Retired by some six years now the former Chief of SIS Sir Ernest Penfold’s explosive autobiography is set to appear on the bookshelves of the nation with shockingly good timing after the recent killing of world terror leader No#1 ‘Baron’ Silas Greenback. Greenback rather hastily buried in a pond ‘according to the ministrations of his warty sort’ long the nemesis of Sir Ernest it can only then be with some satisfaction for the roguish old spy master that his revelations so well coincide with the news. Also, it won’t hurt sales at all.
From extracts already published in The Observer we know that then plain Penfold was recruited into Century House in time to take a very small role in what here at least is confirmed as a very British coup against Harold Wilson. To a growing punk soundtrack Sir Ernest makes claims that had not Wilson stepped down claiming ill health that there was every chance that an interim government would have taken over. Sponsored by media mogul Greenback and involving even the armed forces, Penfold was on duty when the army ‘added security to Heathrow’. It made the papers (especially Greenback’s Mirror) but in Crickey Sir Ernest states the manoeuvre was entirely without government sanction. A demonstration of force, a conspiracy involving even Penfold’s own Chief (here called only ‘Colonel K’).
In the years that followed and as a dedicated field officer, Penfold was put in place as the Control for what he describes as a ‘purpose made blunt object’. One Austin ‘Danger’ Mouse. We learn in Crickey how close our country has come to disaster, how perhaps Silas Greenback rose to his eventual and most famous crime in 2001, but before that how close we all were to being drowned in custard. To being conquered by washing machines, or how we might have had to endure the unimaginable power of The Bad Luck Eye Of The Little Yellow God.
It is then not so much a book about Sir Ernest Penfold, nor even Austin ‘Danger’ Mouse, so much as the road that led but recently to that hidden enclave and a raid, and the death of ‘Baron’ Silas Greenback that already is seeing conspiracy theorists slick their monitors with the hot men’s cream of a certain kind of truth.
Perhaps in this tale of smoke, mirrors and custard that can be taken as a metaphor for perhaps the last, great spy master of England.