Foreign News: Handwriting on the Wall

Lowering their faces under their flaring headdresses, the nuns browsing among the pious tracts in the little store silently shook their heads when Shopkeeper Armand Bertele offered to help them. The figures in nun's garb had reason for silence: they were in reality male counter-intelligence agents of France's formidable Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire, and they were more interested in baldish, Austrian-born Armand Bertele's comings and goings than in commentaries and chaplets.

For three months black-gowned agents loitered over Armand's bookstalls, in the Paris suburbs of Fontenay-sous-Bois, watching their prey. Others,...

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