Marian and His Curious Friend

Neighbors, yes. And spies?

To a casual observer, William Holden Bell appeared to be the very model of a hardworking, leisure-loving Los Angeles suburbanite. A U.C.L.A.-trained radar engineer, Bell, 61, had put in 29 years with Hughes Aircraft Co., a major defense contractor once owned by the late Howard Hughes. Together with his pretty second wife Rita, a Belgian-born Pan American airlines cabin attendant, and her nine-year-old son from an earlier marriage, Bell lived in a fairly ordinary-looking condominium complex in Playa del Rey. It had the usual Southern California accouterments—tennis courts, pools,...

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