She Casts A Long Shadow – Book 8 – A stand-alone sequel to There Is No Going Home https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B089JDCR8D/
Preparing to expose a colleague of her husband Henry, as the mole at MI5, Henry is abducted by Special Branch and Ena is thrown into a murder case.
All the evidence points to Henry having killed the mole, which tells Ena Henry is being framed. Close to finding out the truth, Ena is suspended from her job at the Home Office and the investigation is blocked by Special Branch.
Help comes from an untrustworthy character. A deal is agreed: A ticket to Austria in return for the names of the mole’s associates, evidence to solve two of Ena’s cold cases, and the proof that Henry is innocent of murder. The catch? Ena accompanies the character to Austria as insurance.
‘Do you still love Henry, Ena?’
‘Do you still love your husband?’ Ena’s sister, Bess, asked.
Ena blinked back her tears. ‘Of course, I do.’
‘Then what’s the matter? I can see you’re not happy.’
Before Ena could reply, the door swung open and Henry appeared. He reached for the light switch, flicked it up and the lights went out. Behind him the stout figure of Foxden Hotel’s chef – his moonlike face eerily lit by a dozen flickering candles on a birthday cake – sashayed into the room to a round of applause.
Ena, grateful that the chef’s arrival had given her time to control her emotions, nudged Bess. ‘If he doesn’t put that cake down soon the candles will burn out and the icing will be covered in wax.’
Bess laughed. ‘It will. Chef can be an awkward old so-and-so and his ego expands with his girth, but so does his popularity. He’s worth his weight in candles.’
The chef eventually arrived at the table of the middle-aged woman celebrating her birthday. He put down the cake, the woman blew out the few candles that were still alight and everyone sang ‘Happy Birthday.’ When the chef turned to leave, Henry switched the lights back on.
Having played the part of lighting assistant, Ena expected her husband to return to his seat next to her. She looked across the room. He was standing in the corridor with his back to the door. She could tell by the way he lifted and dropped his shoulders that he was talking to someone. She waited for the person to come into view. They didn’t. Henry turned and looked at her. She smiled and beckoned him, but he looked away.
Ena drank what was left of her wine and banged the glass down with a thump. ‘We’ve grown apart,’ she said, bitterness overtaking the sadness she felt. She looked back at Henry. He had gone.
‘Have you seen Henry?’ Ena asked Frank, her brother-in-law.
‘Just before he left.’
‘Yes.’ Frank looked from Bess to Ena. ‘I thought you knew.’
‘No, I didn’t.’ Ena leapt out of her chair and grabbed her handbag from under the table. ‘How long ago did he leave?’
‘I’m not sure, ten minutes ago, perhaps a little longer. He came into reception from the direction of the dining room, so I assumed he’d been in here and told you he was leaving.’
‘He didn’t tell me he was leaving because he didn’t come in here. The last I saw of him he was talking to someone in the corridor.’
‘Probably the men he left with.’
‘Men? What men?’
‘Colleagues. He said they needed his help with something back in London.’
Spooks from Leconfield House, Ena thought. Don’t they ever have a bloody day off?‘Henry’s colleagues coming all the way from London on Boxing Night can only mean something important has happened.’
‘I assumed they were his colleagues. They were big blokes.’
‘Could they have been military men?’ Ena asked.
‘It’s possible. I thought he’d been in there with you and you’d know who they were.’ Frank dropped onto the chair next to Bess. ‘I’m sorry, Ena.’
‘Don’t be. Henry wouldn’t have told you who they were, anyway.’ Ena lifted her bag onto her shoulder and looked at her wristwatch. ‘Ten minutes ago, you said?’
‘Or longer,’ Frank said, as Ena made for the door. ‘They’ll be long gone now, love.’
‘Ena, wait for me!’ Bess jumped up and followed Ena out of the restaurant.
‘If Chef hadn’t spent so long pontificating before bringing that damned birthday cake in, Henry would have been with us when his so-called colleagues turned up.’ Ena turned to cross the marble hall and was met by the receptionist. She kept walking.
‘Henry asked me to tell you he’s been called back to London.’
The receptionist, trying to keep up with Ena pulled a ‘don’t shoot the messenger’ face.
‘Did he say why, or tell you who the men were?’ Ena asked, without slowing her pace.
‘He didn’t say why, only that the men were from a branch of the company he worked for.’
‘A branch?’ Ena’s stomach lurched, but she didn’t stop. What was so important that Special Branch needed to send two men up to Foxden during the Christmas holiday to take Henry back to London? What the hell did they want with him?