XVII.

Colonel Greene had been very surprised to hear of the missing couple who had apparently disappeared off the face of the earth along with their property. That had been a long time ago. He was honestly very tired with the wild goose chases his investigations led him on. Yet it was very important to find the people, or, at least, the house. He had spoken to the postmen, who most likely would not have remembered anything from ten years ago in any case. He had spoken to many people in the town. Shopkeepers denied his case - so many tourists came that no foreign-accented couple could be classed as more of consequence. The people who had been in the area all their lives denied it too. Ten years was a long time.

Colonel Greene was on the verge on giving up. Maybe Herr Schneider or his informants had made a mistake. They had said that the wills were nearly found. That had been eight years before. So why was there no more news? Eight years was a long time, nearly as long as ten years.

The Colonel wiped his brow. Why couldn't people just get insured, learn the language of the country, meet the locals and settle down? Why did it have to be so complicated? He had asked himself this on many cases over the years, and it never failed to surprise him how unprepared people were for death. If this German couple were dead, of course. It was getting to be a familiar thought with him. Not that it helped his chief case which had been uppermost in his mind for the past eight years.

Then he had an idea. Why hadn't he thought of it before? Well, he had thought of it. He had just been so tired. - The local people might remember something. He would go around the houses asking around.

The first few days of this seemed unfruitful. Then Colonel Greene came to a house he believed could not hide any information. Its occupants had only been in the house a year. One year was nowhere near ten years. It would be a lucky coincidence to find something...

Colonel rang the doorbell.

A short-ish woman with dark hair flicking at the ends and well-like blue eyes answered the door.

"Hello, I'm here on an investigation to find the whereabouts of the property of a couple who moved here ten years ago and to all intents have vanished," he said, repeating his speech of the past few days. "I wondered if you could help me."

"I may be able to, although it is unlikely. Do you know the name of this couple?" asked the woman.

The Colonel answered briefly with their surname, and the woman gasped.

She made him say it again to make sure and then she exclaimed,

"Them! Why, I think I do know about them! I know a lot!"

The End

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