Colonel Greene had been young. He had been about thirty when he had been told by Herr Schneider that a young German composer and his wife had been missing for two years.
They were both German, so the Colonel began his investiagtions in Germany. Three years there taught him that the girl was from the East and the man from the West. A shopkeeper who happened to have been the man's best friend said that they had gone on their honeymoon to Sweden about seven years before. Also in Germany, a man claimed to have known another man who had sent him a letter about five years ago from sight-seeing Hadrian's Wall in England, being confused about the object of Colonel Greene's quest. This man had gone on several long walks during his stay, and on one he had seen a house on fire over the hills. After enquiries, though he did not mention the burned house, the man found out that the house had belonged to an unknown German couple. The man had not gone back to the burned house. The man died a few months later from a terminal illness. The Colonel had thought nothing of it then.
Colonel Greene had sighed at the time, packed his things and set out for Scandinavia. Much searching brought him to a woman called Synnove Cederberg, who had said after a good deal of bland interrogation that she had sent one letter to her friend a long time ago describing the local gossip. Synnove had seemed a gossiping sort of woman because she had talked more of her letter and how it related to the present day rather than of helpful information about Heinrich and Ilsa Eichmann. He did learn, however, that the couple had spent a two-year honeymoon in Sweden before going to England to make their living. Synnove could not remember their address. She knew they lived near Scotland. She did not know many English towns off the top of her head. She said that in Ilsa's letter Ilsa had been asking about her best friend Jonelle Levander, who apparently had been about to have a child. Synnove could not say where the Levander family were now, because they had left for England just a month ago and she had not yet recieved the new address.
Colonel Greene, tired with his wild goose chases of five years or more, but thinking that the said Mrs Levander might prove extremely valueble, travelled back to England and spent the next three years, interspersed with other cases, tracking the Levanders. He gave up eventually and went up to 'near Scotland' to search for someone who could've known the Eichmanns. This was where the burned house idea came in and Colonel was sure that the burned house was the same as Heinrich Eichmann's house. It was his last hope. The problem was, where was it? And where was the will? If he could find the will, he would know the name of the house and the inheritor of this house, and would almost certainly be able to track it.