On 21st December 1911, a French anarchist gang made history by using the first getaway car. The car, a 1910 Delaunay-Belleville luxury limousine (pictured), registration number 783-X-3, was stolen on 14th December 1911 by four members of the gang who changed the plate to 668-X-8.
A week later they used the car to intercept a bank messenger en route to a bank in Paris. At 8.25 am the messenger arrived by tram carrying a satchel and briefcase. A gang member grabbed the satchel and briefcase, but the messenger would not let go. Shots were fired, wounding the messenger. With the satchel and briefcase in their hands, the gang jumped into their getaway car, executed a screeching U-turn and sped away.
They left the car in Dieppe, which suggested to the police that they had fled across the channel. However, they were still in France. In hiding, they opened the satchel and discovered 5,126 francs while the briefcase contained 130,000 francs-worth of useless cheques and bonds. If only they had looked inside the messenger’s jacket where they would have discovered a wallet crammed with 20,000 francs.
Welcome to Sam’s Sunday Supplement #11, a weekly digest of news from Sam’s world.
The Sam Smith Mystery Series is based in Cardiff. Here is a view of Cardiff Bay. At present, Sam is working from a houseboat. Her office houseboat is moored to the right of this picture, on the River Taff.
I am researching background material for my 1944-5 mini-series. Although cars were rare in country areas during the Second World War, and petrol was rationed, my heroine, Ann Morgan, will have access to a vehicle because her husband is a flight lieutenant in the RAF seconded to M15, the security service. The Morgan’s car will be this stylish 1938 Jensen S-type. Anyone fancy a ride! 😃
Currently, I’m reading Above Suspicion and Assignment in Brittany, the first two novels written by espionage novelist Helen MacInnes, pictured. These novels about the Second World War were written during the war, so they carry the stamp of authenticity. Furthermore, Helen MacInnes was married to Gilbert Highet who served in MI6 as a British intelligence agent. It is believed that Highet provided espionage details for many of MacInnes’ books.
An all-male cast, filmed in one room, no special effects…focus groups would never allow this film to be made today, yet it is spellbinding. Twelve Angry Men and Dog Day Afternoon (see below) were directed by Sidney Lumet. The films receive a mention in my book, Mind Games, which incidentally is on course to break the record for pre-orders in the Sam Smith Mystery Series.
Three posters from Dog Day Afternoon, one of my favourite films, and a film that has influenced my writing. There is a realistic feel to this movie enhanced by the natural interaction between the characters, the lighting and the ad-libbed lines, including the classic Wyoming line. Al Pacino is outstanding, and that can be said for all of the cast. Cinema doesn’t get any better than this.
An interesting insight into the creation of a detective series.
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