A veil might with profit be drawn
over the events of the next half-hour. Suffice
it to say that no such person as “Inspector Brown”
was known to Scotland Yard. The photograph of
Jane Finn, which would have been of the utmost value
to the police in tracing her, was lost beyond recovery.
Once again “Mr. Brown” had triumphed.
The immediate result of this set back
was to effect a rapprochement between Julius Hersheimmer
and the Young Adventurers. All barriers went
down with a crash, and Tommy and Tuppence felt they
had known the young American all their lives.
They abandoned the discreet reticence of “private
inquiry agents,” and revealed to him the whole
history of the joint venture, whereat the young man
declared himself “tickled to death.”
He turned to Tuppence at the close of the narration.
“I’ve always had a kind
of idea that English girls were just a mite moss-grown.
Old-fashioned and sweet, you know, but scared to move
round without a footman or a maiden aunt. I guess
I’m a bit behind the times!”
The upshot of these confidential relations
was that Tommy and Tuppence took up their abode forthwith
at the Ritz, in order, as Tuppence put it, to keep
in touch with Jane Finn’s only living relation.
“And put like that,” she added confidentially
to Tommy, “nobody could boggle at the expense!”
Nobody did, which was the great thing.
“And now,” said the young
lady on the morning after their installation, “to
Mr. Beresford put down the Daily Mail,
which he was reading, and applauded with somewhat
unnecessary vigour. He was politely requested
by his colleague not to be an ass.
“Dash it all, Tommy, we’ve
got to do something for our money.”
“Yes, I fear even the dear old
Government will not support us at the Ritz in idleness
“Therefore, as I said before, we must do
“Well,” said Tommy, picking
up the Daily Mail again, “Do it. I
shan’t stop you.”
“You see,” continued Tuppence. “I’ve
been thinking ”
She was interrupted by a fresh bout of applause.
“It’s all very well for
you to sit there being funny, Tommy. It would
do you no harm to do a little brain work too.”
“My union, Tuppence, my union!
It does not permit me to work before 11 a.m.”
“Tommy, do you want something
thrown at you? It is absolutely essential that
we should without delay map out a plan of campaign.”
“Well, let’s do it.”
Tommy laid his paper finally aside.
“There’s something of the simplicity of
the truly great mind about you, Tuppence. Fire
ahead. I’m listening.”
“To begin with,” said Tuppence, “what
have we to go upon?”
“Absolutely nothing,” said Tommy cheerily.
“Wrong!” Tuppence wagged
an energetic finger. “We have two distinct
“What are they?”
“First clue, we know one of the gang.”
“Yes. I’d recognize him anywhere.”
“Hum,” said Tommy doubtfully,
“I don’t call that much of a clue.
You don’t know where to look for him, and it’s
about a thousand to one against your running against
him by accident.”
“I’m not so sure about
that,” replied Tuppence thoughtfully. “I’ve
often noticed that once coincidences start happening
they go on happening in the most extraordinary way.
I dare say it’s some natural law that we haven’t
found out. Still, as you say, we can’t rely
on that. But there are places in London
where simply every one is bound to turn up sooner
or later. Piccadilly Circus, for instance.
One of my ideas was to take up my stand there every
day with a tray of flags.”
“What about meals?” inquired the practical
“How like a man! What does mere food matter?”
“That’s all very well.
You’ve just had a thundering good breakfast.
No one’s got a better appetite than you have,
Tuppence, and by tea-time you’d be eating the
flags, pins and all. But, honestly, I don’t
think much of the idea. Whittington mayn’t
be in London at all.”
“That’s true. Anyway, I think clue
N is more promising.”
“Let’s hear it.”
“It’s nothing much.
Only a Christian name Rita. Whittington
mentioned it that day.”
“Are you proposing a third advertisement:
Wanted, female crook, answering to the name of Rita?”
“I am not. I propose to
reason in a logical manner. That man, Danvers,
was shadowed on the way over, wasn’t he?
And it’s more likely to have been a woman than
a man ”
“I don’t see that at all.”
“I am absolutely certain that
it would be a woman, and a good-looking one,”
replied Tuppence calmly.
“On these technical points I
bow to your decision,” murmured Mr. Beresford.
“Now, obviously this woman, whoever she was,
“How do you make that out?”
“If she wasn’t, how would they have known
Jane Finn had got the papers?”
“Correct. Proceed, O Sherlock!”
“Now there’s just a chance,
I admit it’s only a chance, that this woman
may have been ‘Rita.’”
“And if so?”
“If so, we’ve got to hunt
through the survivors of the Lusitania till we find
“Then the first thing is to get a list of the
“I’ve got it. I wrote
a long list of things I wanted to know, and sent it
to Mr. Carter. I got his reply this morning, and
among other things it encloses the official statement
of those saved from the Lusitania. How’s
that for clever little Tuppence?”
“Full marks for industry, zero
for modesty. But the great point is, is there
a ‘Rita’ on the list?”
“That’s just what I don’t know,”
“Yes. Look here.”
Together they bent over the list. “You see,
very few Christian names are given. They’re
nearly all Mrs. or Miss.”
“That complicates matters,” he murmured
Tuppence gave her characteristic “terrier”
“Well, we’ve just got
to get down to it, that’s all. We’ll
start with the London area. Just note down the
addresses of any of the females who live in London
or roundabout, while I put on my hat.”
Five minutes later the young couple
emerged into Piccadilly, and a few seconds later a
taxi was bearing them to The Laurels, Glendower Road,
, the residence of Mrs. Edgar Keith, whose name
figured first in a list of seven reposing in Tommy’s
The Laurels was a dilapidated house,
standing back from the road with a few grimy bushes
to support the fiction of a front garden. Tommy
paid off the taxi, and accompanied Tuppence to the
front door bell. As she was about to ring it,
he arrested her hand.
“What are you going to say?”
“What am I going to say?
Why, I shall say Oh dear, I don’t
know. It’s very awkward.”
“I thought as much,” said
Tommy with satisfaction. “How like a woman!
No foresight! Now just stand aside, and see how
easily the mere male deals with the situation.”
He pressed the bell. Tuppence withdrew to a suitable
A slatternly looking servant, with
an extremely dirty face and a pair of eyes that did
not match, answered the door.
Tommy had produced a notebook and pencil.
“Good morning,” he said
briskly and cheerfully. “From the Hampstead
Borough Council. The new Voting Register.
Mrs. Edgar Keith lives here, does she not?”
“Yaas,” said the servant.
“Christian name?” asked Tommy, his pencil
“Missus’s? Eleanor Jane.”
“Eleanor,” spelt Tommy. “Any
sons or daughters over twenty-one?”
“Thank you.” Tommy
closed the notebook with a brisk snap. “Good
The servant volunteered her first remark:
“I thought perhaps as you’d
come about the gas,” she observed cryptically,
and shut the door.
Tommy rejoined his accomplice.
“You see, Tuppence,” he observed.
“Child’s play to the masculine mind.”
“I don’t mind admitting
that for once you’ve scored handsomely.
I should never have thought of that.”
“Good wheeze, wasn’t it? And we can
repeat it ad lib.”
Lunch-time found the young couple
attacking a steak and chips in an obscure hostelry
with avidity. They had collected a Gladys Mary
and a Marjorie, been baffled by one change of address,
and had been forced to listen to a long lecture on
universal suffrage from a vivacious American lady
whose Christian name had proved to be Sadie.
“Ah!” said Tommy, imbibing
a long draught of beer, “I feel better.
Where’s the next draw?”
The notebook lay on the table between
them. Tuppence picked it up.
“Mrs. Vandemeyer,” she
read, “20 South Audley Mansions. Miss Wheeler,
43 Clapington Road, Battersea. She’s a
lady’s maid, as far as I remember, so probably
won’t be there, and, anyway, she’s not
“Then the Mayfair lady is clearly
indicated as the first port of call.”
“Tommy, I’m getting discouraged.”
“Buck up, old bean. We
always knew it was an outside chance. And, anyway,
we’re only starting. If we draw a blank
in London, there’s a fine tour of England, Ireland
and Scotland before us.”
“True,” said Tuppence,
her flagging spirits reviving. “And all
expenses paid! But, oh, Tommy, I do like things
to happen quickly. So far, adventure has succeeded
adventure, but this morning has been dull as dull.”
“You must stifle this longing
for vulgar sensation, Tuppence. Remember that
if Mr. Brown is all he is reported to be, it’s
a wonder that he has not ere now done us to death.
That’s a good sentence, quite a literary flavour
“You’re really more conceited
than I am with less excuse! Ahem!
But it certainly is queer that Mr. Brown has not yet
wreaked vengeance upon us. (You see, I can do
it too.) We pass on our way unscathed.”
“Perhaps he doesn’t think
us worth bothering about,” suggested the young
Tuppence received the remark with great disfavour.
“How horrid you are, Tommy. Just as though
we didn’t count.”
“Sorry, Tuppence. What
I meant was that we work like moles in the dark, and
that he has no suspicion of our nefarious schemes.
“Ha ha!” echoed Tuppence approvingly,
as she rose.
South Audley Mansions was an imposing-looking
block of flats just off Park Lane. N was
on the second floor.
Tommy had by this time the glibness
born of practice. He rattled off the formula
to the elderly woman, looking more like a housekeeper
than a servant, who opened the door to him.
Tommy spelt it, but the other interrupted him.
“No, G U E.”
“Oh, Marguerite; French way,
I see.” He paused, then plunged boldly.
“We had her down as Rita Vandemeyer, but I suppose
“She’s mostly called that, sir, but Marguerite’s
“Thank you. That’s all. Good
Hardly able to contain his excitement,
Tommy hurried down the stairs. Tuppence was waiting
at the angle of the turn.
“Yes. Oh, Tommy!”
Tommy squeezed her arm sympathetically.
“I know, old thing. I feel the same.”
so lovely to think of things and then for
them really to happen!” cried Tuppence enthusiastically.
Her hand was still in Tommy’s.
They had reached the entrance hall. There were
footsteps on the stairs above them, and voices.
Suddenly, to Tommy’s complete
surprise, Tuppence dragged him into the little space
by the side of the lift where the shadow was deepest.
“What the ”
Two men came down the stairs and passed
out through the entrance. Tuppence’s hand
closed tighter on Tommy’s arm.
“Quick follow them.
I daren’t. He might recognize me. I
don’t know who the other man is, but the bigger
of the two was Whittington.”