Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Maurice Castle, sixty-two years old, works a desk job in a two-man subsection of British Intelligence. Castle’s duties and those of his younger office mate Arthur Davis involve receiving and sending information to and from South Africa, where Castle previously worked as a field agent. One day on his way to lunch, Castle meets the new head of security, Colonel Daintry. Though polite, Daintry asks Castle to open his briefcase and show that he is not removing any classified papers.
Later, Castle rides the train to his home in Berkhamsted, where he senses something amiss. His wife Sarah tells him that their young son Sam has measles. Castle’s anxiety subsides somewhat. What he values most in life is Sarah, a black woman he met in South Africa, and her son Sam. That weekend, Daintry and others from security meet at the country house of Sir John Hargreaves, Daintry’s superior, for a pheasant shoot and a discussion of the security leak that was traced to Castle’s office. Over whiskey and cigars, Hargreaves decides that once the culprit is identified he will have to be eliminated to spare British Intelligence the embarrassment of a public treason trial. To facilitate that end, he invites Doctor Percival to join them in case they should need suggestions for an undetectable poison.
One morning, Castle brings two copies of War and Peace from Halliday, the bookseller he visits. Hargreaves later reports that in a few weeks Castle will...
(The entire section is 1024 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of The Human Factor Summary. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!