Come into my Parlour

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Stevie P
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Joined: Wed 14 Sep, 2005 08:31:56
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Come into my Parlour

Post by Stevie P »

Obergruppenfuhrer Heinrich Himmler was chairing the monthly meeting, attended by all the German Intelligence chiefs.
‘Gregory Sallust’ was item thirteen on the agenda.
Admiral Canaris was explaining that GS is still major threat to them, particularly with the introduction of the new ’K’ series of secret weapons that were being worked on. Himmler tells the meeting (specifically Grauber) to lure GS to Germany, â€￾Set a trap for him and kill him. Within three months, I require a certificate of Sallust’s death from youâ€￾.
Grauber decides to set up a trap for GS by making the Count von Osterberg (still officially her husband) write to Erika von Epp via the Swiss legation and dangle before her the prospect of a divorce if she is prepared to come over and meet him somewhere just inside the German border to discuss the legal aspects.
Meanwhile, Sir PGC was entertaining GS out on the balcony at his London mansion. "The interior had suffered due to the bombing. There was scarring on the external facade and the windows of the big library that opened onto the terrace had been shattered and now boarded over".
Even now GS felt that there were many worse places to live in than Carlton House terrace with its views over St. James Park.
Sir Pellinore had invited GS to London to ask him how he thought the war was proceeding. After giving his thoughts Sir PGC agrees with him and then tells GS that he wants him to go to Russia in order to find out three things:
1) What proportion of their man-power the Russians can actually put into the field.
2) How much territory they can afford to give away before they would be compelled to throw up the sponge.
3) The real state of Stalin’s Health.

Sir Pellinore also informs GS that he is to take Stefan Kuporovitch with him. He will be of great value as he speaks Russian. He will be given a British passport under the name of Stephen Cooper.

Erika, meanwhile has received a letter from her husband asking her to meet him in Switzerland. Erika changes her appearance and obtains a Swedish passport under the name of Astrid Largerlof thanks to Sir Pellinore. She stays at the pension Julich in St. Gall which is 15 miles from Steinach; a village towards the eastern end of Lake Constance where her husband now lives.
Fritz Einholtz is a member of the Gestapo (working for Grauber) but is posing as Kurt von Osterberg’s laboratory assistant. Kurt doesn’t really want to trick Erika but is under threat from the Gestapo. He is a scientist and his story is that he is working on a new poison gas for the Germans. He is prepared to sell the information relating to the gas, to Erika and give her a divorce in return for a sum of money having fallen on hard times. Fritz really wants to lure Erika across the lake to Germany so that she can be held as a hostage in order to get GS back into Germany.
Einholtz manages to entice her into Germany by getting her to agree to view the scientific analysis of the new gas which is being held at the Schloss Niederfels - the German family home of the von Osterberg's which Erika naturally knows very well.

They eventually arrive at the Castle having crossed the Bodensee (Lake Constance!!) When they enter the castle, Einholtz leaves for a few minutes to make a phone call (to the Gestapo); at this point the count tells her the truth about the whole thing being a trap. When Einholtz reappears he realises that the count has told her truth. Erika picks up a lighted candelabra and throws it at the Nazi. The candelabra bounces of his chest and sets fire to one of the large curtains covering the huge castle windows. She doesn't want to be interrogated by the Gestapo and so jumps on to the window seat and looks down to the starlit tree tops of the forest clad gorge.
(In most of DW's books there are certain scenes that are exceptionally well done and stay in the memory. i.e. The drive to the Sabbat - 'TDRO', The chase through the ruined church - 'Codeword Golden Fleece', (There are many more - a potentially new subject in itself!!) I think the following scene is also exceptionally good. It certainly fired my imagination)
Below her lay a seemingly unbroken sea of tree tops shelving steeply to the valley bottom, then rising again in the distance. The upper branches of the nearest trees were not far below her but about twelve feet away. Between them and the wall of the castle there yawned a dark fifty-foot gulf, at the bottom of which the great stones with which the wall was built merged into the rock of the mountain top. Moonlight silvered the whole scene, making it a vista of still, unearthly grandeur that a landscape painter would have travelled many miles to see; but for Erika it now held no beauty, only stark menace and the terror of a leap to death.
“Come down from thereâ€￾ Einholtz shouted. “If you jump you’ll break your neckâ€￾
Next second the nearest tree-top brushed her arm; another instant and pine needles pricked and stung her face. Then she was falling...falling...falling.

Erika, amazingly, survives the fall and her immediate thoughts are to get away from the castle. She then changes her mind and decides to break back into the castle via her mother-in-laws’ (Grafin Bertha) bedroom. The frau Grafin agrees to hide her after hearing the details of her betrayal at least until the immediate danger is over. Erika stays for eight days while her injuries heal. She then attempts to escape back to Switzerland via Lake Constance. As she is about to get into the boat she is met by Einholtz and Gruppenfuhrer Grauber. They need to find out more about GS and as she maintains that she knows nothing of his whereabouts they take her to his headquarters in Friedrichshafen were she is forced to watch a local prostitute being tortured with an *“ingenious German toyâ€￾ which applied electric currents to her internally. This item of torture was actually used at Gestapo headquarters in Paris during the war and one such instrument is/was in possession of the Surete. The threat is that if she doesn't talk the same will happen to her.
Grauber changes the plan and Erika is returned to Schloss Niederfels where the Nazi’s threaten to re-enact the same torture to the frau Grafin if she doesn’t tell them of GS’s activities in Russia. She has no option but to tell them of the three reasons for his visit.

GS and Stefan arrive in Moscow on Friday 12th September 1941. They decide that the only way to get the information they require is to meet the high ranking Russian officials, as the ‘lesser mortals’ will not be privy to the required information. They decide to contact Marshall Voroshilov and so they head to his office in Leningrad. When they arrive in Leningrad, SK writes a letter to the Marshall informing him that he and his colleague GS has information of real value to the defeat of the ‘Hitlerite bandits’.
The meeting takes place and goes very well. During the meeting drinks are offered and brought in on a tray. GS had the mild suspicion that the drinks may have been spiked and so switches his drink with the Marshall. This turned out to be a very useful move as a ’truth drug’ had been added to the two visitor’s drinks. As a result the Marshall told them every bit of information they wanted to know but not realising why it was so easy.
At the end of the meeting, one of Voroshilov’s officers (Colonel Gudarniev) comes into collect them but hearing that the Marshall had told his friends all they wanted to know, realises what has happened. The two men are locked up in the old Lubianka prison.
The Marshall, on reflection decided to spare them their lives but with the vast amount of secret information they had been given would have to be sent away to Siberia for imprisonment.
They were picked up at the Lubianka by a ‘Black Maria’ van. After 15 minutes the van came to an abrupt halt. They had been hijacked by Grauber and his men. They are taken to the Gulf of Finland where they are loaded onto a German submarine. GS & SK are put into separate cells on the lower deck of the Sub. Gregory has claustrophobia and is finding it very difficult to cope with the dark confined space of the cell. Before they are more than 10 miles out of the Gulf of Finland they are spotted first by a Soviet plane which drops two bombs nearby. Grauber panic's and decides to get out of the sub telling the Captain that he will be well rewarded for bring the two prisoners back to Germany.
Once Grauber leaves, the sub dives down again but is eventually bombarded by depth charges. Water is rising around the waists of the prisoners and they are fearing a watery grave. A sub lieutenant arrives to let the prisoners free and they join the crew in being lifted onto a soviet destroyer. After a few delays they manage to steal a lift in a van and then re-locate the Black Maria that they had been ambushed in and head back to the British embassy in Moscow.
They pass on their valuable information to Lord Beaverbrook who just happens to be in Moscow for a three-power conference on aid to Russia at the time.
To get back to England safely and in order to avoid unwanted scrutiny they take local trains and hitch-hike wherever possible. By these means, and using their priceless supply of soap for bribes, wherever necessary, having left Moscow on the 29th September, and averaging a little under a hundred miles a day they reached;
1) Astrakhan on the 11th October. Then a three day trip on a tramp steamer over the Caspian Sea to;
2) Bandar Shah, Persia. Then three days train travel brought them to;
3) Bandar Shapur at the head of the Persian Gulf. Then Northwest via Basra to Baghdad (Iraq); then various aircraft to take them via;
4) Damascus (Syria) and Jerusalem (Israel) down to Cairo (Egypt); Travel in the central Mediterranean had considerably worsened of late and so they then caught a plane heading for Cape Town (South Africa). Then they obtained berths on a KLM convoy which docked at Clyde (Scotland) on the 29th of November.

(A two month trip! The expense report must have been horrendous!!!)

When GS and SK meet up with Sir Pellinore again, Sir PGC tells them of Erika’s activities in trying to obtain the divorce from her husband and subsequent capture.
The next day GS and SK are flown to Switzerland. That evening GS presents himself at the Villa Offenbach, Steinach; Einholtz lets him in and after discussing various aspects of the war and Erika’s whereabouts GS is convinced that Einholtz is working with Grauber. GS shoots Einholtz and disposes of him in the lake. GS is sure that Erika is being held at the Schloss Niederfels and so takes the launch over to Germany to get her out. He manages to locate her in a cellar dungeon. The problem is that Grauber and his men are also in the castle. The escape and the fight with the Nazi’s continue onto the bank of the Lake. Erika is grabbed by Grauber but an exchange is made - Erika for the Count von Osterberg.
“Poor old von Osterbergâ€￾, Gregory murmured, looking at Erika, who was now sitting up beside him. I don’t think you’ll need that divorce after all, my sweet. I believe you’re a widow nowâ€￾.

When I started reading 'Come into my Parlour' I wasn't expecting this book to be as good as its predecessor 'Codeword - Golden Fleece' and perhaps it isn't. But, having read and reviewed it, I was very surprised with the quality of its content. I found it to be quite atmospheric and 'at times' surprising. (The torture scene; the cold blooded killing of Einholtz; chopping a hand off a dead body). DW was becoming more graphic and realistic in his writing.

DW Snippets

From Arrow paperback 1975

Page 16 - Admiral Canaris is telling Grauber of his meetings’ with his old friend Sir Pellinore Gwaine Cust. “He took seven thousand marks off me at Baccarat one night in 1924.....drank me under the table afterwards and then sent the money back next morning with a charming note to the effect that, seeing the poor state of Germany’s post war finances, he did not feel it fair to take such a sum off one of her secret agents at a single sitting.... I have often related the story as a lesson in good manners.â€￾
He continues; “Sir PGC won a particularly well deserved V.C. in the Boer War. I used to stay with him at his lovely old home, Gwaine Meads in Shropshire (Ed. Another Grail??) There have been Gwaine- Custs living there ever since the Romans gave up their attempts to subdue the more savage tribes of Britons on reaching the Welsh Border; and I doubt that the place is still maintained in almost feudal state, since he’s as rich as Croesusâ€￾.

Page 190 – “Ah, now I know where we areâ€￾ SK murmured to GS. This is the old Lubianka prison -

Page 295 – (Sir PGC states) “What could I do my boy? I felt it was all Lombard Street to a China Orange that we’d been had for mugs...â€￾
‘Lombard Street to a China orange' is an old-fashioned idiom meaning very heavily weighted odds; Lombard-street signifying wealth and a China orange poverty ...

Page 302 - Had they arranged matters themselves, or possessed Aladdin’s lamp, there was nothing more that they could have desired or asked of the all powerful ‘Jinni’.
I’ve not seen Genie spelt this way before (except occasionally as a girl’s name). A misprint??

Page 302 - Sir Pellinore had popped a dose of ‘Verona’ into GS’s last drink.

Page 313 - DW was not a big fan of any German at the time. “He (Einholtz) was not a particularly likeable man, but what German was, at bottom?â€￾

Page 319 - DW was not a particularly big fan of the Japanese either. “....the Japanese, a race of evilly disposed, lying, cheating, treacherous little yellow apes, having only a remote outward resemblance to human beings....â€￾

Page 379 - Grauber stared at Gregory in hatred and dismay. His hands trembled, and he seemed to sag. “You Machiavellian devil!’ he breathed. That’s one you don’t hear nowadays.
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