A Loyal Spy

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A Loyal Spy

Why I wrote A Loyal Spy

Facts behind the fiction


A Loyal Spy

Miranda's clues

She wouldn’t have noticed it, the collage was such a jumble, but she’d spent so much time since Jonah left just sitting here staring at the collage, reading highlighted text and wondering at the connections, that she had developed a strong sense of what was where on the wall.
The postcard had been pinned directly on top of a map of Kandahar City. It showed a pier with a crane and a yellow hydraulic ram between two huge metal clam-shells that rose out of the water, their striated surfaces shining like gold in the late afternoon light. In the background were the distinctive tent-poles of the Millennium Dome. She pulled it off the wall and turned it over. On the other side was printed Thames Barrier, London. It had not been there before.

The postcard was not the only addition. There was a diagram of a ship: line drawings of it from above and from the starboard side and between the drawings a scale with an overall length of 440 feet. She was a freighter by the looks of it, with five holds and hatches, and three masts and derricks. Using a pen someone had drawn two score marks through the third hold just forward of the deckhouse. Beside the drawings, also in pen, someone had written a Latitude and Longitude.
51 28 00 N
00 47 01 E

Below the ship’s diagram there was a colour print-out of a web site page pinned over the top of the photo of Monteith. She tore it down as well. The page contained a table, a graph and a map. It was produced by the National tidal and Sea Level Facility & Tide Gauge Network and had the title: High and low water times and heights for SHEERNESS. The map showed the location of tidal gauges in the UK including the one at Sheerness in the Thames Estuary. The graph showed the predicted variance in tidal heights for September, ranging from zero to six meters and the table gave the high and low water times in GMT for each day in the month ahead. A date ten days hence with a predicted high water level of six meters at 11.00 pm had been ringed with a fluorescent marker. The date was September 12th.