The big clock outside struck 7.30. Early as it was, Inspector Stoddart was already in his room at Scotland Yard.
He looked up impatiently as his most trusted subordinate, Alfred Harbord, entered after a sharp preliminary tap.
"Yes, sir. You sent for me?"
The inspector nodded. "You are detailed for special duty at once. We are starting in the runabout immediately, so if you want to send a message?" He nodded at the telephone.
Harbord grinned. "My people are pretty well used to my irregular habits, thank you, sir."
The inspector rose. "The sooner we are off the better, then." He handed Harbord a typewritten paper. "Wired up," he said laconically, "from the Downs."