Part Ten of Angel Maker: Captain Hall by B.B.Wright


Angel Maker

A Short Story by B. B. Wright

An Inspector Alexander Collier Mystery

Inspector Alexander Collier Mysteries will often provide a choice for the reader. If you want to obtain a greater understanding and/or a ‘feel’ for the period follow the embedded links (high-lighted and underlined) sometimes found in the text of the story. From time to time, I may return to a part of the story  to add the link(s).

Part Ten

Captain Hall

 When Captain Lynn Hall had worked at the U. S. Embassy in Turkey in 1936 her high intelligence and language proficiency had not gone unnoticed. A career in Foreign Service—her lifelong goal—had been well within reach.

While hunting in the Kizilcahaman District of Ankara, everything she had aspired to become changed when she stumbled and shot herself in the leg. The bad news came a few days later in Ankara Numune Hospital when she learned that the surgeons had amputated her leg below the knee.

When finally fitted with a wooden prosthesis, she immediately called it ‘Cuthbert’ after Saint Cuthbert whose feast day had fallen on the same day as her accident.

Since amputees were barred from employment in the Foreign Service, her convalescence had bubbled over to despair and confusion.Unwilling to be defeated by her dilemma and to combat her growing depression, she packed up her essentials and began to backpack across Europe in search of new adventures.

Shortly after her arrival in London, her newly found friends introduced her to Stewart Menzies at one of the many late night parties she attended. She continued to meet him at similar venues until he recruited her as a member of the British Secret Intelligence Service.


“Stewart Menzies sends his regards,” she said.

Collier had worked with him in the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) during the early stages of World War One and knew that Stewart Menzies prided high intelligence and did not suffer fools lightly.

“He’s now a Lieutenant Colonel, I’ve been told.”

She nodded.

“Your accent…you’re American?”

“Born and bred in Baltimore, Maryland…” she replied.

“You’ve traveled quite the distance.”

“You don’t know the half of it, Inspector. And I won’t bore you with the details.”

“Please, maybe it’s just my inquisitive nature or snoopiness but I encourage you to bore me” he replied warmly. “Then, you must have family here?”

“None. My close friends form my family here.”

“Excuse me, Inspector,” Sergeant Snowden interjected, “but I’d bet the Captain would like a good ‘cup of Joe.”

“I haven’t had a good cup in a while,” she chortled, welcoming the interruption. “It would be welcomed, very welcomed, Sergeant. But, are you sure you’re up to it? The English aren’t known for great coffee.”

The Sergeant chuckled. “My mother’s side of the family live just outside Cincinnati and twice a year they send me a case of Eight O’Clock coffee. I understand it’s quite popular in the United States”

She beamed a large smile. “It is and I would love some, Sergeant.”

“Would you like some tea, sir?” Snowden asked Collier.

“No thank you, Sergeant.”

As the two of them stood facing each other after Sergeant Snowden had left, an awkward silence developed between them until Captain Hall walked over to the window to look out.

Collier bit his lower lip when he realized she had a prosthesis.

“My love for an English garden, it knows no bounds. I will never have to ask for pardon, as I stroll these lovely grounds.” She turned to face him. “Bernard Shaw’s English Garden captures the beauty I see out there, don’t you think Inspector?”

I’m surprised you would know it that well.”

“The Liberal Arts program I took at Radcliffe College built my love for poetry,” she replied. She looked at her watch. “Times running short and there’s lots to cover.”

Collier invited her to sit at one of the two chairs fronting his desk while he regained his seat behind it. As they sat opposite each other, he knew her eyes were scanning him and he felt a sense of helplessness from her reach.

“I’ve got some good news,” she finally said. “But it doesn’t come without great risk and possible dire consequences.”

Her words cut his breath short as he waited in anticipation.

“Your son and his fiancé have been found.”

A painful expression washed over his face as he looked at her long and hard.

“You call this good news?!” he retorted. “I already know they’re imprisoned at either Lemberg or Posen. And, unless you can free them, there is no room for further discussion.”

“They are not imprisoned. What you were told turned out to be false. For the time being they are in safe hands. What are you doing?”

“I’m phoning Lila, my wife, to let her know.”

Captain Hall quickly rose from her chair and placed her hand over Collier’s: “No, put the receiver down, NOW.”

He replaced the receiver and slumped back in his chair to wait for what he fully expected to be soul-wrenching news.



The Unlikely Hero – A Write at the Merge Prompt

The writing prompt this week from Write at the Merge is legs. The prompt included a photograph and a Justin Timberlake video.

For your reading enjoyment, I introduce:

The Unlikely Hero

Virginia sat at the edge of her bed and re-read the letter from the White House. Looking up, she watched the young lieutenant through the open bedroom door, her thumb gently gliding across President Truman’s signature several times. She noticed his impatience had become more noticeable as he awaited her reply in the living-room.

Sighing deeply, she thought: There can only be the one reply—any other would be foolhardy and dangerous. Looking at her legs, she remembered how her life had changed in 1933 while a clerk in the U.S. Embassy in Turkey. We’ve come a long way since then, haven’t we ‘Cuthbert?’ she mused, tapping her left leg with her hand before standing up. With a noticeable limp, she walked over to her desk and sat down and picked up the pen.


Virginia’s high intelligence and language proficiency had not gone unnoticed at the Embassy in 1933. A career in Foreign Service—her lifelong goal—was within reach.

On March 20, everything changed.

Hunting wild boar with friends in the Kizilcahaman District of Ankara, Virginia stumbled and shot herself in the leg. Though they managed to stop the bleeding, the grueling two mile trek back to their vehicle had taken its toll.

A few days later in Ankara Numune Hospital, she learned the bad news: the surgeons had amputated her leg below the knee.

When she was finally fitted with a wooden prosthesis, she immediately called it ‘Cuthbert’ after Saint Cuthbert, whose feast day was March 20. After difficult weeks of therapy, she walked out of the hospital and into an uncertain future.

Since an amputee could not be employed in the Foreign Service, her convalescence bubbled over with despair and confusion.

For several years, she backpacked throughout the Mediterranean. When the Germans invaded France on May 23, 1940, she was in Paris. Itching to get involved, she drove an ambulance for the French Army before fleeing to England.

Learning that the British Special Operations Executive was having difficulty recruiting, she volunteered to become a spy. Sent back to Vichy France under the guise of an American reporter, she worked under several aliases to organize French Resistance to carry out sabotage and guerilla warfare while writing articles for the New York Post. She barely missed capture by the Gestapo when one of the resistance cells she worked with was compromised. She escaped over the treacherous, snow covered Pyrenees to Spain.

Hearing of her exploits, the newly formed American Office of Strategic Services (OSS), recruited her and in 1944, prosthesis secured in her knapsack, she was parachuted into France to coordinate sabotage operations with the D-day landings.


Sealing her reply in the envelope, Virginia went out to the living-room and handed it to the lieutenant.

Later, opening the middle drawer of her desk, she pulled out a Gestapo reward poster: WANTED – DEAD OR ALIVE – THE LIMPING LADY.

To preserve her cover in the newly created CIA, she received the Distinguished Service Cross without publicity.