Following a tip-off Gently and Bacchus acquire a suitcase full of stolen passports dropped by petty crook Jimmy Cochran. Cochran's old flame Maggie Alderton worked in the office where they were issued and is found raped and strangled next day, the father of her child being identified as one Thomas Ali, for whom she was apparently trying to secure a passport. Cochran is in a turf war with some Arab boys, also involved in dodgy passports and Maggie's transvestite boss is also less innocent than he first appears. However, facts prove Ali and Cochran to be father and son and neither has killed Maggie, a pawn in the whole scam. With the real murderer hanged, Gently, a veteran of the 1959 Notting Hill riots in London, nonetheless warns young Bacchus of the perils of racial intolerance.
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Did You Know?
Pictures of Maggie's baby seem African rather than Arab. South Shields has had a large Yemeni community since the 1890s. This was soon joined by merchant seaman and their families from Somalia. However both Arab and African communities were referred to locally as Arabs. See more
The book is set in 1962, and we see evidence early in the film that it is too - yet midway through we see a television set showing the "BBC2 625 lines" test-card. BBC2 didn't start broadcasting until 1964. Also, most sets at that time would not have had the UHF/625 line capability as the other channels available at the time were still on VHF/425 line system. See more
[Having been beaten up by Jimmy on the beach
I'll bring you the Arab! I'll bring you the Arab!
[Scared and sobbing eith a blade at his throat
This is your last chance, Hamed! You bring him... I'll kill him. You don't bring him, I'll kill you!