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chapter 12
chapter 11
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chapter 2
chapter 1

The Famous Five: The Final Adventure.
A Tribute to Enid Blyton.

Chapter 11.
Hunt for the MP's.

The afternoon sky was a clear, cloudless blue but the watery spring sun hung too low to rob the air of any chill. The four children, wrapped in warm overcoats and scarves, were surprised at the many people thronging Green Park.
   Anne supplied the obvious explanation. "Of course, it is Bank Holiday Monday. All the excitement, plus being almost isolated inside the Mayfair Hotel, has made us lose track of time."
   "The athlete will not be able to practise with all these people about," grumbled Dick.
   Dick was proved to be correct. Two teams of brightly kitted boys playing football and a group of noisy spectators shouting encouragement occupied the athlete's favourite spot.
   The five stood watching the exuberant boys chase the white and black panelled football around the field. The referee, dressed in black, blew a long blast on his whistle for half time causing the young players to rush for the touchline. With sparkling eyes and rosy cheeks each child guzzled water, or sucked on a sharp orange segment, while listening intently to their respective trainer bestow many words of wisdom.
   "This is not getting us very far," said George. "Shall we explore the rest of the park? Maybe we might find an ice cream seller."
   Dick brightened up. "Yes. I could do with a gianormous cornet after missing breakfast and you lot only allowing me a measly lunch."
   The others laughed at Dick's strange mixing of words and continuous quest for food. The four had missed breakfast due to all the happenings and had only allowed themselves a quick sandwich for lunch before dashing off into the park. Dick had managed to grab an extra round, half in each hand, before following in hot pursuit.
   The five soon found a mobile ice cream van complete with a multi-coloured striped awning. A scattering of tables and chairs were arranged to the front.
   "Let's have a sit down and discuss our plan of action," said Julian.
   He ordered the cornets including an extra large one for Timmy.
   "Mmm, rum and raison," said Anne, taking a large lick. "Isn't it strange how grown-ups only eat ice cream in the summer when it is really hot. They do not know what they are missing."
   "Timmy!" yelled George. "Don't eat so fast. You will be taking my hand off next."
   "Let's get down to business," said Dick. "Where do we go from here, Ju.?"
   "The only leads we have are the two members of parliament and maybe Sir Peter Brooke The Home Secretary," said Julian. "The sixty four thousand dollar question is: where would be the most likely place to find them?"
   "The Houses of Parliament," shouted the other three in unison.
   Julian smiled. "Correct. The Houses of Parliament. What I propose is that two of us keep an eye on the main entrance while the other two check out the park for the hammer thrower."
   "Don't forget that today is a Bank Holiday," reminded Anne. "Even Members of Parliament are probably not at work today."
   "Yes. I had not thought of that," admitted Julian. "I have a feeling we are running out of time. Even one day could make a big difference. Let us hope that Detective Inspector Pollard is having more luck. But somehow I do not think so."
   The children finished off their ice creams in silence.
   "Come on. Let's continue our walk," said Anne. "My feet are becoming like blocks of ice."
   Dick found a stick and threw it off into the distance. Timmy gave a few joyous barks and raced away to fetch it back.
   The sight of the stick spinning through the air reminded Julian of the seemingly bogus ball and chain. "Hold on you three," he said, "I've just remembered something that could be another small part of this puzzle. The more clues we all know the likelier we are of coming up with a solution."
   The other three gathered in a circle about him, with hands thrust deep inside pockets and stamping of feet, while Julian revealed his thoughts on the hammer throwers apparent underweight missile.
   "Oh no! Not another mystery," exclaimed Anne. "My head is spinning with so much to think about."
   Julian laughed and gave her hand a squeeze. "Don't worry Anne. Just relax and allow your thoughts to have a free rein."
   The rest of the day was spent pleasantly enough in the park, but they were all secretly eager to get on with the hunt for the MPs.

The next morning, after breakfast, the five gathered in the hotel lounge.
   Julian looked around at the others. "Dick and I had a chat last night and thought it would be a good idea if we hunted for the MPs in as many ways as possible."
   "We are already covering the park and The Houses of Parliament," said George. "Did you come up with any other places?"
   "Not exactly," said Dick, "but we thought we could look up their names in the telephone directory and see if any of them live nearby."
   "There is a telephone room across the hall," said Anne. "I had a nose around in there yesterday. The shelves are simply chock-a-block with huge directories."
   George was not keen to stay inside the hotel for too long as Timmy easily became restless. "Why don't Anne and I go off to search for the MPs leaving you and Dick to check out their addresses,"
   "Good idea, George," agreed Julian. "We can either meet you in the park or near The Parliament buildings."
   Timmy was slightly puzzled at all the goings on, but was glad to be out in the park once again. His attention was immediately attracted by the jerky movements of a small creature sitting upright close to a small copse of elm trees. It was a squirrel busily nibbling at an acorn he had hidden during the autumn. He held the acorn with nimble paws, deftly turning and stripping off the outer case with sharp, front teeth. The squirrel had seen Timmy enter the park, but was not at all bothered. Domestic dogs are no match for a canny, wild squirrel. In fact he continued munching nonchalantly with his typical, quick, twitchy action even when Timmy came thundering towards him at breakneck speed.
   With only seconds to spare, the squirrel popped the remainder of the nut into his mouth and scampered for the nearest tree, in four fluid leaps. Even before Timmy had reached the tree, the cheeky animal had sat himself on the lowest branch tantalizingly just out of reach, and continued to nibble at his acorn. Timmy was furious. He leapt up at the squirrel, barking madly.
   "Timmy! Timmy!" shouted George, from way off in the park. "You will never catch a squirrel. Can't you see he is just playing games with you?"
   Timmy gave one last bark and raced off after the girls.
   "I cannot see the athlete or the MPs," said Anne, looking about her. The only people she could see were uniformed park keepers with pointed sticks, piercing litter left by yesterday's crowd and depositing it into sacks.
   "Come on, Timmy," said George, giving him a friendly pat. "It's off to The Parliament buildings for a little spying."
   The two girls found an ideal spot right opposite the main gates. They sat on the low wall that surrounded Westminster Abbey and leaned back against the shiny, black railings.

Julian and Dick sat at a table in the telephone room of the Mayfair Hotel, each studying a large book. Julian's was a telephone directory listing names from P to T and Dick's from U to Z.
   "There are simply hundreds of David Wests," moaned Dick, "and even more plain D. West."
   Julian nodded. "Mine's similar. There are no Peregrine Turners but lots of just P. Turner."
   Julian continued to scan the list of names, hoping to spot a clue. "Do you think it would say if they were an MP or not, Dick?"
   Dick screwed up his face. "I have found a David West M.D. here. Isn't that some sort of Doctor?" He then had a thought. "Why don't we try directory enquiries?"
   "Good idea," said Julian, picking up the telephone. He was soon talking to a young lady and asking her for the address of Mr Peregrine Turner MP.
   "I am very sorry," came back the reply, "but all Members of Parliament are ex. directory, which means we have no listing of their addresses or telephone numbers. I would suggest you contact their political party headquarters." She gave him the number and rang off.
   The political party headquarters were no help at all. A plummy, hoity-toity voice explained. "...for security reasons we are not allowed to divulge the telephone numbers or addresses of our Members of Parliament. If you would like an audience with your constituency member please send in a written application. Your application will be processed in due course, but I must warn you, this could possibly take some months."
   "A fat lot of good that would be," muttered Julian, replacing the receiver. He turned to Dick. "Come on let's go and see how the girls are getting on. We seem to have drawn a blank here."
   Julian and Dick took the same route through the park as the girls, hoping to bump into the athlete, but if anything there were even less people about. The park attendants had completed the task of litter collecting and there was now no trace of yesterday's crowds.
   The boys found Anne and George sitting on the wall, swinging their legs, with Timmy sprawled out at their feet.
   "How did it go, Dick?" asked Anne.
   "Absolutely hopeless," replied Dick. "No information at all. How about you?"
   "Pretty good really," said Anne, smiling. "As you can imagine there has been quite a lot of activity over there." She nodded towards The Houses of Parliament's main gate. "The best news is we spotted Turner and West stroll in together not ten minutes ago. That means if they come out on foot we should have no problem in following them. We have not seen Sir Peter Brooke, yet, but he might have sneaked in by car. Most of the vehicles going in have darkened windows so it is pretty hard to see inside."
   Julian looked across the road. There were now two policemen on duty, one controlling the main gate for vehicles and the other the small side gate for pedestrians.
   "Hey up! This could be interesting," he said, as a big Jaguar XJS drew up and was allowed through the main gates with a minimum of fuss. Julian stood on the wall and held onto the railings for balance. By standing on tiptoe he could just manage to see the Jaguar park in front of the Parliament buildings and the driver get out to open the back passenger door. Julian let out a whistle on recognising the unmistakeable figure with slicked-back, dark hair and suavely dressed in a charcoal overcoat, topped with a black, fur collar.
   "It's him, alright. It's Sir Peter Brooke. Has someone got a pen and paper? I will read out the Jag's registration number. You never know when it might come in handy."
   Dick fished out his small notebook and wrote down the number: 'SPB216'.
   Julian jumped down and swiped his hands together to rid them of any dust. "That's three of them accounted for. So far so good."
   "Are you two guys going to take over from us here?" said George. "This wall gets a bit hard after a while."
   Julian smiled at George rubbing her behind. "Yes. Why don't you take Timmy for a run in the park and don't forget to keep an eye out for the athlete."

The rest of the day was spent taking two-hour shifts watching the Parliament building entrance.
   'Big Ben' was striking the hour of four o'clock when Julian and Dick came back from the park to where the two girls and Timmy sat keeping watch.
   "Anything to report?" asked Dick, hopefully.
   "Not a lot," replied Anne. "Only the usual comings and goings. But nobody we recognised."
The children were too busy chatting to notice a long, sleek, black car draw up at the kerb nearby. Four burly men leapt out and surrounded the five in a menacing manner.
   George put a reassuring hand on Timmy's collar as he let out a deep growl.
   The men were clone like. Tall, broad shouldered and with dark crew cut hair on bullet heads.
   One reached into his inside pocket, produced a small leather wallet and flipped it open revealing an identity card complete with photo.
   "Special Branch," he growled and staring at George he added. "Sensible lad holding onto that dog." Then glaring deliberately at each child slowly in turn. "We've been watching you four very closely all day and, to put it mildly, you have been acting in a very suspicious fashion. So what are you up to, eh? What exactly is your game?"

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