"The wife of a very important person needs help. I cannot tell you her name, because her husband is a powerful man in the French government. Let us just call her Madame X. Three months ago, someone stole a letter from Madame X. She is offering a large amount of money to anyone who can return the letter to
We know that her husband's political enemy, Mister D'Arcy, stole the letter. We also know it is somewhere in his apartment. D'Arcy plans to use the letter to embarrass Madame X's husband and destroy his political power."
As you know, I have keys which can open any lock in Paris. For the last three months, my men and I have spent every evening looking for the letter in his apartment. But we cannot find it."
Dupin stopped smoking. "Tell me how you looked for it," he said. Germont moved forward in his chair.
"We took our time," he said. "First, we examined the furniture in every room. We opened all the drawers. We looked under the rugs. We searched behind all the paintings on the walls.
"We opened every book. We removed the boards of the floor. We even took the tops off the tables to see if he had hidden the letter in the table legs. But we cannot find it. What do you advise me to do?"
Dupin puffed on his pipe. "What does the letter look like?" he asked.
"It is in a white envelope with a red stamp," Germont said. "The address is written in large black letters."
Dupin puffed on his pipe again. "I advise you to go back and search the apartment again," he said.
About one month later, Germont came back to see us.
"I followed your advice," he said. "But I still have not found the letter."