Suppose you are an employee in some large firm, next in line for a good job. You make your choice between the Gestapo and the Resistance. In the first case, you write, 'So-and-so takes strolls near the railway station often - he notes the troops passing through.' That's enough to get him picked up. To the Resistance you write: 'You wonder who tipped off the Boches about the aviator? Ask so-and-so.' And you get your promotion while the other chap's in jail, or after he's killed. Or say you're a middle-aged man with a pretty wife younger than yourself. She has a cousin of whom she's very fond. There's nothing wrong as yet, but you think there may be soon. A couple of notes and he is arrested as hostage, or deported to Germany. It's the lettre de cachet within the reach of all.
Frederic has many scores to settle. He wants to publish lists of informants that the new government would rather see suppressed. He especially wants revenge on a pathetic informer who turned his own daughter, the resistance fighter's lover, over to the Gestapo, supposedly on the naive assumption that she would quickly confess under pressure. She proved tougher than anyone thought and ended up dying under torture without naming names, and her blood is on her father's hands. Over time, Frederic killed the Germans who'd tortured his love, but his vengeance is incomplete while the old man lives. He's a juror for the trial of Frederic's grandfather, a fascist and collaborator. Tricking Norman into acting as his escort, Frederic invades the courtroom carrying a bomb. He wants the opportunity to denounce several of the jurors as crooks or collaborators, but wants to act as judge, jury and executioner for the old man. Living up to the principle that gave Surdez his title, Frederic kills his grandfather ("One for France"), then delivers the coup de grace to his true enemy after the spectators virtually lynch him ("One for me."). As a bonus, Frederic finally shoots himself. Almost inevitably, Norman learns that Frederic's bomb was a fake. A fellow American laughs cynically, but Norman "had believed in the bomb. And then, when you thought of Emilie and the others ... you did not feel like laughing at all." For one of Surdez's first postwar stories, this is an extraordinary piece of work.
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