The Grassleyes Mystery
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Mr. Frank Woodley looked up from the ledger which he was studying, rose to his feet and approached the mahogany counter behind which he and his desk were entrenched. He was an elderly man with unkempt grey hair, a tired expression and various irregularities of toilet accounted for by the heat wave then prevailing from the Estérels to Monte Carlo. Business was uncertain at this time of the year with the firm of Spenser & Sykes, the well-known house-agents, and Mr. Woodley, the manager, scarcely expected a client of interest. "What can I do for you, sir?" he enquired of the caller who had summoned him. The latter leaned a little forward. His back was towards the door, through which the sunlight was streaming. He was a lean, broad-shouldered man of apparently between thirty and thirty-five years of age, with firm features, clear grey-blue eyes and resolute expression. "I am looking for an apartment," he announced. "I do not wish to go to an hotel. I would not consider an ordinary boarding-house. But I should prefer some sort of service." "In the town of Nice?" Mr. Woodley asked. "Certainly not," was the concise reply. "I wish to be somewhere within a twenty-mile radius of either Nice or Cannes, but I also wish to be entirely in the country. I have a great deal of research work to do and it is my habit to seek as much seclusion as possible.