They headed to the Bed & Breakfast in the small village. According to the latest info, the man stayed there two weeks ago. He stayed there only for one night, but the detectives decided to check it out and see if the people in the B&B could remember something about him.

An elderly lady was working through some papers at the reception desk, when they entered the house. It was a medium-size village house with two floors and a small garden in the back. The owners refurbished the rooms and were renting them out to the tourists.

‘Good morning ma’am,’ said one of the detectives as he was pulling out his badge. The other one was having a good look around the hall.

‘Police? Here? What is going on?’ the woman said with a worried expression on her face.

‘We’re trying to find out some information about one man. And we heard that he spent one night at your B&B,’ the detective with the badge started to explain. ‘You might remember him or something about him which could help us.’

He put his badge back into his pocket and pulled out a black and white photo of a man. He handed her the picture and waited for the woman’s reaction.

‘Yes, I remember this man,’ she said as she put down her glasses.

The other man kept watching the room, but he was listening to the woman at the same time.

‘But it was some time ago. Two, maybe three weeks,’ she said as she gave the picture back to the detective. ‘He stayed here only for one night, and he left early in the morning on the following day.’

She unscrewed a small bottle of water and drank from it a little. Then she continued. ‘He was very polite. No troubles at all. He paid in advance and he paid with cash. I wish I had more customers like him.’

‘We are glad that you can remember him,’ the detective said.

‘Yes, of course. And if you like, I can find his name for your, too. I write down the names of all our customers.’

‘Don’t waste your time, ma’am. We know the man’s name,’ replied the detective. ‘But could you please think about this man and tell us, if there was anything strange about this man.’

‘There was nothing strange,’ she said. ‘As I’ve already told you, he was a very polite man. He needed to leave early in the morning, and so he paid in advance so that I didn’t have to get up so early.’

‘But you did get up early, didn’t you?’ suggested the detective.

‘Oh, yes. You know, I am an early bird. I always get up at five in the morning.’

‘So, you saw him when he was leaving.’

‘Yes, I did. He stopped at the desk and thanked me for everything, even though he had already paid for the room on the previous day.’

‘And then he left,’ said the detective.

‘Not quite. He gave me a present and before he left.’

‘What kind of a present?’

‘He gave me his leather case,’ said the woman. The other man stopped looking around and turned to her. When she saw that both men were interested in her story, she continued.

‘He said that he didn’t need it anymore, but he didn’t want to throw it away. He said that I might use it or give it to somebody else. It was not a new case, but it was made of genuine leather. And it was in a good shape. So I took it from him. And then he left. I haven’t seen him since then.’

‘What was in the leather case?’ asked the detective impatiently.

‘Nothing. When I opened it, it was empty,’ she said and waited for their next questions.

The detectives exchanged the looks.

refurbish /ˌriːˈfɜːbɪʃ/ – to clean and decorate a room, building, etc. in order to make it more attractive, more useful, etc.

badge /bædʒ/ – (odznak) – a small piece of metal or plastic, with a design or words on it, that a person wears or carries to show that they belong to an organization, support something, have achieved something, have a particular rank, etc.

expression /ɪkˈspreʃn/ – (výraz napr. tváre) a look on a person’s face that shows their thoughts or feelings

pay in advance – (zaplatiť dopredu) – money paid for work before it has been done or money paid earlier than expected

glad /ɡlæd/ – pleased; happy

waste /weɪst/ – (mrhať) – to use more of something than is necessary or useful

suggest /səˈdʒest/ – (navrhnúť) – to put forward an idea or a plan for other people to think about

even though – (hoci) – despite the fact that

impatiently /ɪmˈpeɪʃntli/ – (netrpezlivo) – in a way that shows you are annoyed, especially because you have to wait for a long time

exchanged /ɪksˈtʃeɪndʒ/ – (vymeniť) – to give something to somebody and at the same time receive the same type of thing from them