Missing Emilie

by Michael E. Lloyd

Table of Contents   Chapter Synopses


Book I: Self Above All

Chapter 13: Stepping Out

Rue de la Gendarmerie, Nice
Tuesday 5 July, 8:50 a.m.


‘Are you receiving me, maman?’

‘Loud and clear, Paul-Philippe — as usual.’

‘OK. It’s nearly nine o’clock. Maybe today’s the day.’

‘Maybe. Or maybe not. There’s always tomorrow. Patience, enfin!

‘Yeah. OK, stand by ...’


‘Allô!’

‘Pureza?’

‘Yes, I’m ready, papa. And the taxi’s waiting right outside the call box.’

‘Good. Everything’s running on time, as usual. I’ve said my goodbyes to Arthur, and he should be coming through the gate in a couple of minutes. Let’s hope there will be no problems for either of you ...’

‘I’ll be OK, papa. And anyway, you said you would ask the guard to keep an eye on him till he’s safely in the car.’

‘Yes, and I’ve done that. So now we must simply put our trust in ... Aha, he’s on his way already! Off you go at once, my child, and may God be with you both.’

‘Merci, papa.’


‘My god, it’s him, maman! Narone’s coming through the gate, right now!! Get ready to move ...’

‘Take it easy, Paul-Philippe, and just tell me what I need to do ...’

‘OK. Well, there’s nobody to meet him on the pavement. If he walks your way you can just leave the car and follow him. If he goes the other way, you can track him in the car for a while and then on foot. I can’t see inside any of the cars parked up in front of the apartments, but he does seem to be waiting for someone ...’

‘Aha ... a taxi has just gone past me and turned into Rue de la Gendarmerie. I’ve got its number. There’s a young woman in the back seat.’

‘Yes, I can see it now! Narone’s spotted it too ... and it’s slowing down for him. OK, start the car, maman, but don’t move off just yet ...’

‘The engine’s already running, Paul-Philippe.’


‘All set, Lebrun?’

‘All set, Hardy.’

‘OK. We’re staying in the cars, of course. The action’s from left to right, so I’ll need to go first — any moment now. Join up as soon as we pass you ...’

‘Roger.’


‘He’s in the taxi now, maman, and it’s moving off towards the river. You can get going ... no, wait, something else is happening! Another car’s pulled out behind the taxi. It’s dark blue and there are two men in it. Merde! — I’ll swear they’re police. OK, you’ll have to follow that one instead, maman — but very carefully! Go!’

‘I’m already moving, Paul-Philippe. Just turning the corner. Yes, I can see the blue car — I’m keeping my distance, and ... hang on, there’s another one pulling out behind it! This one’s silver ...’

‘Yes, I see it too, right below me. And those two guys look like flics as well! Oh, wonderful!’

‘Calm down ...’

‘OK. So, you’re following three cars now, maman. Good luck — and if there’s any hint they’ve spotted you, wipe that walkie-talkie clean and chuck it out the window fast!’

‘I’ll do my best, son. You just make sure you’re waiting in the call box, on the hour every hour for the rest of the day, till I can phone you ...’

‘I’ll be there!’


‘So, Lebrun — maybe “Luc” and that young woman have commandeered a taxi, or maybe she’s doing the job for him ...’

‘Or maybe something else.’

‘Of course. But do you see anything else?’

‘Yes. There’s an old Renault not far behind me. Been there ever since we got going ...’

‘Which was only sixty seconds ago.’

‘That’s true. Driver’s a peroxide blonde in her fifties. Big sunglasses. Seems to be singing along to the radio and checking her hair in the mirror.’

‘Clearly a bastion of the Nice underworld, then.’

‘Maybe, Hardy. But probably not. More likely going downtown for some early low-price shopping.’

‘Glad we agree. OK, let’s concentrate on the taxi. As soon as it stops we’ll make a new plan ...’


Quai Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Nice
Tuesday 5 July, 9:10 a.m.

‘It’s stopping, Lebrun — outside a small bookshop. I’ll go on past it and pull up thirty metres down the street. You park right where you are.’

‘OK, I’m braking ...’

‘So what’s happening now?’

‘They’re paying and getting out. We’re both ready to walk ...’

‘So are we ...’

‘Ah, no need, Hardy. The woman’s gone straight to the front door of the shop and she’s unlocking it.’

‘Yes, I see her in my side mirror ...’

‘And the old bird in the Renault has just driven past me.’

‘Are you still fretting about her?’

‘Well ...’

‘Well, don’t.’

‘OK. So, Narone and the woman are now inside the bookshop.’

‘Excellent. I’m guessing the taxi’s clean. I’ll get it checked out, of course, but it looks like the woman’s our mark. We’ll share the surveillance for the rest of the day. And ... thanks for your help, Lebrun.’

‘No problem, Hardy. Nothing better to do with my time ... yet.’


Turn at the second right. Then right again, and find somewhere to park ... here!

Wig off. Sunglasses off. Different jacket. Change into walking shoes. And hide it all away.

There ... a new woman!

It’s nine-fifteen. Two minutes till I’m in place on the embankment, and I’ll call Paul-Philippe on the hour. Just have to hope they didn’t come straight back out again ...


Tuesday 5 July, 10 a.m.

‘Allô!’

‘It’s me, Paul-Philippe. Mission accomplished.’

‘Wonderful! Where are they?’

‘At Le Bouquineur bookshop on Quai Saint-Jean-Baptiste, near Rue Defly. I can see the front door from this phone box. I had to lose them for a few minutes, ’cos of the flics and getting changed, and hope they weren’t just picking up the latest James Bond and moving on. But the police cars are still parked where they stopped, with both men in each one, so Narone and the woman must still be inside. I’m guessing she owns the place and he’s going to stay there for a while. Maybe she’s an old flame ...’

‘Ah, well done, maman! So, will you stick with him for the rest of the day?’

‘Of course. No way should we let the flics spot a man sniffing around after him, at least for today. And I’m sure they haven’t noticed me ... when I left the car I walked up two blocks and came back onto the embankment well behind them, and crossed the road at the lights with several other people. They can’t even see me in their mirrors. I’ve got a copy of Paris-Match to read, and there’s a café nearby. I can sit inside, out of sight, and still watch the door of the shop. But hopefully Narone will go out for a stroll before anyone starts getting suspicious of me. And that may also give me a chance to get a proper look at any of the policemen who follow him ...’

‘Great. OK, good luck, and watch your back.’

‘Thanks. Are you staying in all day?’

‘No. I’ll go downtown myself later, in disguise, and completely update my list of public call boxes and their numbers. And I’ll expect you home when you’ve seen Narone safely into bed tonight.’

‘Home? Hah! I’m looking forward to getting back to my own bed in Toulon. I really hate this awful old mattress!’

‘I know, I know, maman. But at least we’re halfway towards a result! You’ll need to pick up on Narone again early tomorrow morning, of course, and set him up for my first contact as soon as you can. And once he’s back under my thumb, we can both get the hell out of Nice and do the rest of it by phone ...’


Three hours later

‘Is that Charles-Pierre Orceau?’

‘Speaking.’

‘Simon Hardy here. Narone was met outside the jail by a young woman in a taxi, and we now have them both under observation in a bookshop on the embankment.’

‘Congratulations, Inspector!’

‘And let us hope she proves to be working with “Luc” ...’

‘Yes, indeed. So, please keep me closely in the loop.’

‘But of course, Charles-Pierre. We are both in this together. I shall report my progress to you on a weekly basis.’

‘Thank you, Inspector. You may be assured of my deepest gratitude if and when we achieve our long-sought aims.’


‘Lebrun to Hardy ...’

‘Go ahead.’

‘Very glad to see you’re back with us, Simon. And I do hope you enjoyed your little stroll. Now, I’ve been thinking ...’

‘And ...?’

‘Well, if that attractive young bookshop owner is some sort of front for “Luc” then I’m the Emperor of Japan.’

‘Yes, I’ve been thinking the very same thing myself.’

‘OK. So should I send Brigadier Tauron off to get me some sushi for lunch?’

‘Probably not. I suspect you’re right, for once. But we must keep watching and following them until I decide otherwise. As long as you’re still happy with that ...’

‘But of course, mon ami. Your goal is my goal, until I am perhaps called away to attend to something even more pressing, like the next gangland murder.’

‘Thank you, Ricard. And ... wait ... hey, they’re coming out of the shop!’

‘Check.’

‘And the woman’s locking up. Time for everyone to stretch their legs. No lunch for you today ...’


End of Book I

Missing Emilie continues in Issue 478 with Book II: Reparations

Chapter Synopses

Copyright © 2012 by Michael E. Lloyd

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