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Haychester By John M Upton
Security Novel Series Episode 13

Genre/Category: Crime, Thriller, Mystery
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Haychester By John M Upton
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See below for links to the other 17 books in the Security Novel Series.

It is back to where it all began for the Commander as a relaxing day off takes a turn that sees him return to his old stomping ground of Haychester and re-live his first days a Security Service officer all those years earlier.

In days of old when Southdown buses were green and the trains blue & grey, something nasty was turning up in dumped suitcases, a series of armed wages thefts had begun and dropped into the middle of it a young officer of the Service who got the job of finding out who and what was behind it all.

Along the way a conspiracy arises, suspicions with some pretty grim conclusions are raised and a shadowy figure begins to emerge who we will be meeting more in future episodes in the series.

It is back to Haychester (the Sussex city of Chichester in reality) to return to the beginning of the Commander’s career in the Service.

We find out how he became know as ‘The Commander’, discover he was still a tad reckless even if it got the job done back then and also meet some new characters who will be playing a more prominent role over the next couple of episodes in the series.

This effectively became the first episode in what can be semi-officially classified as the ‘Leytonstone Trilogy’ and it was nice to be back writing about a place (all be it fictionalised) that I know so well.

Download other books in the Security Novels series by John M Upton:

Hainault by John M. UptonHolborn by John M. UptonWaterloo by John M. UptonMoor Park By John M Upton Westminster By John M Upton Victoria By John M Upton Embankment By John M Upton Earl's Court By John M Upton Lewisham By John M Upton Epping By John M Upton Liverpool Street By John M Upton Marylebone By John M Upton Bank By John M Upton Leytonstone By John M Upton London Bridge By John M Upton Cannon Street By John M Upton Bethnal Green. By John M Upton

Find out more about the author and his work by visiting


"Hello, yes?" Divisional Commander Tracy Caverner, the head of the London Metropolitan Division of the Department of National Security, Police & Civil Defence Service called as the telephone ringing interrupted her intended afternoon of sifting through endless paperwork for the umpteenth time.

"I'm sorry to interrupt again Maam" the switchboard operator downstairs in the main New Scotland Yard communications centre responded apologetically "There is a Commander Al Longton from the Haychester Office on line three wanting to speak to the Regional Administrator General."

"Oh right" Tracy replied, her tone becoming more positive upon recognising the name of an old friend and former colleague in the service although her husband the Regional Administrator General in whose office she was sitting on the top floor of New Scotland Yard knew him far better "Best put him through then."

"Al? It's Tracy, how are you?" she called as soon as the call was put through.

"Oh not too bad thanks" Longton remarked "Haychester is the same as it ever was, a quiet sleepy county town in the middle of a quiet sleepy county."

"I'm jealous" Tracy responded with a wry smile "London seems to have turned into a lunatic asylum of late, every nut, goon and loon seems to have declared it open season since we got rid of Temple-Smythe's bunch" she remarked looked with distain through the larger pile of files on the desk.

"I have to admit I never really liked the big city" Longton confirmed "Always was a country lad myself, so is the Commander in some way, well for as long as I have known him at any rate."

"So what can I do for you?" Tracy asked.

"Well actually I was hoping to get a hold of your husband" Longton explained.

"He is away for the weekend with Jack" Tracy confirmed "Something I can help you with?" she asked.

"Maybe" Longton confirmed "It's about an old case he and I worked on down here a very long time ago, some new information has cropped up and I was hoping he could take a look at it for me as quite frankly we are well and truly stumped."

"Well I have to go and pick those two renegades of mine up later this afternoon" Tracy confirmed "How about I ask him to give you a call when I see him?"

"That would be great thank you" Longton agreed "It is probably nothing but I reckoned it wouldn't hurt to run this by him and see if anything rings any bells."

"This isn't something that is going to wind up with us being shot at by any chance?" Tracy asked with more than a hint of sarcasm "Only we seemed to have got through quite a lot of ruined uniforms of late" she admitted.

"I doubt it" Longton confirmed with a laugh "We have only strictly third rate criminals down in this leafy part of the world these days, we seemed to have sent all the lunatics in your direction."

"There must be something about this crazy city that draws them in" Tracy agreed.

"So where is the Commander then?" Longton inquired "Not like him to take time off."

"Insistence of the Prime Minister" Tracy explained "All three of us were given the weekend off by executive order, I only returned this morning and the two men in my life will be back tonight."

"This Jack" Longton asked "I take it he is the newly adopted son?"

"The same" Tracy confirmed "He is a great lad and at the moment he and my husband are indulging their mutual passion for large metallic objects that run on rails."

"Why am I not surprised?" Longton joked. "Years of experience?" Tracy remarked wryly.

"Could well be" Longton confirmed "Some things never change really. Look, I will be in my office in Haychester from about five o'clock onwards if you can get him to call me?"

"Will do" Tracy confirmed "Good to hear from you" she confirmed.

"You too" Longton agreed "Good bye." With that Longton hung up and then returned his mobile telephone to the inside pocket of his uniform tunic before leaving the Security Service patrol car and proceeding over to a group of forensics officers by the edge of the Haychester Rife who were proceeding to examine a large suitcase which had been dragged out during dredging work to improve the drainage.

"Barrett!" Longton called to the young female officer supervising the retrieval and examination of the case just as it was opened and those gathered around it all recoiled with shock at what was revealed inside "Is it what I think it is?" he asked.

"Yes Sir" Lieutenant Barrett confirmed "Looks like we have got another one."


"Baynards and Christ's Hospital only!" the Commander called as he looked up and down the platform of Slinfold station on the preserved steam railway that linked Guildford and Christ's Hospital along the Surrey and Sussex border.

This weekend the Commander was enjoying a rare weekend off as a volunteer on the line, today dressed in full 1950's British Railways guard uniform and in charge of the 16:45 departure from Slinfold bound for Christ's Hospital.

Watching from the footplate of the M7 class 0-4-4T type steam locomotive was the Commander's recently adopted son Jack, a very intelligent and ever resourceful twelve year old who was enjoying himself thoroughly that weekend as driver's mate.

The only missing member of the family was of course Tracy and even she had been on duty as the Station Master at Baynards the rest of the weekend, returning to London just that morning to resume duty leaving the two men in her life to enjoy playing with their big steam trains.

"Ok" the porter on the platform called up to the Commander who responded by checking his old pocket watch before blowing his whistle and climbing aboard the guard's compartment door at the rear of the packed three coach train.

"Let's go then" the Commander called and with a further two blows on the whistle and a wave of the traditional green flag, he signalled the right away.

Amidst a cloud of steam, the brakes were released and with the locomotive being brought to life like the sudden awakening of a sleeping dragon, the train began to move off.

With Jack helping out on the footplate shovelling coal as furiously as he could despite his small stature and the Commander walking through the train checking tickets, it did not seem long before the train was pulling into the immaculately restored station serving the small village of Baynards.

"Your next stop on this service is Baynards" the Commander announced over the rather basic public address system on board that dated back to the early 1930's before leaning out of the guard's compartment window to observe the approach to the very rural single platform station.

The Commander was enjoying himself immensely and his joy increased significantly when he noticed as the train drew in a familiar lady in full Security Service uniform waiting for his arrival on the platform.

"Hello love" the Commander called as the train juddered to a halt whereupon he stepped out onto the platform where he and Tracy greeted each other with a hug and a kiss "You're early" he remarked.

"I thought I would surprise you love" Tracy explained amid a beaming smile "Don't tell anyone but I sneaked off a little bit early."

"I have always taken the attitude that as long as you are in uniform, you are never off duty, speaking of which" the Commander remarked as he dutifully opened a carriage door to allow Tracy on board before proceeding to check up and down the platform to ensure all were aboard prior to departure.