The Stratenhoufen Case
Author's note: This was my first detective story with my fictional detective, Jack Mason. But since then I've... Show full author's note »
The SearchWhen the detective and inspector reached the hotel, it had almost stopped raining.
“Wait here,” the Burrow told the driver, and he and Jack went inside.
As they approached the desk, Inspector Burrow pulled out his badge and said.
“Police. Where is Mr. Stratenhoufen?”
“Uh... who, sir?” replied the lady at the desk.
“Mr. A, Stratenhoufen. Ain't he staying here?” He was a little agitated.
“Oh! Quite right.” The lady typed something in the computer and clicked a few times, and studied the screen. Then she said, “I'm sorry sir, but Mr. Stratenhoufen has moved to another hotel. He said ours was too drafty for his ‘valuable new instrument,’ whatever that meant.”
“Which hotel did he go to?”
“Well, he gave the address of the… the Northeast Hotel,” she replied.
“Well, what is it?” the inspector said snobbishly.
“Uh… what is what, sir?”
“Oh! Terribly sorry.” She printed off the information and handed it to him. He gave an un-enthusiastic “Thank you,” and stalked back towards the car outside.
Jack paused and said to the lady at the desk,
“Sorry about him,” smiling compassionately.
Jack followed after the inspector, consequently taking the blow of the door that he had dropped in his fury of being put at the inconvenience of having to go to a different hotel.
In the car, they both analyzed the piece of paper, which read:
Name: Mr. A. Stratenhoufen
Checked out: 8:00 A.M., Sept. 8, 2010
Transferred to: the Northeast Hotel, North East Street
Having read it, they deduced that it was a perfectly normal transfer note, and that nothing was significant about it; they furthermore left it at that and the inspector stuffed it in his pocket.
Upon arriving at the Northeast Hotel, they found the same thing. Only this time, the excuse the man had made for moving was the “excessive lack of convenience.” The new note said that Mr. Stratenhoufen had left at 8:45 A.M.
By now Inspector Burrow was outraged. Going by the note given them at this desk, they headed for another top-notch hotel in the city, this time the Sassafras Times Hotel.
But once again, a similar thing happened. The man at the desk said that Mr. A. Stratenhoufen had been unexpectedly called away, and left at 9:30 A.M. When they reached the car, Inspector Burrow exclaimed,
“The man is blimey dodging us! Now how are we going to find him?”
“I'm sure there's a way. He can't be far if he checked out at 9:30. That's only fifteen minutes ago,” replied Jack, looking at his watch.
“I suppose... But how?”
“Still working on it.”