Tommy receives a phone call from Mr. Carter warning him and Tuppence that the people connected with the Russian letters on blue paper have become aware that they have taken Blunt's place and to expect developments any time soon. Tommy suggests Tuppence waits in the safety of their home but she refuses. To pass over the quiet time that the agency is currently experiencing, Tommy suggests in exercise in following the methods of the blind detective Thornley Colton. He dons a pair of black eyeshades and practises (badly) his awareness of his surroundings by use of his other senses. Tommy decides he and Tuppence will go for lunch at the Blitz hotel in order that he can practise further in the surroundings of the restaurant.
At the Blitz, they are soon joined by two men who have been observing the pair and say that the Blunt's have been pointed out to them, although one of them confesses that he didn't know that Theodore Blunt was blind. They were on the way to see them but were told they were out to lunch and by coincidence have stopped at the same place. One of the men introduces himself as the Duke of Blairgowrie and his friend is Captain Harker. The Duke's daughter has been kidnapped "under somewhat peculiar circumstances" which mean that he cannot call in the police and he wants the Blunts to accompany them to his house immediately. Tommy agrees but not before he has drunk a cup of coffee and given Tuppence instructions for a meal at the hotel tomorrow that he is having with the French Prefect of Police. That done, they leave with Tommy and the Duke taking a different car to that of Captain Harker and Tuppence.
It is a trap and the "Duke" is in reality connected with the Russian letters. He prods a pistol at Tommy and takes him to a hideout where he is bound to a chair while the "Duke" gloats over him. He tells Tommy that the floor of the room they are in is metal and now electrified. Even though he is blind, he is going to make Tommy walk across the floor. If he steps on a contact point, he will die. He hands him his white cane and unties him and the "game" is about to commence. Tommy coolly takes out a cigarette and match but he has anticipated the trap and instead lights a magnesium wire he is carrying. The flare blinds the "Duke" who lowers his pistol and then he finds himself at the point of Tommy's cane – in reality, a swordstick. Tommy reveals that his dark shades were actually false and he has been able to see all the time. The "Duke" springs forward with rage and steps on a contact point, dying instantly. Tommy escapes the house and rings Tuppence from a call box. She is safe. Tommy's order at the hotel were codewords from Clinton H. Stagg's stories for Albert to fetch help. Albert tailed Tuppence and he and the police freed her from "Captain Harker".
References or Allusions[edit | edit source]
References to actual history, geography and current science[edit | edit source]
- In Blindman's Buff, the Blitz Hotel is a play on words on London's Ritz Hotel. Christie uses the same location (and the same name for it) in the 1925 novel The Secret of Chimneys.