Millie turned pale the moment he spoke these words. Inspector Maas knew he had her on the rack. Yet, he hesitated. The woman had fragile written all over her. She’d break easily. It would probably take just a few more minutes to get her to spill… but was there anything to spill? He spread the fingers of both hands on the table in front of him and looked across at her with a sigh.
“I suggest we take a break. Can I get you something to drink.” Her only reply was a nod of the head. So was that tea or coffee, he wondered. Whispering a few words to the WPC accompanying him, he left the room.
“What’s the matter boss, she proving a tough nut?” Maas turned into his office without reply. The matter, he thought to himself, was Millie. He flicked through the dossier to confirm his suspicions. Same age, build, doubtless the same longings. But how would he know that? He hadn’t had a decent conversation with his daughter once she’d turned fourteen. How would he know why she’d left home.
He heard Millie again explaining what had brought her to Rotterdam. But although it was her voice he was hearing, it was his daughter he saw in front of him. Had she too been duped by a guy like Anders? They both looked the part. Pick them up, use them, dump them. But what could he do? She’d been caught with the ring. There was no doubt about it, it belonged to the Starcarian jewels stolen from the Grand Hotel the month before. Her explanation was as pathetic as her demeanour. Not that Maas didn’t believe her. It was all to easy to imagine her falling prey to Anders’ charm… assuming, of course, that was his name. A lonely girl, a little charm, all that attention… they all fell for it.
A knock on the door.
“She’s asking to see you boss. Reckon she gonna to change her story again. If you ask me, she’s trying to make you feel sorry for her; just long enough for her boyfriend to get out the country. Then in a couple of weeks time, he’ll spring her.”
Maas stared back at… He didn’t know his name and wasn’t in the mood to ask. He glanced at his watch. Another hour before he got off duty. If only he could spin things out…
“Telephone, for you, Sir. CID Alkmaar. Seems they’ve found Anders.”
Maas felt a sudden surge go through his veins. He got up and strode into the office behind the front desk. He was on the phone for some twenty minutes before hanging up and striding out into the corridor.
“Sir! Anything imp…”
Maas pushed passed the unnamed officer and continued down the corridor. Without knocking he entered the interrogation room where Millie was shovelling sugar into an oversized mug of police tea.
Without hesitation he began to speak:
“I’m afraid I owe you an apology, Miss Ummmm…”
Millie’s red eyes looked up at him. Her fist tightened around the crumpled handkerchief in her hand.
“I’ve just spoken to your Mr. Anders. It seems he was…”
“What, you’ve spoken to Mickey? Where is he? I mean how is he? Have you arrested him?”
“No, Millie, he’s not under arrest. And I think I can safely say that we’ll not be arresting him any time in the near future. But right now, he is… let’s say helping my colleagues in Alkmaar with their inquiries.”
He looked down at her. Questions were written all over her face. He continued.
“Mr. Anders really did buy that ring at the jeweller’s. Even had a receipt to prove it. But he did lead my colleagues straight to the place where he’d bought it, and there we found the rest of the jewels, those that hadn’t been sold at any rate.”
Still, Millie didn’t react. She just stood there staring at him.
“Millie, Millie!” Maas shook her arm. “Millie, Mr. Anders didn’t dump you after all. He’s waiting for you. He’s waiting for you and he’s going to marry you.” He smiled as he saw the tears starting to pour down her face, as once again Millie’s face blended into that of the daughter he’d never known.