Colonel Greene sipped his steaming tea in a café.
"Vee zink you can 'elp us," Herr Schneider said. "Vee need some very good, strong detectives. Colonel, I leave it to you."
Herr Schneider rubbed one heavy black eyebrow.
"So what did you say again?" asked Colonel Greene in his rather gruff voice. "This is all very confusing."
Schneider had a rather heavy German accent, a tendency for exaggeration, and, luckily, limitless patience.
"Two year ago a newly-ved German couple came out here, in your beautiful England, to live. Vee do not know vhere vis is exactly. Vee do know zat zey bought some land far from zivilisation. Zey had a haus built vhere many creepers climbed, and lived zere for just a month. Zen zuddenly zey vere gone and zee haus vas gone alzo. Zeir vills vere lost and zey vere not insured. No von had zeir address because boz zeir relations vere dead. Zen zuddens a man comes to zay zey existed and vee must find zee haus. Vee vill find zee vills soon. Vee are on zeir track. But zee haus and zee people, zey are gone!"
This had been eight years before.