They called him “The Duke.” He owned a country house in Gloucestershire and flats in Streatham and Battersea, as well as a substantial bank balance. Which wasn’t bad going for an ordinary London cabby.

The Duke – real name Frank Everett – was reckoned to be a smart black market operator and in the months after the Second World War, when everything was in chronic short supply, he was doing very nicely. But on Thursday, October 18th, 1945, his body was found jammed into a narrow aperture of a wall on Lambeth Bridge. He had been shot at very close range.

A witness had seen The Duke pick up two well-dressed men outside the Houses of Parliament. The police were following up this line of inquiry when they arrested two Polish Army deserters, Marian Grondkowski and Henryk Malinowski, both well-known black marketeers. They were charged with the murder of Reuben Martirosoff, an international crook known as Russian Robert.

The two murder investigations dovetailed, and the hunt for the killers of The Duke was dropped when the two Poles were hanged for the murder of Russian Robert. Although the connection between the two murders was never formally established, the police were confident that the same men were responsible.