Ellery read the note.
Our royal spy has been compromised.
Is there no honor among thieves?
He handed it back to the Duchess. "When did you last hear from Charles?"
"Monday. Something’s happened, Ellery!"
"Calm down. Where’s his appointment book?"
He flipped to the last entry:
2:15 Lunch with Queen
3:30 Business meeting
4:20 Meet with K—
"Lunch with Her Highness. Interesting."
"I thought perhaps —"
Ellery raised an eyebrow.
"Nothing. I’m worried!"
He opened the directory. Three Ks: Matthew Keating, Brewster Kingsbury, Steve Kissinger.
"The Duke vanishes, and you suspect one of us?"
"Precisely. His last contact likely knows his whereabouts. Which one of you did he meet?"
"Fine. How did you know the Duke?"
Kingsbury, a military man, spoke. "We attended university together. I’ve done some business with him since then, socialized a bit."
Next was Keating, a shrewdish man. "I am his accountant. I only see him twice a year."
Finally Kissinger, the American. "I used to work for the Duke."
"Quit to join a law firm in Portsmouth. Haven’t seen the man since I left."
Ellery pulled out the incriminating note.
"One of you wrote this. The Duke was meeting with someone to discuss payment. Some spying business. Didn’t bring enough, I guess. Untraceable, only the culprit left a telltale clue. British convention spells 'honor' h-o-n-o-u-r. The note spells it the American way. Grab him, sergeant!"
Kissinger pled innocent all the way to the paddywagon.
"Good work, Inspector; you’re fast on your feet."
As Ellery got in his car, he checked his trunk again: money and body, safely packed. Double crossing bastard. C’est la vie. That honor thing was genius ...
"Inspector Queen? The Duchess is on the phone."
"Tell her I’m on my way."
Now to get rid of that appointment book ...