Down under Donovan - Edgar Wallace - ebook

Down under Donovan ebook

Edgar Wallace

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British novelist Richard Horatio Edgar Wallace (1875-1932), was a Reuters war correspondent who wrote thrillers to earn additional money. He also wrote Hollywood screenplays and died while drafting King Kong. Wallace was a very prolific writer despite his sudden death at age 56. In total Wallace is credited with over 170 novels, almost 1,000 short stories, and 18 stage plays. Wallace’s works have been turned into well over 100 films. This early work by Edgar Wallace was originally published in 1918. „Down under Donovan” is a crime novel by this prolific author of detective fiction. An ex-con man wins in gambling but murder is in the air.

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Liczba stron: 314

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Contents

I. THE WOMAN IN BLACK

II. THE MAN WHO GAMBLED

III. JOHN PENTRIDGE AT HOME

IV. THE WRECK OF THE RIVIERA LIMITED

V. WHEN ROGUES AGREE

VI. JOHN PRESIDENT WINS

VII. THE TURF DETECTIVE

VIII. JANET GOES TO TEA

IX. THE GREY ARRIVES

X. BUD KITSON GOES TO SLEEP

XI. THE COUNT COLLINNI

XII. IN THE SANDOWN PADDOCK

XIII. AT PENNWARING

XIV. THE GUEST WHO CAME

XV. LOVE IN A COTTAGE

XVI. MILTON SANDS AT WORK

XVII. AN UNEXPECTED VISIT

XVIII. DERBY DAY

XIX. AN OLD SAYING

XX. KIDNAPPED!

XXI. A MIDNIGHT MARRIAGE

XXII. WHEN ROGUES FALL OUT

XXIII. CONCLUSION

I. THE WOMAN IN BLACK

“CURSE the luck!”

Above the babble of talk about the table, the harsh voice of the man arose and the players looked round, curiously or indignantly, according to their several temperaments. They saw a man of fifty-five, gaunt of face, his chin covered with a two days’ growth of grey beard, his dark eyes shining malignantly as he glared at the table.

He was dressed in a shabby evening suit, his shirt-front was discoloured and crumpled, and the trousers frayed over his patched and polished boots.

His hand, none too cleanly, trembled as it touched his mouth, and his lips in their twitching betrayed the opium eater.

“Damn Monte Carlo,” he said, in his cracked but strident voice. “I never have any luck here–I’m goin’ to stick to Nice, I am!”

It was the voice of a common man as the dress was that of a poor man, and John Pentridge was both.

A suave attendant approached him.

“Would M’sieur come to recover himself outside the Salle de Jeu?” he asked politely.

The man glared at him.

“I’m stayin’ here,” he growled. “You’ve got my money. What more do you want?”

“M’sieur is disturbing the players,” said the man, who was now reinforced by two more attendants.

“I’m staying here–keep your hands off me!” he roared, but the men had caught him by the arms and were gently but firmly leading him to the swing-doors of the gambling room.

He would have struggled, but he had sense to know that in his enfeebled state he stood no chance against his captors.

“I’ll come back to-morrow,” he almost shouted as they pushed him to the door, “I’ll come back an’ buy up the whole lot o’ ye! I’ve got a million as good in my pocket! ye thievin’ lot of–”

He had got to the door of the saloon, and suddenly he stopped shouting and drew back.

They thought he was trying to resist them, and were prepared to use even greater force.

“No, no, no!” he breathed in a terrified voice, “not there–look–that woman! Don’t let her see me, for God’s sake!”

He spoke rapidly in French, and following the direction of his eyes, the men saw a girl standing in the centre of the outer saloon.

She was young and exceedingly beautiful, and was dressed quietly, if expensively, in a smart tailor-made dress of black; black also was her hat, yet there was nothing funereal in her garb, but rather an effect of studied restraint. It was unusual to see a woman so attired at this hour of the evening, and she had evidently just arrived by motor-car, for a dust-cloak hung on her arm.

“Get me out some other way,” pleaded the prisoner urgently. All his truculence had disappeared, and he was in a pitiable state of panic.

The head attendant hesitated. He saw the girl joined by a tall, grey-haired man, and they seemed to be on the point of making a move toward the Salle de Jeu.

“This way,” said the attendant, moved to pity by the unmistakable terror of the man. He led the way to a side door leading to a smaller salon, and from thence they gained the terrace of the Casino.

“And M’sieur,” said the chief of the man’s custodians with infinite politeness, “I am requested by the directors to advise you not to come again to the Casino.”

John Pentridge wiped his streaming face with a grimy handkerchief.

“That’s settled me,” he muttered, ignoring the remarks of the other. “I get rid of them papers to-night.” Now, he was speaking to himself in English.

“Livin’ like a dog, I am,” he continued his musings, “hunted from pillar to post all over Europe–phew!” Then he directed his attentions to the men who were gravely regarding him.

“Allons! mes braves!” he sneered, “I’ll come to-morrow and buy you all up–you an’ the bloomin’ Casino too!”

And with this awful threat he went swaggering along the deserted strip of terrace and reached the greater terrace, Monte Carlo’s crowning pride, and mingled with the throng.

But he had been seen. A man of his own age, and almost as shabbily dressed, followed in his wake as he walked toward the Condamine. Pentridge turned with a snarl, as a hand was laid on his arm.

“Hello, Penty!” said an ingratiating, wheedling voice, “not goin’ to leave an old pal, are you–old Chummy, Penty, wot’s been faithful an’ obligin’ to you.”

The man addressed scowled.

“Oh, it’s you, is it?” he asked contemptuously. “What do you want,”

“Shares, Penty,” said the other. His face in the light of the electric lamp was wrinkled and seared. His small eyes twinkled maliciously.

“Ain’t me an’ you been in the same boat for years?” demanded the coaxing voice. “Ain’t we been kicked from ‘ell to Christiania? ‘Tain’t like the old Melbourne days, Penty–Gawd! I wish I was back in ole Melbourne–you remember that day at Flemin’ton when Carbine won the cup?”

“Look here, Chummy,”–Pentridge faced his tormentor savagely; his face was livid with passion–“because you’re an old lag an’ I’m an old lag, living in this filthy continent because we ain’t got sense enough to get out of it, you’re not going to sponge on me. You had your share of the stuff we brought from Australia years ago–you’ve had your share of every swindle we’ve been in–”

“But not of the big swag,” corrected the other softly, “not of the what-dy-call-it invention; that’s what I’ve been waitin’ for, Penty, all these years. There’s a bloke in Monte Carlo–a Russian bloke who’s been blowin’ all round the town of an invention he’s goin’ to buy. Couldn’t help hearin’ about it, Penty,” he said almost apologetically. “That’s the swag I want, because I helped to pinch it. And I could go this very night as ever is,” he went on impressively, “an’ see a certain young gel that’s just come into Monte an’ is drivin’ back to Marseilles in an hour–I could go to her–”

“Shut up!” hissed Pentridge, his face working. “Come an’ talk it over. Follow me at a distance–I don’t want any one to see us together.”

He led the way through a throng of people to that corner of Monte Carlo where the villas of the wealthy, in their sedate and quiet isolation, offered opportunities for quiet talk. He turned into the gateway of a large house.

“Where are you goin’?”

The man called Chummy drew back suspiciously.

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