The Innocent: A Novel
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Leonard Marnham is assigned to a British-American surveillance team in Cold War Berlin. His intelligence work—tunneling under a Russian communications center to tap the phone lines to Moscow—offers him a welcome opportunity to begin shedding his own unwanted innocence, even if he is only a bit player in a grim international comedy of errors. Leonard's relationship with Maria Eckdorf, an enigmatic and beautiful West Berliner, likewise promises to loosen the bonds of his ordinary life. But the promise turns to horror in the course of one terrible evening—a night when Leonard Marnham learns just how much of his innocence he's willing to shed.
hands. I happened to be in your area so I thought I’d pop up and say hello. He folded it into an envelope, which he sealed in error. He took the knife and opened it, imagining himself to be her, alone at her table, just in from work. He spread the letter out and read it twice, as she might. It was perfectly judged. He found another envelope and stood. There were all the hours of the afternoon before him, but he knew there was nothing he could do to stop himself leaving now. He was in the bedroom
feet on the muddy concrete and clasped his bony white hands. On the way Leonard had taken from his room a greatcoat Glass had found for him, but MacNamee had only his gray suit. “It’ll be warm enough down there when we get those amplifiers running. It could even be a problem,” he said. “Enjoying the work?” “It’s a very interesting project.” “You fitted out all the recorders. That must have got boring.” Leonard knew it was unwise to complain to a superior, even when prompted. MacNamee was
She shoved his hand away. She really was surprised, and now a little amused. “You’re drunk. You drank too much at the Resi and now you are Tarzan.” Her laughter irritated him. He ran her against the wall, harder than he intended. The air was knocked from her lungs. Her eyes were wide. She got her breath and said, “Leonard …” He knew that fear might come into it, and that they had to get beyond that as soon as possible. “Do as I tell you and you’ll be all right.” He sounded reassuring. “Take it
MacNamee called in once or twice a week. All that remained were the men monitoring or distributing the take, and these were the busiest and least communicative. There were also a few technicians and engineers keeping the systems running, and the security people. Leonard sometimes found himself eating in an empty canteen. His instructions were that he should stay on indefinitely. He carried out routine checks on the integrity of the circuits and replaced faulty valves in the tape recorders. Glass
blackness of a serge coat, and a smell, a miasma, sucked outward by the door’s movement, of alcohol and pickle. Then the face, the man, was right down by the floor in a sitting position, with his knees drawn up, asleep. The sleep of a drunk. It was beer and Korn and onions, or sauerkraut. The mouth hung open. Along the lower lip was a trail of whitish scum, interrupted in the center, at right angles, by a big black split of congealed blood. A cold sore, or a whack on the mouth from another drunk.