Meanwhile, in Bavaria...

Charlie’s German had the sort of vaguely rural accent that might be heard on the lips of somebody not quite local. There were few hard and sharp lines in accents and dialects, and even Germany has its own equivalent of “oop north”. It was less a compass direction, and more “not Prussia”. He said an ordinary farewell thanks, slightly old-fashioned, and stepped off the tram.

He didn’t glance over his shoulder. Instead, he looked over the contents of a show window, while he lit a foul-tasting ersatz cigarette. No sign of anyone, but the Gestapo did have some competent people. They were not just there to maintain a state of fear. If he were following somebody. there were things he would not do. Whether it was the nervous glance over the shoulder, or the more professional tricks he knew, he wouldn’t do it alone. One would be close, but not always the same person.

He grinned ruefully. He had picked up a few bad habits. When he had trained at The Manor, acting out the Great Game on the streets of Saffron Walden, he had only though of the men. He knew better now.

The woman up ahead, wearing a shabby pre-war coat and with a piano-accordion slung over her should in its case, had been one of the less embarrassing lessons. She wasn’t his contact, just one of an all-girl oompah-band who could provoke speculations about painful musical accidents. But she would be watching for the Gestapo and any accident today would be quite deliberate.

He walked past her. There were no signals, no passwords. They knew each other too well to need that. And there was his contact, looking drab and war-weary, as almost everyone would. Like Charlie, he carried a briefcase. It was an old trick, of course. He’d used it a decade before, when he had still been officially English. and stationed in Berlin.