There was a rap on the door behind him, and a voice said “Mr. Greydon, sir, Detective Inspector Everet would like a word, if you have a moment.” James Greydon turned and nodded, and walked to his desk. The maid stepped aside, and the Inspector entered. He had greying blonde hair, deep blue eyes, and the tanned compaction of one who spent many hours outdoors.
“Thank you for seeing me,” he said as he came forward to shake Greydon’s hand. “I have been going through all the notes on your wife’s disappearance yet again, and something occurred to me. I don’t know why I haven’t thought of it before this. Your housekeeper said that Mrs. Greydon was going to the Bradbury dome to interview some possible tutors for the children, and to visit a friend. They say that she never arrived. So we know that she disappeared somewhere between your dome and the Bradbury dome.”
Greydon looked puzzled. “Yes, we’ve gone over this before, Inspector. Why bring it up again now?”
“True, we have,” Everet replied. “That was when the prospectors were raising cane over the projected government takeover of the iron deposits they found.”
“Yes, I remember that. But what has that got to do with Beatrice’s disappearance?”
“Some of the prospectors were racing around in the area between your dome and the Bradbury dome. One stopped, and when old Bill asked what happened, he was told it was just a rest and to change oxygen bottles. Right after that, that prospector took off toward the Lowell dome.
“I have reports that one George Cassidy, prospector, arrived with what looked like a long bundle of clothing over his shoulder. He disappeared into the crowds, and next time he was seen, it was off near the iron mines, a month later. Yesterday I went back and scoured the whole area where the prospectors had been. I found this.” He took out four flat pics and handed them to James.
“That’s a wrecked runabout!” he exclaimed.
“Yes, and we were able to find the identification, or at least parts of it. When the forensic guys were finished working their magic on it, we knew it was yours. I went to the space port and looked at all the departures from six months back, and one fits your wife.
“She was with a woman who identified herself as Nurse Wylye, and your wife, if it was her, as a patient who had to be kept sedated. The patient, the crew were told, was very ill, and had to be taken to Earth for special treatment. They accepted the story. I am going to Earth tomorrow to follow this up. I have contacted the Global Police and they looked into it. A woman who matches Beatrice’s description was found on a country road about fifty miles from the spaceport. She is now in a care centre, with no memory of a previous life. In fact, they said she is completely inert. “
“I want to go with you!” James exclaimed. “She will know me, she’ll remember me, if I am there to hold her, and talk to her.”
“I think it best if you wait until I have seen her. Make arrangements to follow on the next ship out, in two months. I’ll radio back as soon as I am sure it’s her, though I’m pretty sure now. I have no idea why George would kidnap her in the first place.”
“I can tell you that. He knew her when they were kids, and decided he would marry her. She refused, and married me. Since then he has made several threats to get her for himself. We never took them seriously.”
“Looks like you should have. And it would have helped in the investigation if you had told us this in the beginning. Well, that’s past, and now I have a good lead. Make your preparations, and I’ll let you know. See you on Earth in a few months, I hope. I’m off to the spaceport now. Goodbye.”
“Goodbye Inspector and thanks. I’ll be waiting and praying to hear you’ve found her. See you on Earth as soon as possible. And thanks again.” James watched the Inspector leave, feeling a great weight lift from his soul. She was found!”