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Occasion for Disaster
written by "Janifer, Laurence M., 1933-2002"
... I was thinking of our Inspector Ottermole," Teal said. "He was sent to locate Dr. Carnacki, President of the Psychical Research Society here. On being told that Dr. Carnacki was 'out to lunch,' Ottermole investigated every restaurant and eating-place within ten blocks of the offices. Dr. Carnacki was not present; he, like the rest of the Society here, appears to have left for places unknown." "Thorough work," Malone said. "Ottermole's a good man," Teal said. "We've checked as quickly as possible, Mr. Malone. I would like to ask you a question in return." "Ask away," Malone said. Teal looked worried. "Do you people think this may have anything to do with the present ... ah ... trouble?" he said. "Things are quite upset here, as you know; so many members of Parliament have resigned or ... ah ... died that the realm is being run by a rather shakily assembled coalition government. There is even some talk of giving executive power to Her Majesty until a general election can be held." For one brief moment, Malone thought Teal was talking about Rose Thompson. Then he recalled Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and felt better. Things weren't quite as bad as he'd thought. But they were bad enough. "We simply don't know yet," he said untruthfully. "But as soon as anything definite comes up, of course, you'll be informed." "Thank you, Mr. Malone," Teal said. "Of course, we'll do the same." And then, still masticating, he switched off. Paris was next, then Rome, Berlin and a couple more. Every one had the same result. From Maigret of the Paris Sureté to Poirot in Belgium, from Berlin's strict officialdom to the cheerful Hollanders, all the reports were identical. The PRS of each country had gone underground. Malone buried his face in his hands, thought about a cigar and decided that even a cigar might make him feel worse. Where were they? What were they doing now? What did they plan to do? Where had they gone? "Out of ...

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