Sue Lee Mystry Series, Book Twelve

The Cold War has produced Russian invasion fears in Alaska. To prepare, the FBI is secretly training civilians to transmit enemy movements. The flaw is the vast Alaskan wilderness is rich in minerals, leaving room for corruption and murder during Operation Washtub.

Operation-Washtub

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  • The Plane
    1951, Bodega Bay, California 
    Finn grabbed onto the wing of the Cessna to hold his boat in place while Dr. Danny McGregor pulled open the door of the plane to check on the pilot who was slumped over the controls. 
    “This pontoon is leaking badly it looks like a hole was punched in it, can we get him out,” Finn asked as he pushed up on the wing? 
    “Aye, I have freed him from his safety harness, easy now, push our fishing rods to one side. If you can put my cushion under his head, I can examine him.” 
    “Got it, wait, there’s his bag, hold us in place, I’ll get it—Okay, let’s head-on in. I’ll call Mary on the radio. You be needing an ambulance, then Danny?” 
    “Aye, and get the call numbers on that plane for the coast guard if she goes down.” 
    Finn jotted the numbers on his chart before, turning his fishing cruiser around toward home, calculating their time of arrival as he hailed Mary on his ship-to-shore radio. 
    “He must have hit something, Mary, give the coordinates to the coast guard. Hopefully, his plane is still afloat. Danny wants the ambulance there when we arrive, hold on a moment Mary, over.” Finn looked back at Danny, who was bent over the man lying on the deck “You be needing anything more Danny before I sign off?” 
    “No but you can slow down and let the ambulance know he’s expired,” Danny said, covering the pilot with a blanket he took from the cabin, "he was stabbed." 
    “I’ll be dammed,” Finn said, cutting back on the power, causing a rocking motion that knocked the pilot’s bag to the floor, the contents spilled out onto the deck along with a gun. Danny picked it up. 
    “If I’m not mistaken that is a Russian Makarov pistol, used by the military. I read an article about it in my Rod and Gun magazine last month,” Finn said as he trimmed his two engines to a slower and less choppy speed before telling Mary about the deceased pilot, but not about the gun. 
    “The newspapers are making us see Russians around every corner?” Danny said, setting the gun down, gathering up the contents, and setting them back on the chart table.“Russian or not, maybe we can identify him to notify his family. He has nothing in his pockets, but an empty envelope, but no return address. It’s addressed to Tom Paine Club, Spokane, Washington. Maybe that is where he is from.” 
    “Here’s something,” Finn held up a folder after signing off with Mary. “It has a dealer’s name in Fairbanks, Alaska, and a picture inside of a Cessna 140, without the pontoon rig, attached. It looks like a bill of sale for the plane, hard to make out the name without my glasses.” Finn spread it on the chart table so Danny could read it. 
    “The name is Nathan Cummings, English origin. I believe, not Russian. Aye, if that’s our man,” Danny nodded towards the deck? 
     

Crime Scene Do Not Enter