CHAPTER ONEgt; gt; “You don’t look like a Jew,” Helmut Krauss said to the mangt; reflected in the window pane.gt; Beyond the glass, rolling white waves threw themselvesgt; against the rocks of Galway Bay, the Atlantic gloweringgt; beyond. The guesthouse in Salthill was basic, but clean. Thegt; small seaside town outside Galway City hosted families fromgt; all over Ireland seeking a few days of salt air and sunshinegt; during the summer months. Sometimes it provided beds forgt; unmarried couples, fornicators and adulterers with the nervegt; to bluff their way past the morally upright proprietors of suchgt; establishments.gt; Krauss knew so because he had enjoyed the company of severalgt; ladies in guesthouses like this one, taking bracing walks alonggt; the seafront, enduring overcooked meals in mostly empty dininggt; rooms, then finally rattling the headboard of whatever bed theygt; had taken. He carried a selection of wedding rings in his pocket,gt; alongside the prophylactics.gt; This dreary island, more grey than green, so choked by thegt; Godly, provided him few pleasures. So why not enjoy the oddgt; sordid excursion with a needful woman?gt; Perhaps Krauss should have allowed himself the luxury of agt; decent hotel in the city, but a funeral, even if for a close friend,gt; did not seem a fitting occasion. The security might have beengt; better, though, and this visitor might not have gained entry sogt; easily. For a moment, Krauss felt an aching regret, but immediatelygt; dismissed it as foolishness. Had he been the kind of mangt; who submitted to regret, he would have hanged himself tengt; years ago.gt; “Are you a Jew?” Krauss asked.gt; The reflection shifted. “Maybe. Maybe not.”gt; “I saw you at the funeral,” Krauss said. “It was a beautifulgt; service.”gt; “Very,” the reflection said. “You wept.”gt; “He was a good man,” Krauss said. He watched seagulls asgt; they skated the updrafts.gt; “He was a murderer of women and children,” the reflectiongt; said. “Like you.”gt; “Murderer,” Krauss said. “Your accent is British. For manygt; people in Ireland, you British are murderers. Oppressors.gt; Imperialists.”gt; The reflection swelled on the glass as the man approached.gt; “You hide your accent well.”gt; “I enjoy the spoken word. To a fault, perhaps, but I spend timegt; refining and practicing my speech. Besides, a German accent stillgt; draws attention, even in Ireland. They shelter me, but not allgt; make me welcome. Some cling to their British overmasters like agt; child too old for the teat.”gt; Krauss had felt the weight of his age more frequently in recentgt; times. His thick black hair had greyed, the sculpted featuresgt; turned cragged. The veins in his nose had begun to rupturegt; with the vodka and wine. Women no longer stared at him withgt; hungry eyes when he took his afternoon walks through Dublin’sgt; Ringsend Park. But he still had good years ahead of him, howevergt; few. Would this man steal them from him?gt; “Have you come to kill me too?” he asked.gt; “Maybe. Maybe not,” the reflection said.gt; “May I take a drink, perhaps smoke a cigarette?”gt; “You may.”gt; Krauss turned to him. A man of middle age, between fortygt; and forty five, old enough to have served in the war. He hadgt; looked younger across the cemetery, dressed in the overalls of agt; gravedigger, but proximity showed the lines on his forehead andgt; around his eyes. Sand-coloured hair strayed beneath the woollengt; cap on his head. He held a pistol, a Browning fitted with a suppressor,gt; aimed squarely at Krauss’s chest. It shook.gt; “Would you care for a small vodka?” Krauss asked. “Perhaps itgt; will steady your nerve.”gt; The man considered for a few seconds. “All right,” he said.gt; Krauss went to the nightstand where a bottle of importedgt; vodka and a tea making set waited next to that morning’s Irishgt; Times. The front page carried a headline about the forthcominggt; visit of President John F Kennedy, a story concerning agt; request by the Northern Irish government that he should venturegt; across the border during his days on the island. The Irishgt; worshipped the American leader because he was one of theirs,gt; however many generations removed, and anticipation of hisgt; arrival had reached a point of near hysteria. Krauss intendedgt; to avoid all radio and television broadcasts for the duration ofgt; Kennedy’s stay.gt; Not that it mattered now.gt; Krauss turned two white teacups over and poured a generousgt; shot into each. He went to soften one with water from a jug, butgt; the man spoke.gt; “No water, thank you.”gt; Krauss smiled as he handed a cup to the man. “No glasses, I’mgt; afraid. I hope you don’t mind.”gt; The man nodded his thanks as he took the cup with his leftgt; hand. Undiluted vodka spilled over the lip. He took a sip andgt; coughed.gt; Krauss reached into the breast pocket of his best black suit.gt; The man’s knuckle whitened beneath the trigger guard. Kraussgt; slowed the movement of his hand and produced a gold cigarettegt; case. He opened it, and extended it to the man.gt; “No, thank you.” The man did not flinch at the engravedgt; swastika as Krauss had hoped. Perhaps he wasn’t a Jew, just somegt; zealous Briton.gt; Krauss took a Peter Stuyvesant, his only concession togt; Americanism, and gripped it between his lips as he snapped thegt; case closed and returned it to his pocket. He preferred Marlboro,gt; but they were too difficult to come by in this country. He tookgt; the matching lighter from his trouser pocket and sucked thegt; petrol taste from its flame. The set had been a Christmas giftgt; from Wilhelm Frick. Krauss treasured it. Blue smoke billowedgt; between the men.gt; “Please sit,” Krauss said, indicating the chair in the corner.gt; He lowered himself onto the bed and drew deeply on the cigarette,gt; letting the heat fill his throat and chest. “May I know yourgt; name?” he asked.gt; “You may not,” the man said.gt; “All right. So why?”gt; The man took another sip, grimaced at the taste, and placedgt; the cup on the windowsill to his left. “Why what?”gt; “Why kill me?”gt; “I haven’t decided if I’ll kill you or not, yet. I want to ask a fewgt; questions first.”gt; Krauss sighed and leaned back against the headboard, crossinggt; his legs on the lumpy mattress. “Very well.”gt; “Who was the well-dressed Irishman you spoke with?”gt; “An insultingly junior civil servant,” Krauss said.gt; Eoin Tomalty had given Krauss’s hand a firm shake after thegt; ceremony. “The minister sends his condolences,” Tomalty hadgt; said. “I’m sure you’ll understand why he was unable to attend ingt; person.”gt; Krauss had smiled and nodded, yes, of course he understood.gt; “A civil servant?” the man asked. “The government actuallygt; sent a representative?”gt; “A matter of courtesy.”gt; “Who were the others there?”gt; “You already know,” Krauss said. “You know me, so you mustgt; know them.”gt; “Tell me anyway.”gt; Krauss rhymed them off. “Célestin Lainé, Albert Luykx, andgt; Caoimhín Murtagh representing the IRA.”gt; “The IRA?”gt; “They are fools,” Krauss said. “Yokels pretending to be soldiers.gt; They still believe they can free Ireland from you British. But theygt; are useful fools, so we avail of their assistance from time to time.”gt; “Such as arranging funerals.”gt; “Indeed.”gt; The man leaned forward. “Where was Skorzeny?”gt; Krauss laughed. “Otto Skorzeny does not waste his preciousgt; time with common men like me. He is far too busy attendinggt; society parties in Dublin, or entertaining politicians at that damngt; farm of his.”gt; The man reached inside his jacket pocket and produced agt; sealed envelope. “You will pass this message to him.”gt; “I’m sorry,” Krauss said. “I cannot.”gt; “You will.”gt; “Young man, you misunderstand me,” Krauss said. He downedgt; the rest of the vodka and placed the cup back on the bedsidegt; table. “I admit to being verbose at times, it is a failing of mine,gt; but I believe I was clear on this. I did not say ‘I will not’. I saidgt; ‘I cannot’. I have no access to Otto Skorzeny, not socially, notgt; politically. You’d do better going to one of the Irish politiciansgt; that gather to his flame.”gt; The man got to his feet, approached the bed, keeping thegt; Browning’s aim level. With his free hand, he opened Krauss’sgt; jacket and stuffed the envelope down into the breast pocket.gt; “Don’t worry. He’ll get it.”gt; Krauss felt his bowel loosen. He drew hard on the cigarette,gt; burning it down to the filter, before stubbing it out in the ashtraygt; that sat on the bedside locker.gt; The man’s hand steadied.gt; Krauss sat upright, swung his legs off the bed, and rested hisgt; feet on the floor. He straightened his back and placed his handsgt; on his knees.gt; Fixing his gaze on the horizon beyond the window, Kraussgt; said, “I have money. Not much, but some. It would have beengt; enough to see out my days. You can have it. All of it. I will flee.gt; The rain in this damn place makes my joints ache anyway.”gt; The Browning’s suppressor nudged his temple.gt; “It’s not that simple,” the man said.gt; Krauss hauled himself to his feet. The man stood back, thegt; pistol ready.gt; “Yes it is,” Krauss said, his voice wavering as he fought thegt; tears. “It gt;is gt;that simple. I am nothing. I was a desk clerk. I signedgt; papers, stamped forms, and got piles from sitting on a woodengt; chair in the dark and the damp.”gt; The man pressed the muzzle against the centre of Krauss’sgt; forehead. “Those papers you signed. You slaughtered thousandsgt; with a pen. Maybe that’s how you live with it, tell yourself it wasgt; just a job, but you knew where—”gt; Krauss swiped at the pistol, grabbed it, forced it down, throwinggt; the other man’s balance. The man regained his footing,gt; hardened his stance. His countenance held its calm, only thegt; bunching of his jaw muscles betraying his resistance.gt; Sweat prickled Krauss’s skin and pressure built in his head.gt; He hissed through his teeth as he tried to loosen the man’sgt; fingers. The man raised the weapon, his strength renderinggt; Krauss’s effort meaningless. Their noses almost touched. Kraussgt; roared, saw the wet points of spittle he sprayed on the man’sgt; face.gt; He heard a crack, felt a punch to his stomach, followed by wetgt; heat spreading across his abdomen. His legs turned to water, andgt; he released his hold on the barrel. He crumpled to his knees. Hisgt; hands clutched his belly, red seeping between his fingers.gt; Hot metal pressed against Krauss’s temple.gt; “It’s better than you deserve,” the man said.gt; If he’d had the time, Helmut Krauss would have said, “I know.”gt;gt;CHAPTER TWOgt;gt;Albert Ryan waited with the director, Ciaran Fitzpatrick, ingt; the outer office, facing the secretary as she read a magazine.gt; The chairs were creaky and thin-cushioned. Ryan endured whilegt; Fitzpatrick fidgeted. Almost an hour had passed since Ryan hadgt; met the director in the courtyard surrounded by the grand complexgt; of buildings on Upper Merrion Street. The northern andgt; southern wings were occupied by various government departments,gt; and the Royal College of Science resided beneath thegt; dome that reached skyward on the western side of the quadrangle.gt; Ryan had expected to be ushered into the minister’s presencegt; upon arrival, and by the look of him, so had Fitzpatrick.gt; Ryan had left his quarters at Gormanston Camp as the skygt; lightened, turning from a deep bluish grey to a milky white asgt; he walked the short distance to the train station. Two horsesgt; grazed in the field across from the platform, their bellies sagging,gt; their coats matted with neglect. They nickered to each other, thegt; sound carrying on the salt breeze. The Irish Sea stretched outgt; beyond like a black marble table.gt; The train had arrived late. It filled slowly with tobacco smokegt; and slack-faced men as it neared Dublin, stopping at every pointgt; of civilisation along the way. Almost all of the passengers woregt; suits, whether dressed for their day’s work in some governmentgt; office, or wearing their Sunday best for a visit to the city.gt; Ryan also wore a suit, and he always enjoyed the occasiongt; to do so. A meeting with the Minister for Justice certainly warrantedgt; the effort. He had walked south from Pearse Station togt; Merrion Street and watched the director’s face as he approached.gt; Fitzpatrick had examined him from head-to-toe before noddinggt; his begrudged approval.gt; “Inside,” he’d said. “We don’t want to be late.”gt; Now Ryan checked his watch again. The minute hand tickedgt; over to the hour.gt; He’d heard the stories about the minister. A politician withgt; boundless ambition and the balls to back it up. The upstart hadgt; even married the boss’s daughter, become son-in-law to thegt; Taoiseach, Ireland’s prime minister. Some called him a shininggt; star in the cabinet, a reformist kicking at the doors of thegt; establishment; others dismissed him as a shyster on the make.gt; Everyone reckoned him a chancer.gt; The door opened, and Charles J. Haughey entered.gt; “Sorry for keeping you waiting, lads,” he said as Fitzpatrickgt; stood. “It was sort of a late breakfast. Come on through.”gt; “Coffee, Minister?” the secretary asked.gt; “Christ, yes.”gt; Ryan got to his feet and followed Haughey and Fitzpatrickgt; into the minister’s office. Once inside, Haughey shook the director’sgt; hand.gt; “Is this our man Lieutenant Ryan?” he asked.