The Adventure of the Sinister Stranger | Partners in Crime | A Tommy & Tuppence Mystery

A series of hoax calls

Tuppence receives a package with an engraved silver cigarette case, which she had bought for General Francis Haviland whom she drove in the First World War. It is her wedding gift to him. Tommy’s disparaging remarks about the General are interrupted by the arrival of the post and the first of the expected blue Russian letters. Their perusal of the letter is interrupted by the arrival of a large man with a club foot who states that he is Dr Charles Bower of Hamstead. Twice in the last week he has been summoned away to an urgent case but on each occasion the call has been a hoax. On arriving back home, he has found signs that his study has been carefully searched in his absence, probably for papers relating to his studies of alkaloids, these papers being securely held in a secret drawer in his desk. He has now received another summons, this time to a patient in Bournemouth, but in checking on this summons he has found it to be another decoy. Bower therefore expects that another search of his study will be made tonight, and wants Blunt to be there when the third attempt is made.

Decoy and Trap

Bower leaves, and his club foot reminds Tuppence of the brothers Okewood. Tommy resolves to be Desmond while she is Francis. Their next visitor is Detective Inspector Dymchurch from Scotland Yard, a colleague of Marriot, who understands the need to keep a watch on the blue letters and is following Bower. The doctor’s real purpose is to decoy the Berefords away from their office that night in order that it can be searched and the latest letter retrieved. Tommy and Dymchurch make another plan to return to the office that night and catch the agents in the act. They do so but it is a trap, and Tommy is bound. Dymchurch is a foreign agent accompanied by several of his men. Bower (real spelling, Bauer) is one of his gang. He threatens Tommy with torture to reveal the whereabouts of the blue letter. Tommy tells them that Tuppence has it, and writes a letter summoning her to the office; but he signs this “Francis” and shows them the General’s wedding present as proof that this is his real name and not “Theodore Blunt”. Tuppence arrives and alerted by the false name in the note, she has brought Inspector Marriot with her and several armed policemen. “Dymchurch” and his co-conspirators are arrested

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