The inspector was a little nonplussed. He did not for a moment believe that the girl was telling the truth.
“Perhaps,” he said tentatively, “you do not care to have your name come before the public in connection with a case so notorious as this?”
“Naturally,” the girl answered. “That, however, would not prevent my telling you anything that I knew. You seem to find it hard to believe, but I can assure you that I know nothing. Mr. Fynes was almost a stranger to me.”
The detective was thoughtful.
“So you really cannot help us at all, madam?” he said at length.
“I am afraid not,” she answered.
“Perhaps,” he suggested, “after you have thought the matter over, something may occur to you. Can I trouble you for your address?”
“I am staying at Devenham House for the moment,” she answered.
He wrote it down in his notebook.
“I shall perhaps do myself the honor of waiting upon you a little later on,” he said. “You may be able, after reflection, to recall some small details, at any rate, which will be interesting to us. At present we are absurdly ignorant as to the man’s affairs.”
She turned away from him to the clerk, and pointed to another door.
“Can I go out without seeing those others?” she asked. “I really have nothing to say to them, and this has been quite a shock to me.”
“By all means, madam,” the clerk answered. “If you will allow me, I will escort you to the entrance.”
Two of the more enterprising of the journalists caught them up upon the pavement. Miss Penelope Morse, however, had little to say to them.
“You must not ask me any more questions about Mr. Hamilton Fynes,” she declared. “My acquaintance with him was of the slightest. It is true that I came here to lunch today without knowing what had happened. It has been a shock to me, and I do not wish to talk about it, and I will not talk about it, for the present.”
She was deaf to their further questions. The hotel clerk handed her into a taximeter cab, and gave the address to the driver. Then he went back to his office, where Inspector Jacks was still sitting.
“This Mr. Hamilton Fynes,” he remarked, “seems to have been what you might call a secretive sort of person. Nobody appears to know anything about him. I remember when he was staying here before that he had no callers, and seemed to spend most of his time sitting in the palm court.”
The inspector nodded.
“He was certainly a man who knew how to keep his own counsel,” he admitted. “Most Americans are ready enough to talk about themselves and their affairs, even to comparative strangers.”
The hotel clerk nodded.
“Makes it difficult for you,” he remarked.
“It makes the case very interesting,” the inspector declared, “especially when we find him engaged to lunch with a young lady of such remarkable discretion as Miss Penelope Morse.”