Suzanne – December 1985
Suzanne was enjoying her new posting to the embassy in Rome. The job was challenging, the city a delight to explore and the apartment simply marvellous. Her mastery of the Spanish language was helpful in picking up the rudiments of Italian very quickly although sometimes the similarities proved to be confusing. She was looking forward to her trip home and to seeing her father, Rebecca and the children who had effectively become an extended family to Suzanne.
A phone call to Rebecca had elicited that the boys wanted Transformers which Suzanne placed on her shopping list alongside the new cashmere sweater she intended to purchase for her father and God knew what for Rebecca. She was hoping for inspiration from the beautiful shops on the Via Condotti. Suzanne had already bought and posted presents for Penny and her family.
She had no idea what she could buy for Caitlin or how she could get anything to her. She worried that any contact from her may prove to put Caitlin into a difficult situation. Suzanne knew of old how Peterson operated. She had been systematically isolated from her colleagues by him. After the disastrous encounter with her old enemy Suzanne had done some more research into Michael’s meteoric career. She knew him and she smelt a rat. Before her return to Rome she had met up with Henry Lewis. Now retired Henry had been delighted to meet with Suzanne and reminisce on old times. He was even happier that she had a commission for him. Henry had the most extensive networks throughout the civil service and she felt sure that he would know someone in the Inland Revenue department. Once they had exchanged news and social niceties Suzanne had introduced the purpose of the meeting. In the utmost confidence she asked if what appeared to her to be a couple of discrepancies in Peterson’s companies accounts could be made the subject of a discreet investigation.
It was a bright, clear Saturday morning in Rome. Suzanne donned her winter coat and boots to make her final Christmas shopping foray. She strolled along the Corso d’Italia in the opposite direction to her usual route to work, skirting the Villa Borghese Park. She headed for the Piazza di Spagna stopping to browse at the many colourful stalls selling Christmas baubles and knick-knacks suitable for stocking fillers. Her destination however was the Mecca of luxury shopping the Via Condotti. Suzanne was determined to buy her father something really special and of course she had the Rebecca challenge to accomplish.
Two hours later, Suzanne, tired but triumphant (as her father would have said), stopped at Harry’s Bar on the way home. She had deserved a treat herself she reckoned as she was shown to a table and divested of her coat and parcels. Suzanne looked around the restaurant covertly people watching. She had always rather liked eating out alone for the opportunities it afforded. Particularly when she was on foreign soil; she could often understand amusing snippets of conversation that were not intended for stranger’s ears.
She was flying out to London on Monday evening after she finished work. She and Rebecca planned to decorate the tree together, while the boys were in bed, as a surprise for the morning. With this activity in mind she had purchased chocolate coins, snowmen made of ginger bread with sugar frosting, and some liquorice laces to hang like icicles off the tree. Altogether Suzanne was pleased with life. The only fly in the ointment was Michael Peterson. She would give Henry Lewis a call to see if he had heard anything from his ‘mole’ in the Revenue. He was going to be out in Majorca for Christmas but she had his contact details.
Suzanne – December 1985