‘Are you a detective, sir?’
William looked up at the young man who’d asked the question. ‘No, I’m the assistant manager of the Midland Bank in Shoreham, Kent.’
‘In that case,’ continued the young man, not looking convinced, ‘you’ll be able to tell me what the exchange rate was between the dollar and the pound when the currency market opened this morning.’
William tried to recall how much he’d received when he changed a hundred pounds into dollars just before he joined the ship the previous evening, but he hesitated for too long.
‘One dollar and fifty-four cents to the pound,’ said the young man, before he could reply. ‘So, forgive me for asking, sir, why aren’t you willing to admit you’re a detective?’
William put the book he was reading on the table in front of him and took a closer look at the earnest young American, who seemed desperate not to be thought of as a child, although he hadn’t started shaving. The word ‘preppy’ immediately came to mind.
‘Can you keep a secret?’ he whispered…