Running free

Me: Sometimes you’ve simply got to throw caution to the wind and run down to the stream.

Nell: Here we go.

Me: Casting aside the cares of the world you dip your paws in the cool water and embrace life.

Nell: Good grief. Harriet and I were simply chasing the ball.

Me: I know but it was so good to see you running free.

Nell: Yes. Life is a little tense at the moment.

Me: When are Harriet and Sally going to tea with Madame Odile?

Nell: This afternoon. David is to accompany them. He will wait outside during tea and escort them home.

Me: On his own?

Nell: Gladys has begged to go too but I’m not sure she is the right animal for the job.

Me: Can I ask what is going on, Nell? Only I feel rather confused.

Nell: This is highly confidential so please keep this to yourself. Charlie and Sally suspect the French bakery is a front for the dastardly N.O.I.R.

Me: Why are you spelling it? We know the bakery is called Oiseau Noir.

Nell: No. N.O.I.R. stands for the Notorious Organisation of International Rooks.

Me: Gosh.

Nell: They have French bakeries in London, Paris, New York and Rome and now they’ve come to Kingsbridge.

Me: I wonder why. It’s not really an obvious choice.

Nell: Exactly. Sally and Charlie mean to find out with the help of a double agent.

Me: How exciting. Who?

Nell: Harriet.

Me: Harriet?

Nell: Yes. She approached Madame Odile a while ago under the name of Mademoiselle Écarlate offering her services as an informer.

Me: The Cat made her costume.

Nell: Yes. The Cat has been working with Charlie for quite some time.

Me: Does Dave know?

Nell: He knows he must be vigilant and discreet.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: Did David just walk past dressed as a French onion seller carrying Gladys in my handbag?

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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