Nathaniel Cannon and the Secret of the Dutchman’s Cross No. 62

The city fell away beneath the plane. Lecocq’s compass read 315 degrees, and directly ahead was the T-shaped peninsula jutting out into the deep blue of the Mediterranean. To its southwest, boats clustered in the harbor, behind a breakwater perhaps two and a half miles long. A road ran along the top of it.

In his headset, he heard Emma’s voice. “Check check.”

“I read you,” he said. Turning a knob on his radio panel, he called his escort. “Whiskey Two, I have the pickup in sight.”


The British truck drew closer. A Tommy stood behind its cab, then set a Lewis gun on its roof.

“Duck!” Iseabail shouted. The British machine gun chattered, and a row of holes appeared in the cab. The truck swung left, then right. Cannon looked over his shoulder and saw Masaracchia hunched over the wheel. Through the windshield, all he could see was the corner of a building. He braced himself for the crash, but somehow, the front bumper barely scraped across the wall. Still sliding, the truck squeezed into a tiny alleyway. The walls on each side closed in, and glass shattered as the side mirrors snapped off. The empty frames fell to the brick road behind the truck, joined by an occasional shower of sparks as Masaracchia scraped the walls. In the cab, he sat up and held down the horn.

Iseabail slumped and exhaled. “Tha’s a fright ye gave me there!”

Behind them, the British truck skidded to a stop outside the alley, turned in carefully, and surged after them. Ahead, a man tucked himself into a doorway just before the two trucks screamed past, running out into the street and shouting after they went by. A row of barrels shattered under Masaracchia’s wheels, and wine and grain mixed in the road.

Burr and di Giacomo fired a few bursts between them, then reloaded together. In the lull, Masaracchia shouted, “Call your plane! We’re nearly there!”

The distant buzz of aero engines grew more immediate. A bullet snapped past Cannon’s ear, and from the cab, Masaracchia roared in pain.

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