Closed Circle by Robert Goddard

By Robert Goddard

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Profit was one thing, but Max seemed likely to have more than his share of pleasure as well. While all I could do was watch and imagine. A pall of cloud over the ship heralded England in all its summer glumness. With the Cornish coast looming grey and sodden off the port bow, I headed for my cabin to pack. But hardly had I commenced the task when a visitor arrived. It was Max. "I thought we should have a word, old man," he announced. " "Oh, I quite understand. " "So far, yes. " "I haven't forgotten.

Perhaps that was why he had chosen to meet me instead in the mirror-walled dining-room of the Ambassador, where Doric columns, multifarious reflections and roseate light from a tinted glass roof created a thoroughly bemusing environment. In that sense it was also highly appropriate, since Fabian Charnwood was a thoroughly bemusing man. The frock-coat, wing-collar, carnation button-hole and stiff-backed bearing all confirmed Max's description of him as 'a perfect gent', but he was far from being the stout red-faced sexagenerian I had expected.

And this party gives us the chance to do so. " Strangely, Max's enthusiasm now eclipsed my own. " He downed some more scotch with obvious relish. Unpredictability had revived him as I had hoped. In fact, my hopes had been altogether exceeded. " There's no need for that, surely? " He smiled mockingly. " "Well, we've come a long way since on share and share alike. " Seeing my eyebrows shoot up, he added: "Or a fiancee. " He raised a finger to summon the steward, ordered two sheets of writing paper to the fellow's well-disguised surprise, then lounged back, beaming from ear to ear.

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