A Question of Death - Puttin' on the Ritz Synopsis

Phryne enters the Ritz with William Barlow they are greeted and seated by Antoine the Maitre D an Phryne orders the wine. She recalls Williams brother John who always talks about money and his father a boorish man who had been pursuing her.

Phryne asks William why he has brought her there and he tells her that his mother died ten years ago and since then his father has been 'misbehaving himself' and his father had lost his mothers pearls that had been left to William. William was a lawyer who worked with Phryne's friend Jilly and was planning on selling the pearls to set up a poor persons defence fund. Will asks Phryne to find the pearls and get them back. He says his father will be dining at the Ritz that night with his lover Mrs Priscilla Veale.

Mrs Veale arrives with Williams father. She is wearing the pearls. Will says that if his father has given away the pearls then he stands no chance of getting them back. Phryne asks him why he doesn't just get the money from his father instead but Will says he suspects there isn’t much money left as his father has been spending frivolously since his mother died. Phryne then suggests that Will simply ask for the pearls back but he says he can't.

They order main course and Phryne notices Wills father making a scene. She notices Mrs Veale orders boeuf en daube, a dish made with red wine and has an idea. Will goes to say hello to his father and Phryne goes to the ladies (following Mrs Veale) and then has a brief discussion with the Maitre D. They return to their table and Phryne orders dessert and champagne.

A shriek comes from the other table and it appears Mrs Veale has dropped her pearls in the dinner. It appears the pearls are dissolved by the red wine in the sauce. Mr Veale tells Williams father not to fuss as it was an accident and after everyone is settled down Phryne raises her glass to Mrs Veale who gives her a nod.

William asks what had happened and Phryne tells him the pearls dropped in the wine sauce and dissolved. William doesn't believe her so Phryne says she will tell him after his father had left as they were just leaving. Once they have left Phryne hands over the pearls. William asks how she got them and Phryne says she simply asked Mrs Veale while they were in the ladies room!  

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