Yes – I love you on Bastille Day too. And the French are really doing this town up. Last nite there were fireworks and 4 parades – and today is the real day. So far there have been no outbreaks between the French – and our soldiers, although that possibility is still being anticipated. In one suburb of town a rumor started that girls seen out with our G.I.’s would have their hair shaved. The rumor was tracked down and found to originate with some young Frenchmen who resent the American soldiers going out with their women. So far – nothing has happened – and it probably won’t – but it gives you an idea of some other things that are occurring in France (and Belgium and Holland, too) that I believe aren’t getting into the papers. The war is hardly over and there’s no doubt in my mind that everything on this damned continent stinks. People just forget that Americans and British came over, lost their lives and limbs and gave them back their country and freedom. Now it’s very obvious that a large percentage of them resent our presence.
Oh well – I don’t know why I should be so serious about things, dear. Let’s see – oh yes – I called Frank Morse yesterday and he was really surprised to hear from me. He’s still with the 16th General Hospital and they’re a Cat. IV outfit, too. Like us, however, they have no idea when they’ll be getting home. Frank wants me to come down for a couple of days – but I don’t think I’ll be able to do that. But I do plan to visit him Monday or Tuesday of next week. It’ll be nice seeing him again.
There isn’t much happening here other than that. I went to the movies last nite – saw “The Thin Man Goes Home” – same stuff – but entertaining. “The Keys to the Kingdom” is playing tonight and we may go. It’s a nice day here today and I may play tennis. I haven’t been up to the Club since I became a member. Somehow or other something has turned up each afternoon.
I’m going to have to cut this short, sweetheart. People are coming in and out this morning and I can hardly think straight. The money order I’m enclosing is for our most recent “big business deal.” I haven’t found my checkbook as yet – but it doesn’t matter, really, for I don’t have much use for it.
Darling, I love you so much – that all else I write about seems like so much trivia; but, I know you understand. I really thought ‘hard’ about you and us last night – and it would have been so wonderful to have been with you – but I can wait, darling.
All for now, so long – dear and my love to the folks.
Nick and Nora visit Nick's parents in Nick's hometown of Sycamore Springs. The residents are convinced that Nick is in town on an investigation, despite Nick's repeated denials. However, when aircraft factory employee Peter Berton seeks out Nick and is shot dead before he can reveal anything, Nick is on the case.
An old childhood friend, Dr. Bruce Clayworth, performs the autopsy and extracts a pistol bullet. Then, when Nick searches Berton's room for clues, he is knocked unconscious by Crazy Mary, a local eccentric.
Nora's innocent purchase of an old painting for Nick's birthday present turns out to be the key to the mystery. When she shows it to her husband, it brings back unpleasant memories for him, so she donates it to a charity bazaar. When Edgar Draque offers Nora a large sum for the painting, Nick wonders why it is so valuable. Nick learns that Draque's wife Helena bought the artwork, but she is knocked out and the painting goes missing. Nick discovers that Crazy Mary is Berton's mother and goes to see her, only to come across her lifeless body. Nick and Nora's dog Asta finds the painting in her shack.
Nick puts the pieces together and has the police bring all the suspects to his father's house. (Early on, it is revealed that Nick's father, Dr. Bertram Charles, has never been overly impressed with his son's unusual career choice, so this gives Nick an opportunity to change his father's mind.) Using Dr. Charles's fluoroscope, Nick shows that there is a blueprint hidden underneath the paint. Several people identify it as part of the specifications for a new aircraft propeller worth a great deal to a "foreign power". Berton had copied the blueprints and smuggled them out in five paintings. He had a change of heart and was going to confess all to Nick, but was killed before he could. Nick has a souvenir World War II Japanese sniper rifle belonging to Dr. Clayworth's brother brought in, and claims it was the murder weapon. Then, after proving that the Draques are members of the crime ring, Nick reveals the identity of the leader of the gang: Dr. Bruce Clayworth. Clayworth's first slip was the bullet he showed Nick. Nick knew a pistol did not have the power to propel a bullet as far into Berton's body as the real one had. Clayworth grabs the rifle and, after confessing (and also revealing a deep hatred for Nick for always being better than him in their youth), tries to shoot his nemesis, only to find that Nick had taken the precaution of having the firing pin removed. Nick's father is very impressed.