فصل 03

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فصل 03

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CHAPTER THREE

Salahadin is Suspicious

Early next morning, Salahadin was at the doors of the Egyptian Embassy in London. It was not long before he had sent off a telex to the Ministry of the Interior in Cairo and another telex to his assistant, Leila Osman.

The first telex was to his friend, Chief Inspector Ahmed Abbas. Salahadin had worked with Inspector Ahmed before.

The telex said:

ATTENTION: INSPECTOR AHMED ABBAS

MINISTRY OF INTERIOR/CAIRO

DR JOHN FARROW AND WIFE REPORTED ARRIVING IN CAIRO LAST THURSDAY. PLEASE CONFIRM ARRIVAL AND INFORM ME NAME OF THEIR HOTEL.

SALAHADIN EL NUR EGYPTIAN EMBASSY/LONDON

The second telex, to Leila Osman, said:

ATTENTION: INSPECTOR LEILA OSMAN

ANTIQUITIES PROTECTION DEPARTMENT/CAIRO

DR JOHN FARROW (ARCHEOLOGIST) REPORTED ARRIVING IN CAIRO LAST THURSDAY. PLEASE INFORM ME OF HIS PLANS AND MOVEMENTS.

SALAHADIN EL NUR EGYPTIAN EMBASSY/LONDON

Then Salahadin went to the Visa Section of the Embassy and looked at the Visa Applications. He soon found Farrow’s application. Salahadin noticed a number of unusual things about the application.

Now this is interesting, thought Salahadin. He has left out his doctorate and he says he’s a school teacher. Very strange. And why does he say he’s going to Egypt as a tourist?

Salahadin realized that Leila would know nothing about Dr Farrow. Farrow had not written on his visa application that he was an archeologist. His arrival in Cairo would not be reported to Salahadin’s office.

The replies to his telex messages came in shortly after each other. Leila’s telex confirmed what Salahadin had already guessed.

Good, thought Salahadin. She has got in touch immediately with Inspector Ahmed.

ATTENTION: “SALAHADIN EL NUR

EGYPTIAN EMBASSY/LONDON

NO ONE CALLED DR JOHN FARROW HAS REPORTED TO THIS OFFICE. NOTHING KNOWN OF HIS MOVEMENTS OR PLANS. HAVE REPORTED MATTER TO INSPECTOR AHMED.

LEILA OSMAN

The telex from Inspector Ahmed confirmed Salahadin’s suspicions.

ATTENTION: SALAHADIN EL NUR

EGYPTIAN EMBASSY/LONDON

CONFIRM ARRIVAL OF MR JOHN FARROW AND HIS WIFE AS TOURISTS IN EGYPT. FARROW’S OCCUPATION GIVEN ON IMMIGRATION FORM AS SCHOOL TEACHER. FARROW AND WIFE STAYED ONE NIGHT - THURSDAY 4TH AUGUST HOTEL MIRABEL. LEFT FRIDAY WARNING. NO KNOWLEDGE OF WHERE THEY ARE NOW. TRYING TO FIND THEM. PLEASE EXPLAIN YOUR INTEREST IN FARROW.

AHMED ABBAS

It was two o’clock when Salahadin received the telex messages. It was too late to get a plane for Cairo that day. Also, Salahadin had some things to do in London. He wanted to find out as much as he could about Dr John Farrow from Peter Earl. And he wanted to know if Interpol - the International Police - had anything about the man on their files.

First, Salahadin booked a flight to Cairo for the following day. Then he sent off two further telex messages.

ATTENTION: INSPECTOR LEILA OSMAN

ANTIQUITIES PROTECTION DEPARTMENT/CAIRO

RETURNING CAIRO IMMEDIATELY. URGENT YOU MEET ME AT CAIRO AIRPORT TOMORROW - TUESDAY 9TH - FLIGHT MEA 435 FROM LONDON ARRIVING CAIRO 20.45.

SALAHADIN EL NUR

Second message:

ATTENTION: INSPECTOR AHMED ABBAS

MINISTRY OF INTERIOR/CAIRO

ARRIVING CAIRO TOMORROW TUESDAY 9TH - FLIGHT MEA 435 FROM LONDON ARRIVING CAIRO 20.45. URGENT YOU MEET ME. URGENT - REPEAT - URGENT YOU FIND FARROW AND WIFE. WILL EXPLAIN WHEN WE MEET.

SALAHADIN EL NUR

Salahadin thanked the officials in the Embassy and hurried out to get a taxi to the British Museum. As he sat in the taxi, Salahadin asked himself over and over again: Why had Farrow tried to deceive the Egyption officials by saying that he was a teacher and not an archeologist? And why had he said that he was in Egypt as a tourist? Farrow had written all these things in his visa application four weeks ago. But then he had told someone that he was going to Egypt to find the tomb of Queen Axtarte. He had told someone about this, because it had been reported in The Sunday Times.

Peter Earl had also been busy that morning. He had phoned up everyone who knew Dr Farrow. Everybody said that Farrow had left Cambridge and gone to live with some friends in Wales. But nobody seemed to know anything more. Someone had heard that Farrow was using drugs. Another had heard that Farrow had been in trouble with the police. But no one knew anything for certain.

Finally Peter Earl phoned up The Sunday Times and spoke to the reporter who had written about Farrow going to Cairo.

When Salahadin arrived at the British Museum, Peter told him about the calls he had made to Farrow’s friends.

‘I’m interested in the remark about drugs,’ said Salahadin. ‘The people who sell drugs in England often smuggle them from the Middle East. And the people who smuggle drugs sometimes smuggle antiquities. Perhaps Farrow is involved with a gang of smugglers.’

‘You’d better ask Scotland Yard and Interpol,’ suggested Peter Earl. ‘They may know something more about Farrow.’

‘That’s what I’m going to do now,’ said Salahadin. ‘But first - a question which you can answer - do you believe that Farrow has discovered the burial place of Queen Axtarte?’

‘Farrow was a brilliant student at Cambridge. He claims that he has discovered the Queen’s burial place. It is possible that he is telling the truth.’

‘And other people might agree with you,’ said Salahadin. ‘If Farrow is involved with a gang of smugglers, he might have told them how to find Queen Axtarte’s tomb. I’m sure they would be interested in the treasure.’

‘But why did Farrow phone up The Sunday Times?’ Peter Earl asked.

‘So that’s how the report got in the newspaper,’ said Salahadin.

‘Yes, Farrow phoned up the paper and told them about his visit to Cairo. If Farrow is working with a gang, why would he do that?’

‘Perhaps he is calling for help,’ replied Salahadin. ‘The smugglers may be making Farrow work with them. Perhaps Farrow doesn’t want to help them to find the tomb.’

Salahadin promised to write to Peter and let him know what had happened. Then the two men said goodbye and Salahadin went to Scotland Yard.

Salahadin had arranged to meet Chief Inspector Beaston of Scotland Yard. The Chief Inspector showed Salahadin a file with a short report on Dr John Farrow. Farrow had been fined two years earlier for having a small quantity of cannabis.

‘But he never told us where he got the cannabis,’ Chief Inspector Beaston told Salahadin. ‘If he had told us where he got the drugs, he would not have been fined.’

‘What about Interpol?’ asked Salahadin. ‘Do they know anything about Farrow?’

‘Nothing at all,’ replied Chief Inspector Beaston. ‘As far as we know, this visit to Egypt is the first time he has ever left England.’

‘It’s strange that no one knows very much about Dr Farrow,’ said Salahadin.

It was late when Salahadin got to bed, but he read a little of Farrow’s book before he fell asleep. And the next day on the plane he went on reading the book with interest.

I must go and see Professor Gomouchian early tomorrow morning, he thought to himself, as the plane took him across the Mediterranean towards Egypt.

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