Sir John and Marie were sitting in the drawing room of their Southampton Row house. Marie was busy with her crochet and Sir John was simultaneously reading the newspaper and eating biscuits. A series of grumbling sounds and appreciative mutterings were issuing from him depending on the activity.
“It really is too much,” he said, putting down the paper.
“What is?” said Marie.
“That whole business,” he said, waving a hand vaguely at the paper.
He turned to look at the plate of biscuits, now empty.
“We go through those rather quickly don’t we?” he chuckled. “I’ll ring for some tea, there might be more.”
Marie smiled to herself and then at the maid as she entered the room.
“Here is some tea and I brought you some more biscuits,” said Miss Henderson.
“That was rather quick,” said Sir John. “You must be a mentalist.”
“I can assure you my mental facilities are in full working order,” she said, looking a little put out. “By the way, do you know when Mr Bosch might be calling? Only that ironing device he gave me is playing up a bit. Well, a bit more than usual. A lot more in fact.”
“I…he’s… well isn’t he here?” said Sir John. “It seems like he usually is.”
“I don’t think I have seen him for a few days,” said Marie.
“Well, if you do see him, please kindly send him downstairs,” said Miss Henderson. “On a not unrelated topic, I’m afraid I’ve had to send that skirt with the lace trim to the repairer Mrs Jennings. There is a small mark on the waistband and the lace is completely destroyed. As is much of the skirt”
“Oh dear,” said Marie. “Yes, we’ll definitely send Mr Bosch to you when we see him.”
“And finally, here is the post,” said Miss Henderson, handing a few envelopes on a silver tray.
“Thank you Miss Henderson,” said Sir John and began attacking the post and the biscuits with equal vigour.
“Oh here’s one from Osvold,” said Sir John. “That’s rare, I wonder what he wants.”
Sir John opened the letter and a frown crossed his face as a biscuit was inserted into his mouth.
“Hur-rur-rur fur-rur hur-rur,” said SIr John through the biscuit.
Marie looked puzzled and so Sir John handed her the letter.
“Oh, he hasn’t heard from Mr Bosch either,” said Marie. “And he usually gets a telegram every day.”
“I shall call Mr Bosch on the telephonic device” said Sir John. “This is one mystery we can solve easily.”
Sir John picked up the telephone and called. There was a pause whilst it rang then it was picked up.
“Ah here he is,” said Sir John. “Hello Phleb… What do you mean you’re not there, I’m talking to you. Stop, slow down man you’re not listening to me. What do you mean ‘leave a message’? Phlebotomous? Phlebotomous?”
The telephone made a high pitched tone. Sir John put it down, looking at it suspiciously.
“Something is seriously amiss,” he said. “I shall go at once.”