فصل 02

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فصل 02

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CHAPTER TWO

James Bond - Secret Agent

Commander James Bond of the British Secret Service picked up the diamond from the desk and held it in front of the desk lamp. He was a tall, handsome man, with blue eyes and dark hair. He wore an expensive dark blue suit and a white shirt. Bond looked carefully at the diamond. It was a carat, and its many colours shone brightly in the light. ‘It’s beautiful,’ Bond said.

M, Head of the British Secret Service, moved his hand towards a pile of paper packets on the desk in front of him. He opened a packet and pushed it across to Bond.

‘What you’re looking at is the best - a “Fine Blue-white”,’ he said. For the next fifteen minutes, M showed Bond many different kinds of diamonds. Finally, he sat back in his chair. He looked worried. ‘Ninety per cent of all diamond sales happen here in London,’ he said. ‘It’s big business - fifty million pounds a year. But two million pounds worth of diamonds are being smuggled out of Africa every year. We think they’re going to America. To American gangs of criminals.’

‘Why don’t the mining companies stop it?’

‘They’ve tried, but they can’t. And the Government thinks that the problem is too big for a lot of separate mining companies,’ said M. ‘There’s a big packet of smuggled stones in London at the moment. They’re waiting to go to America. Special Branch know the name of the carrier who’s going to take them there. They also know who’s going to be watching him.’

‘Why don’t Special Branch or MIS stop them?’ asked Bond.

‘Because that won’t stop the smuggling,’ replied M. ‘The carriers never talk. And they probably know nothing important. They get the diamonds from a man here, then hand them to another man when they get to the other side. We need to follow the pipeline to America and see where it goes over there. And the FBI won’t be much help to us. It’s a very small part of their fight with the big gangs. Have you heard of “the House of Diamonds”?’

‘Yes,’ said Bond. ‘The big American jewellers. They’re on West 46th Street in New York and the Rue de Rivoli in Paris.’

‘They’ve got a small place in London, too,’ said M. ‘In Hatton Garden. They were once very big buyers at the monthly sales of the Diamond Corporation. Now they’re buying less and less. But they’re selling more and more. So where are they getting their diamonds? Their main man in London is Rufus B. Saye.’

‘What do we know about him?’ asked Bond.

‘Not much,’ said M. ‘He has lunch every day at the American Club in Piccadilly. Doesn’t drink or smoke. Lives at the Savoy Hotel.’

‘So, what do you want me to do?’ asked Bond.

M looked at his watch. ‘You have a meeting with Ronnie Vallance at Scotland Yard in an hour. He’s going to put you into the pipeline in the place of the carrier.’

‘And then?’ said Bond.

‘And then you’re going to smuggle those diamonds into America,’ said M. ‘You’re going to be facing the Mafia and their American gangs, James. And you’ll be on your own.’

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