Randolph Wilmott apprehensive
Wilmott, United States Ambassador to Britain, visits the Blunt’s detective agency. He arrived by the liner Nomadic few weeks back. His kitbag somehow got exchanged with kitbag of Mr Ralph Westerham, a senator, having same initials as him. Westerham discovered the mistake and sent his valet to return the kitbag. His valet returned the kitbag and took away his own from Wilmott’s valet.
A day back, Wilmott by chance met Westerham and mentioned the matter to him. Surprisingly Westerham was completely unaware of the matter. It became evident that the identical kitbag with same initials did not belong to Westerham. Wilmott is intrigued wondering about the possible reason for this bag exchange and asks Tommy to get to the bottom of the matter.
On further inquiry, Wilmott informs Tommy that his bag carried mostly boots, and no secret papers.
Beresfords speak to Richards
Tommy visits the embassy for further inquiries. He meet Wilmott’s valet Richards. He informs Tommy that nothing was missing from Wilmott’s bag when he got it back from Westerham’s valet. When the other valet arrived, they unfastened both the bags to confirm that further mistake was committed. Other valet got their bag and left. The other bag mostly contained toilet things, he saw a tin of bath salts. Richards recollects that a young lady names Eileen O’Hara was also present. She fainted just outside Wilmott’s cabin and asked Richards to get a doctor. After some time Richards returns with the doctor to find the lady was fine. During this time of searching doctor, she was alone near Wilmott’s cabin.
Advertise for Miss O’Hara
Tommy shares all the accumulated information when he reaches the Detective agency. He also shares his next action – Advertise for the lady, despite the risk of putting the perpetrators on guard.
Miss March’s tale
Two days later, a young lade names Cicely March arrives at Blunt’s Detective Agency in answer to the advertisement. Soon afterwards, an enraged spanish looking man force enters with a pistol in his hand. The man starts threatening the lady, and hints at his involvement in the exchange of bags and being rattled by the advertisement. He also warns Tommy to give up the investigation. Albert, despite having an option of calling in the police, decides to play a lone hand and gets control over the man, almost killing Tommy in the process. Despite things under control, Tommy gets suspicious of the girl. He decides to let the man go.
Cicely March’s story
Cicely informs Tommy that she too was on board the Nomadic. While on board, one day she was passing Wilmott’s cabin and saw O’Hara doing something with his boots. She slit the boot and attempted to push something inside, but before that Richards arrived with the doctor.. Curious, that the O’Hara might have hidden something sinister in the boots, next decided to check it herself. Next time she found an opportunity she drew out from the slit lining, the slip of paper. Later she found out that the slip of paper only bore some verses from the bible.
Previous day, using the same paper she made a boat for her nephew. When the boat got wet, Cicely saw a design appearing on its surface. She smoothed the paper flat and finds that water has revealed the hidden message on the paper. It wws kind of a tracing and looked like the mouth of a harbour.
Tommy suspects the tracing to be a plan of some important harbor defences. The woman O’ Hara had probably stolen this plan, and concealed it in Wilmott’s shoes suspecting that someone might be on her trail. Later she got hold of the bag only to find the paper missing.
Trap for Tommy
Cicely tells Tommy that the paper is securely locked in a safe at her place in Bond Street. Tommy agrees to accompany her to go fetch the paper and hand it over to Scotland yard. He scribbles a message on a paper, hands it to Albert and leaves, encountering Tuppence on the way.
Tommy rejects the idea of taking a taxi suspecting the enemies to be tracking them. They decide to walk to the place, lingers and have coffee on the way and finally reach the place -Cyclamen Ltd on Bond Street.
They enter the tiny place. A middle aged woman, behind a glass counter with Toilet preparation acknowledges Cicely March while serving a customer. The customer, a small dark woman, had her back facing Cicely and Tommy. Two men, seemingly bored, sit on the sofa and chairs on the right.
Cicely passed through the opened door at the end of the room followed by Tommy. The woman customer just in time manages to keep the door from locking. A minor struggle ensues inside, resulting in Cicely and the stranger who arrived earlier with the gun both getting handcuffed. It turns out that Cicely is Miss O’Hara herself.
Not the ambassador’s bag, but the other bag was important. The perpetrators wanted the other bag to be in ambassador’s possession to escape Customs examination, as ambassadors are immune and not subjected to such scrutiny. Once the bag got through customs, they got it back by sending a fake valet of Westerham. The other bag contained cocaine.