Chapter 7 Summary
Leaving the police department, the Assistant Commissioner makes his way to the office of Sir Eldred, the Secretary of State. There is he is met by Toodles, Eldred’s personal secretary, and let in to see the important man. A large man sitting behind a great desk, Sir Eldred has no patience for unnecessarily details and implores the Assistant Commissioner to be as concise as possible in his conversation.
The Assistant Commissioner reports on the status of the Greenwich bombing investigation. He tells Eldred that he believes this bombing to be different from other anarchist plots and that he sees it more as a unique occurrence than the first in a series of violent events.
He then relates what he has heard from Heat concerning Verloc—that a piece of cloth recovered from the bomber’s body has been traced back to a shop owner with connections to a foreign embassy as well as to the London police department. The Assistant Commissioner puts forward the argument that secret agents such as Verloc are more trouble than they’re worth, that in the end they do less to help the authorities than they do to further the efforts of the revolutionaries.
Because Heat is connected to Verloc, the Assistant Commissioner requests that he be removed from the investigation. He argues that the police detective is too set in his ways to ably manage this delicate affair.
The Assistant Commissioner wishes to conduct the investigation on his own, as he was trained to do during his many years overseas. New in his desk-bound position, the Assistant Commissioner longs for the days when he conducted investigations on his own. Eldred agrees to go along with this plan and dismisses the Assistant Commissioner.
Leaving the Secretary of State’s office, the Assistant Commissioner returns to the police department, where he learns that Heat has left already, carrying with him the piece of dark blue velvet.
After sending a note to his wife canceling his appearance for dinner at the great lady connected to Michaelis, he makes his way to the neighborhood where Verloc has his shop. The Assistant Commissioner is dining at an Italian restaurant, and he adjusts his appearance by turning up the tips of his mustache and flipping up his coat collar. He then proceeds to Brett Street, where Verloc’s shop is located. Trying his best to remain unseen, the Assistant Commissioner watches the front of the shop, where there is a small band of light coming from beneath the front door.