|Even amidst barbarity, Christmas good will could still peek through in Berlin
Posting up on the blog and the main website in 2017 has been down on previous years, for various reasons, but I hope that Deighton Dossier readers found interest in checking out some of our now ten years' worth of previous articles.
This year, as you sip your mulled wine or enjoy a mince pie, be thankful that you are not Bernard Samson, the hero of the Berlin Game ennealogy, having to be in frozen West Berlin on Christmas Eve, as described in London Match:
'And so it was that, on Christmas Eve, when Gloria was with my children, preparing them early for bed so that Santa Claus could operate undisturbed, I was standing watching the Berlin police trying to winch a wrecked car out of the water. It wasn't exactly the Hohenzollern Canal. Dicky had got that wrong; it was Hakenfelde, that industrialised section of the bank of the Havel River not far from where Hohenzollern joins it.
Here the Havel widens to become a lake. It was so cold that the doctor insisted the frogmen must has a couple of hours' rest to thaw out. The police inspector had argued about it, but in the end the doctor's opinion prevailed. Now the boat containing the frogmen had disappeared into the gloom and was left with only the police inspector for company. The two policemen left to guard the scene had gone behind the generator truck, the noise of which never ceased.
The inspector was in his mid-fifties, a tall man with a large white moustache, its end curling in the style of the Kaiser's soldiers. It was the sort of moustache a man grew to make himself look older. 'To think,' said the inspector, 'that I transferred out of the Traffic Department beause I thought standing on point duty was too cold.' He stamped his feet. His heavy jackboots made a crunching sound where ice was forming in the cracks between the cobblestones.
'You should have kept to traffic,' I said, 'but transferred to the Nice or Cannes Police Department.'