Here we go again. The sudden newsflash interrupting some dreadful TV drama show with an unwanted dose of something far more real. Shock horror. Stunned silence as we absorb what’s happened. Leaving us ranting at the television set. Ranting at the evil of it, the stupidity of it, at the pointlessness of it.

This atrocity had all the hallmarks of al-Qaeda. Their MO. Cocky, showing off their prowess at death and mutilation.Three or more explosions simoultaneously, or several in quick succesion. Like the Twin Towers, like London, like Lisbon.

In Boston it appeared that, thankfully, two more bombs failed to detonate, it’s being said. If so, that’ll probably be their downfall.

It’s difficult if not impossible to build a bomb wearing anything on your hands, including latex gloves. It’s just too intricate. (I studied all this with the British Army bomb teams when writing The Tick Tock Man).

Another trueism learned from the police is that in big operations like this, the bad guys always make mistakes.They tend not to be the brightest sparkers in the box, or else they’d never have been taken in by their mentors, who never volunteer themselves, you’ll notice, for the front line. So the forensic evidence means that it is odds-on the perpetrators will eventually be caught.

One of my drinking mates at my local, The Lying Toad, is Old Smithy. In his 80s, he was nearly caught up in the Glasgow Airport bombing a few years ago, when he was on holiday with his wife.

Afterwards, he asked to borrow my English copy of the Koran. Smithy served as a pilot in both the British Army and the RAF at the end of World War Two, flying and teaching in India before partition. Still able to speak fluent Pashtu and motor-cycling around the Hampshire countryside on his motorbike and side car, Smithy wanted to determine just where Mohammed had written all this stuff about killing the infidels, keeping women hidden and denying them an education.

Despite his studies he could find no mention of any of it. Nor, thankfully, was he converted to “the cause”.

It appears that most of the negative side of Islam that Westerners come to loathe or fear is the invention of clerics who have had their own agenda over the years. Of course, Smithy could have it wrong. After a glass of wine or two, he was prone to falling asleep while he was reading.

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