A Twist in the Tail by Jeffrey Archer

By Jeffrey Archer

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King Alfons then removed from another box the Order of the Peacock (Second Class) and placed it over Gerald's shoulders. Gerald, staring at the indifferent coloured glass stones, hesitated for a few moments before stumbling a pace back, bowing, and then returning to his place in the great dining room. He did not hear the waves of applause that accompanied him; his only thought was how he could possibly retrieve his lost chain immediately the speeches were over. He slumped down in the chair next to his wife.

I wonder if we will have an opportunity to meet the King again," said Angela. Gerald offered no opinion. In fact Mr and Mrs Gerald Haskins received two invitations connected with King Alfons's official visit, one to dine with the King at Claridge's -Multavia's London Embassy not being large enough to cater for such an occasion - and the second arriving a day later by special delivery from Buckingham Palace. Gerald was delighted. The Peacock, it seemed, was going to get three outings in one month, as their visit to the Palace was ten days before Walter Ramsbottom would be installed as Mayor.

Gerald left the plush carpet of Asprey's for the sewers ofNigeria. When a little over a month later he flew back toLondon, he travelled in to theWest Endfor his second meeting with Mr Pullinger. The jeweller had not forgotten Gerald Haskins and his strange request, and he quickly produced from his order book a neatly folded piece of paper. Gerald unfolded it and read the tender slowly. The entire chain then to be moulded in the finest eighteen carat gold. " "One could not be certain how long it might take to put together such a fine piece," said Mr Pullinger.

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