to serve in the theatre.”“In the theatre?”“That’s what they call it, the ‘European Theatre of Operations.’The rules are designed to keep people from marrying Germans.”“How do you know so much about this subject?” Marjorie askedsuspiciously.“Professor Hessinger delivered a lecture on the subject to Tinyand me one night when we were sitting around with nothing elseto do.”“Who the hell are they?”“They are my staff,” he said, chuckling. “If you’re going to be anArmy wife, Squirt, you’ll have to learn that all officers, includingsecond lieutenants, have staffs. Hessinger and Tiny are mine.”“If you’re trying to string me along, Jimmy, you’re never going toget to do what you tried to do a moment ago.”“Hessinger is a sergeant. Tiny Dunwiddie is a first sergeant. Interestingguys.”“I will play along with this for the next thirty seconds.”“Hessinger is a German Jew who got out of Germany just in time,went to Harvard, and then got drafted. They put him in the CICbecause he speaks German. He’s still got an accent you can cut witha knife.”“Fifteen seconds.”“Tiny is an enormous black guy. Two-thirty, six-three. He went toNorwich University in Vermont.”“Where? Ten seconds.”“Norwich is a private military college in Vermont, the oldest one,”Cronley said, now speaking so rapidly it was almost a verbal blur.Marjorie giggled, which he found surprisingly erotic.“Slow down,” she said. “You’ve got another thirty seconds.”“. . . from which, rather than waiting to graduate and get a commission,he dropped out and enlisted so he could get into the warbefore they called it off. He’s from an Army family. His ancestorswere the Buffalo Soldiers who fought the Indians. Two of his great-grandfathers were in the Tenth Cavalry, which, Tiny has told me at leasttwenty times, beat Teddy Roosevelt up San Juan Hill in Cubaduring the Spanish American War.”“And did he manage to get in the war before they called it off?”Marjorie asked, and then added: “Damn you. You’ve got me. You’reas good at that as my mother. But there better be a point to this historylesson.”“Yeah, he got in the war. Silver Star, Bronze Star, and two PurpleHearts serving with a tank destroyer battalion in the Second ArmoredDivision. Plus first sergeant’s stripes when all the sergeantssenior to him got killed or wounded. He’s one hell of a soldier.”“But they still didn’t give him a commission? Why, because hedidn’t finish college? Or because he’s Negro?”“No. Because he was needed to run the company of black troopsColonel Mattingly has guarding the Gehlen compound. I said he’s ahell of a soldier. He takes that duty, honor, country business very seriously.He knows guarding General Gehlen and his people is moreimportant than being one more second lieutenant in a tank platoonsomewhere.”“I get the feeling you really like this guy.”“Yeah, I do.”“So what about the Jewish sergeant with an accent you can cutwith a knife?”“Freddy’s hobby is reading. You never see him without a book ofsome kind in his hand. Including Army Regulations. And he remembersevery last detail of anything he’s ever read. That’s why we callhim ‘the professor.’ ”“His hobby is reading? You’re suggesting he’s a little funny?” Marjoriewaved her hand to suggest there might be a question of his sexualorientation.Jimmy laughed.“That’s not the professor’s problem. I should have said, ‘You neversee him without a tall, good-looking German blond—or two—onhis arm, and a book in the other hand.’”“And what did this Jewish Casanova with an accent rememberArmy Regulations saying about us getting married in Germany?”Jimmy told her again: The bottom lines were (a) she could not getinto Occupied Germany unless she was a dependent, and (b) even ifshe did somehow get into Occupied Germany, they could not getpermission to marry there.When he had finished, she said without much conviction, “Therehas to be a way.”“I’ve been thinking about that. Are you open to a wild idea?”“Try me.”“When I was here before, I learned that Elkton, Maryland, upnear the Pennsylvania border, is where people go when they’re eloping.Justices of the peace there will issue a marriage license, thenmarry you, and have you on your way in about an hour.”“Huh,” Marjorie said.“What I was thinking was that, since they’re going to send me—”“Where did you say Elkton, Maryland, is?”“On U.S. 1 up near the Pennsylvania border.”“I came from Washington on U.S. 1,” Marjorie said. “I know howto find it.”She reached to the dashboard, turned the ignition key, and thenpressed the starter button.

Editorial Reviews

“A thrilling new series…This incredible mix of intrigue, diplomacy and, of course, a bit of romance, is fantastic…Readers will be panting for the next novel.”—Suspense Magazine

“Those who are happy with lots of interesting period history, dry humor, and clever scheming will be amply rewarded.”—Publishers Weekly