On June 17, 1982 the body of a well dressed man is found hanging under London's Blackfriars Bridge with no identification, however in his pockets are a brick and $15,000 in various currencies. Murder? Suicide? Inspector 'Serge Porter' is called in to investigate the case when it is discovered the hanged man is none other than Roberto Calvi, an Italian banker, chairman and director of Banco Ambrosiano.
IT WAS A DAY like any other day. The leaves swirled aimlessly in chaotic, endless circles at his tired feet, a cool, fine mist blowing in from the sea.
Well into his monotonous daily morning rounds, weary, middle-aged postman, Martin Shaffer, went about his business, dropping letters into post boxes on his route along a steady row of posh brownstone flats fronting the perpetually flowing Thames at Blackfriars Bridge. The kind of affluent people who lived in such comfortable upscale flats normally didn't associate with commoners of his lowly stature, but he couldn't care less what they thought. He was a simple working stiff and what the jaded, idle rich did was of no consequence to him.
Glancing up at the ruddy grey sky and incessant drizzle, Martin thought he caught a glimpse of the sun peering through the clouds and, when it finally came out, it lifted his spirits, and the slick, wet, busy London streets were suddenly full of promise.
And before him, the celebrated bridge stood like a grand old lady; having been built in 1753, when it became evident in those emergent times that a new bridge was needed to access the capital, this was the third such structure built across the Thames, after London Bridge and Westminster Bridge.
As Martin drew nearer to the many curved, arched structure, after completing deliveries, he paused to take in a bit of warm morning sun. The sun was always welcome after rain, and it dried the dampness from his clothing and his well-worn shoes.
Laying his mail bag down on a park bench, he stopped for a cigarette. The first smoke of the day was good he thought, as he sat and gazed out at the free flowing river.
In his reverie, observing the swirling currents, the sound of something creaking suddenly caught his attention. He looked up and caught a shadow of something dangling under the bridge's arched girders.
Curious, he stubbed his cigarette and went to investigate. Peering up under the bridge, near the parapet, he noticed a length of orange nylon cord lashed to bars of scaffolding under the inner section fastened to the archway. Whatever the object was it was bulky, and partially hidden in darkness in the underbelly of the towering structure. He took a few more steps forward, rubbed the stubble on his chin, and tilted his head upwards under the girders. An uneasy feeling came over him when he finally saw it. To his astonishment, he'd discovered the lifeless body of a well-dressed man in a crumpled, but expensive looking, dark blue pin-striped suit; hanging by the neck; the man's shoes still on, his feet dangling in the water.
Martin's skin bristled and his blood ran cold. He stumbled back in horror, crossing himself, "Oh... my... God!" he gasped, staring up at the gruesome find.
The Devil's Banker
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