(set: $rand to (either: "A","B","C","D","E","F","G","H","I","J","K","L","M","N","O","P","Q","R","S","T","U","V","W","X","Y","Z"))
Readers hoping to solve the mystery of the Beach Murders -- involving a Romanoff Princess, a CIA agent, two of his Russian counterparts and an American limbo dancer -- may care to approach it in the form of the card game with which Quimby, the absconding State Department cipher chief, amused himself in his hideaway on the Costa Blanca. The principal clues have therefore been alphabetized. The correct key might well be a familiar phrase, e.g. PLAYMATE OF THE MONTH, or meaningless, e.g. qwertyuiop ... etc. Obviously any number of solutions is possible, and a final answer to the mystery, like the motives and character of Quimby himself lies forever hidden
(set: $A to "**A**")
As always after her bath, the reflection of her naked body filled [[the Princess|H]] with a profound sense of repose. In the triptych of mirrors above the dressing table she gazed at the endless replicas of herself, the scent of the Guerlain heliotrope soothing her slight migraine. She lowered her arms as the bedroom door opened. Through the faint mist of talcum she recognized the handsome, calculating face of [[the Russian agent|M]] whose photograph she had seen in [[Statler|Q]]'s briefcase that afternoon.
(set: $B to "**B**")
[[Statler|J]] waded through the breaking surf. The left cup of the [[brassiere|R]] in his hand was stained with blood. He bent down and washed it in the warm water. The pulsing headlamps of the [[Mercedes|S]] parked below the corniche road lit up the cove. Where the hell was [[Lydia|L]]? Somewhere along the beach a woman with a bloody breast would frighten the wits out of the Russian landing party.
<p align="center">$A $B $C $D $E $F $G $H $I $J $K $L $M $N $O $P $Q $R $S $T $U $V $W $X $Y $Z
####THE BEACH MURDERS
Hypertext version by
Can you uncover the whole
alphabet of unreason?...
(set: $A to "_")(set: $B to "_")(set: $C to "_")(set: $D to "_")(set: $E to "_")(set: $F to "_")(set: $G to "_")(set: $H to "_")(set: $I to "_")(set: $J to "_")(set: $K to "_")(set: $L to "_")(set: $M to "_")(set: $N to "_")(set: $O to "_")(set: $P to "_")(set: $Q to "_")(set: $R to "_")(set: $S to "_")(set: $T to "_")(set: $U to "_")(set: $V to "_")(set: $W to "_")(set: $X to "_")(set: $Y to "_")(set: $Z to "_")
(set: $C to "**C**")
The self-contained face of the bullfighter, part gamin, part Beatle, lay below [[Quimby|G]] as he set out the cards on the balcony table. Whatever else they said about the boy, he never moved his feet. By contrast [[Raissa|D]] was pacing around the bedroom like a tigress in rut. [[Quimby|N]] could hear her wide Slavic hips brushing against his Paisley dressing gown behind the escritoire. What these obsessives in Moscow and Washington failed to realize was that for once he might have no motive at all.
Double-click this passage to edit it.
(set: $D to "**D**")
Those bloody little capsules, [[Raissa|S]] thought. No wonder the West was dying. Every time she was ready to lure [[Quimby|C]] over to [[Sir Giles|P]]'s villa he took one of the tranquillizers, then went down to the sea and talked to the beachniks. At Benidorm he even had the nerve to bring one of the Swedish girls back to the apartment. Hair down to her knees, breasts like thimbles, the immense buttocks of a horse. Ugh.
(set: $E to "**E**")
[[The Princess|U]] slid the remains of the eclair into her mouth. As she swallowed the pastry she pouted her cream-filled lips at [[Statler|Y]]. He lowered his rolled-up copy of Time Atlantic; with its photo of [[Quimby|H]] before the House Committee. The dancers moved around the tea-terrace to the soft rhythm of the fox-trot. There was something sensuous, almost sexual, about [[Manon|O]]'s compulsive eating of eclairs. This magnificent Serbo-Croat cow, had she any idea what was going to happen to her?
(set: $F to "**F**")
[[Lydia|V]] felt his hand move along the plastic zipper of her dress. She lay on the candlewick bedspread, gazing at the sea and the white sand. Apart from the [[dotty English milord|R]] who had rented the villa to them the place was empty. As [[Kovarski|W]] hesitated the silence seemed to amplify all the uncertainties she had noticed since their arrival at San Juan. The meeting at the nudist colony on the Isle du Levant had not been entirely fortuitous. She reached up and loosened the zip. As her breasts came out she turned to face him. [[Kovarski|T]] was sitting up on one elbow, staring through his Zeiss binoculars at the apartment block three hundred yards along the beach.
(set: $G to "**G**")
[[Quimby|X]] watched the olive-uniformed policemen ambling along the shore, their quaint Napoleonic hats shielding their eyes as they scanned the girls on the beach. When it came to the crunch, on whose side would they see themselves -- [[Stat|A]]'s, the Russians', or his own? [[Quimby|P]] shuffled the [[Cordobes|C]]-backed cards. The platinum-haired call-girl who lived in the next apartment was setting off for Alicante in her pink Fiat. [[Quimby|J]] sipped his whisky. Five minutes earlier he had discovered the concealed aerial of [[Raissa|K]]'s transmitter.
(set: $H to "**H**")
[[Kovarski|L]] was worried. The sight of [[Raissa|N]]'s body on the [[pony skin|T]] reminded him that [[Statler|P]] was still to be reckoned with. The piercing whistle from the portable [[radio|V]] confirmed that [[Raissa|K]] had been lying there since dusk. He knelt down, eyes lingering for a last moment on the silver clasps of her Gossard suspenders. He put his finger in her mouth and ran it around her gums, searching for the capsule. A [[cherry|T]] popped into his palm. With a grimace he dropped it into the vodkatini by the radio. He opened [[Raissa|X]]'s right hand and from the frozen clasp of her thumb and forefinger removed the capsule. As he read the message his brow furrowed. What the devil had [[the Princess|J]] to do with [[Quimby|J]]? Was this some insane CIA plot to restore the Romanoffs?
(set: $I to "**I**")
The jade reptile shattered on the tiled floor at [[Sir Giles|F]]'s feet. With an effort he regained his balance. Pretending to straighten his Old Etonian tie, he touched the painful bruise under his breast-bone. He looked up at the tough, square-jawed face of [[the American girl|L]]. Would she hit him again? She glared at him contemptuously, bare feet planted wide on the [[pony skin|T]]. Ah well, he thought, there had been worse moments. At Dunkirk the bombs falling from the Stukas had made the beach drum like a dancing floor.
(set: $J to "**J**")
[[Statler|U]] gazed at the white salver-shaped flowers in the lobby. Their nacreous petals, bled of all colour, reminded him of [[Manon|W]]'s skin, and then of [[Quimby|S]]'s large pallid face, with its too-intelligent eyes watching over the sunken cheeks like a snide Buddha's. Was the exchange a fair one, [[the Princess|U]] for the complex, moody cipher chief? He walked out through the revolving doors of the hotel into the bright Alicante sunlight, realizing with a pang that he would never see [[Manon|Y]] again.
(set: $K to "**K**")
[[Raissa|H]] bent forwards over the bed. With the ring finger of her right hand she lifted her eyelid. For a moment the elegant mask of her face was contorted like an obscene paroquet's. She tapped the lower lid and the micro-lens jumped on to the tissue. The minute R on its rim shone in the beam of the Anglepoise. She wiped the lenses and placed them in the polarimeter. As the door of the safe opened, revealing the dials of the transmitter, she listened to [[Quimby|G]] singing Arrivederci Roma in the bathroom. All that [[drinamyl|D]] and whisky would keep the pig drowsy for at least an hour.
(set: $L to "**L**")
The bar had been a mere twelve inches from the floor, [[Kovarski|M]] recollected, as he felt the hard curve of [[Lydia|R]]'s iliac crest under the midnight blue stretch pants. For once the nightclub in Benidorm was hushed, everyone watching as this demented [[American girl|F]] with the incredible thighs had edged under the bar, hips jerking to the throb of the juke-box. [[Kovarski|O]] picked his nose, involuntarily thinking about [[Stat|Q]]. The CIA man had a face like ice.
(set: $M to "**M**")
The brake servos had gone. Holding the hand-brake, [[Lydia|V]] groped behind [[Kovarski|O]]'s chest for the off-side door handle. [[The Russian|F]] lay against the sill, his handsome face beginning to sag like the first slide of an avalanche. As the door opened he fell backwards on to the gravel. [[Lydia|P]] released the hand-brake and let the car roll forward. When [[Kovarski|P]] had gone she wound up the window, elegantly starred by the bullet which had passed through the door. She flashed the headlamps for the last time and pressed the starter.
(set: $N to "**N**")
[[Raissa|C]] finished off the remains of [[Quimby|E]]'s ice-cream with the eager lips of a child. In three hours they would be six fathoms under the Mediterranean, due to surface for the first time in the Baltic. She would miss the sunlight, and the small, dark Spaniards with their melancholy eyes following her down the dusty street to the bodega. In the end it would be worth it. Throw away the Man-Tan, as [[Kovarski|M]] often quoted to her in his mock-Yevtushenko, the sky will soon be full of suns.
(set: $O to "**O**")
For a moment Manon realized that [[Kovarski|N]] was undecided whether to rape or kill her. She backed into the bathroom, her left hand covering her powdered breasts. The trapped steam billowed into [[Kovaraski|T]]'s face. He goggled at her like an insane student in a Dostoevski novel. He stepped across the cork bathmat and took her elbow in a surprisingly tender gesture. Then the alabaster soap-dish caught her on the side of the head. A second later she was lying in a hot mess in the bath, [[Kovarski|W]]'s arms moving over her head like pistons.
(set: $P to "**P**")
[[Quimby|C]] handled the bottle of Black Label with a respect due their long acquaintance. The proto-Atlantic ocean had covered all North America and Europe except for Scotland, leaving intact a percolation system 300 million years old. As he filled his glass he watched [[Sir Giles|I]]'s villa on the bluff above the cove. The [[swarthy Russian|W]] and his [[American beatnik|I]] had moved in yesterday. No doubt [[Stat|A]] was at the Canton in Alicante. [[Quimby|N]] set out the cards for the last game. The hand would be hard to play, but luckily he was still dealing.
(set: $Q to "**Q**")
[[Statler|A]] was dying in the dark surf. As the Russian bosun let him drift away in the shallow water he was thinking of [[the Princess|U]] and her immense brown nipples. Had she borne a child then, keeping alive the fading memories of the Austro-Hungarian Empire? The burning wreck of the [[Mercedes|Z]] shone through the water, illuminating the bodies of the two Russians being dragged towards the dinghy. [[Statler|B]] lay back in the cold water as his blood ran out into the sea.
(set: $R to "**R**")
[[Lydia|P]] knelt by [[Kovarski|P]]'s [[Travel-Riter|T]]. In the courtyard below the bedroom window [[Sir Giles|I]] was setting off for Alicante in his battered Citroen. That twitching old goat, did the English ever think about anything else? She removed the hood from the typewriter, then peered at the new ribbon she had inserted while [[Kovarski|O]] was in San Juan. The imprint of the letters shone in the sunlight. She jotted them on to the bridge pad, then tore off the sheet and slipped it into the left cup of her [[brassiere|B]].
(set: $S to "**S**")
####Smith & Wesson
[[Kovarski|W]] blundered through the darkness among the dunes. Below him the surf broke like a lace shawl on the beach. The whole operation was going to pieces. By now [[Raissa|D]] should have been here with [[Quimby|E]]. He climbed the slope up to the [[Mercedes|Q]]. As he felt for the pistol in the glove compartment something moved on the gravel behind him. The gun-flash lit up the interior of the car. [[Kovarski|A]] fell sideways across the seat. The second bullet passed through his chest and went on into the off-side door.
(set: $T to "**T**")
[[Statler|E]] opened the capsule and drew out the folded tissue. In [[Raissa|X]]'s untouched vodkatini the rice paper flared like a Japanese water-flower. He fished it out with the toothpick and laid it on the salver. So this was how they made contact. He looked down at the body on the [[pony skin|I]] and smiled to himself. With luck [[Kovarski|R]] would literally eat his own words. As he turned the [[Russian girl|N]] over with his foot the [[cherry|H]] popped from her mouth. He pushed it back between her lips and went over to the [[Travel-Riter|R]].
(set: $U to "**U**")
With a sigh [[the Princess|Y]] dropped the goggles into the douche-bag on the dressing table. In spite of her efforts, the months of summer bathing on the Cote d'Azur before her meeting with [[Stat|Y]], her skin remained as white as the jasmine blossoms in the lobby. In her veins ran the haemophilic blood of the Romanoffs, yet the time to revenge Ekaterinburg had passed. Did [[Stat|G]] realize this?
(set: $V to "**V**")
[[Lydia|I]] tuned in Radio Algiers with a wet forefinger. The French had left some damned good records behind. She stood on the [[pony skin|H]], admiring her tough, man-like hips as she dried herself after the swim. Her sharp nails caressed the cold skin of her breasts. Then she noticed [[Sir Giles|I]]'s marmoset-like face peering at her through the fronds of the miniature palm beside the bedroom door.
(set: $W to "**W**")
6,000 metres per second, enough to blow [[Stat|H]] straight through the rear window of the [[Merc|M]]. [[Kovarski|L]] lifted the hood and lowered the bomb into the slot behind the battery. Over his shoulder he peered into the darkness across the sea. Two miles out, where the deep water began, the submarine would be waiting, the landing party crouched by their dinghy under the conning-tower. He tightened the terminals, licking the blood from the reopened wound on his hand. [[The Princess|A]] had packed a lot of muscle under that incredible ivory skin.
(set: $X to "**X**")
The Lockheed performance data would make a useful bonus, [[Raissa|D]] reflected as she slipped her long legs into the stretch pants. The charge account at GUM and the dacha in the Crimea were becoming a distinct possibility. The door opened behind her. Siphon in hand, [[Quimby|C]] stared at her half-naked figure. Without thinking, she put her hands over her breasts. For once his face registered an expression of surprising intelligence.
(set: $Y to "**Y**")
[[Sir Giles|D]] helped himself to [[Statler|W]]'s after-shave lotion. He looked down at [[the Princess|U]]. Even allowing for her size, the quantity of expressed blood was unbelievable. His small face was puckered with embarrassment as he met her blank eyes staring up at the shower fitment. He listened to the distant sounds of traffic coming through the empty suite. He turned on the shower. As the drops spattered on the red skin the magnificence of her white body made his mind reel.
(set: $Z to "**Z**")
The great fans of the [[guardia civil|G]] Sikorsky beat the air over the apartment block. [[Quimby|J]] bent down and retrieved two of the cards from the tiled floor. Below, along the beach road, the Spanish speed cops were converging on the wreck of the [[Mercedes|B]]. [[Quimby|K]] sat back as the helicopter battered away through the darkness. All in all, everything had worked out. The face of [[Cordobes|C]] still regarded him from the backs of the cards. A full moon was coming up over the Sierra. In the Alicante supermarket the hips of the counter girls shook to Trini Lopez. In the bodega wine was only ten pesetas a litre, and the man with the deck still controlled the play.