Jack Higgins – The Savage Day

‘And what about the other side?91 asked. ‘The Ulster Volunteer Force?’

‘Don’t even mention them,’ he said feelingly. ‘If they ever decide to take a hand, it will be civil war and the kind of bloodbath that would be simply too hideous to contemplate. No, the immediate task is to defeat terror-

ism. That’s the Army’s job. It’s up to the politicians to sort things out afterwards.’

‘And what am I supposed to be able to achieve that the whole of Military Intelligence can’t?’

‘Everything or nothing. It all depends. The IRA needs money if it’s to be in a position to buy arms on anything like a large enough scale. They got their hands on some in rather a big way about five weeks ago.’

‘What happened?’

‘The night mail boat from Belfast to Glasgow was hijacked by half-a-dozen men.’

‘Who were they? Proves ?’

“No, they were led by a man we’ve been after for years. A real old-timer. Must be sixty if he’s a day. Michael Cork. The Small Man, they call him. Another of those Irish jokes as he’s reputed to be over six feet in height.’


‘Except for a two-year sentence when he was seventeen or eighteen, he hasn’t been in custody since. He did spend a considerable period in America, but the simple truth is we haven’t the slightest idea what he looks like.’

‘So what happened on the mail boat ?’

‘Cork and his men forced the captain to rendezvous off the coast with a fifty-foot diesel motor yacht. They offloaded just over half a million pounds’ worth of gold bullion.’

‘And slipped quietly away into the night?’

‘Not quite. They clashed with a Royal Navy MTB early the following morning near Rathlin Island, but managed to get away under cover of fog, though the officer in command thinks they were in a sinking condition.’

*Were they sighted anywhere else?’

“A rubber dinghy was found on a beach near Stramore,

which is a fishing port on the mainland coast south of Rathlin, and several bodies were washed up during the week that followed.’

‘And you think Michael Cork survived ?’

‘We know he did. In fact, thanks to that grand old Irish institution, the informer, we know exactly what happened. Cork was the only survivor. He sank the boat in a place of his own choosing, landed near Stramore in that rubber dinghy and promptly disappeared with his usual sleight of hand.’

I moved to the window and looked out over the blue Aegean and thought of that boat lying on the bottom up there in those cold grey northern waters.

‘He could do a lot with that kind of money.’

‘An approach has already been made in his name to a London-based arms dealer who had the sense to contact the proper authorities at once.’

‘Who was it? Anyone I know?’

‘Julius Meyer. You’ve acted for him on several occasions in the past, I believe.’

‘Old Meyer?’ I laughed out loud. ‘Now there’s a slippery customer if you like. I wonder why they chose him?’

‘Oh, I should have thought he had just the right kind of shady reputation,’ the Brigadier said. ‘He’s been in trouble often enough, God knows. There was all that fuss with the Spanish Government last year when it came out that he’d been selling guns to the Free Basque movement. He was on every front page in the country for a day or two. The kind of thing interested parties would remember.’

Which made sense. I said, ‘And where do I fit in ?’

‘You simply do exactly what you’ve done in the past. Act as Meyer’s agent in this matter. They should find you

perfectly acceptable. After all, your past stinks to high heaven very satisfactorily.’

TSJice of you to say so. And what if I’m asked to act in a mercenary capacity? To give instruction in the handling of certain weapons. That can sometimes happen, you know.’

‘I hope it does. I want you in there up to your ears, as close to the heart of things as possible, because we want that gold, Vaughan. We can’t allow them to hang on to a bank like that, so that’s your primary task. To find out exactly where it is.’

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81

Categories: Higgins, Jack