He himself [Stalin] liked to tell a story of Beria, most terrible of secret policemen. Stalin loses a favourite pipe. A few days later, Beria calls to inquire whether it has been recovered. "Yes," replies Stalin, "I found it under the sofa." "Impossible!" says Beria. "Three people have already confessed to this crime!"

Max Hastings, “Armageddon: The Battle For Germany, 1944-1945”
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