Number Six - Edgar Wallace - ebook

Number Six ebook

Edgar Wallace

0,0

Opis

An international criminal arrives in London. Basically there’s the typical foreign bad guy, Caesar Valentine, who is suspected of many shady things but Scotland Yard, or any other police department for that matter, can’t pin any crimes on him so they send in an undercover operative only known as Number Six to find out enough to put Valentine away for good. The thing is nobody at Scotland Yard knows who Number Six is and neither does Charles Valentine! Along the way we meet Tray Bong Smith, a criminal low life who attracts the attention of Caesar Valentine, Stephanie, the beautiful daughter of Caesar, and Mr. Ross, a mysterious American millionaire.

Ebooka przeczytasz w aplikacjach Legimi na:

Androidzie
iOS
czytnikach certyfikowanych
przez Legimi
czytnikach Kindle™
(dla wybranych pakietów)
Windows
10
Windows
Phone

Liczba stron: 141

Odsłuch ebooka (TTS) dostepny w abonamencie „ebooki+audiobooki bez limitu” w aplikacjach Legimi na:

Androidzie
iOS



Contents

I. THE BEGINNING OF THE HUNT

II. TRAY-BONG SMITH

III. THE HOUSE OF CÆSAR

IV. THE CHAINED LADY

V. CÆSAR REVEALS HIMSELF

VI. CÆSAR TELLS OF NUMBER SIX

VII. THE STORY OF WELLAND

VIII. A NOTE FROM NOWHERE

IX. MR. SMITH IS BURGLED

X. THE LADY WHO MODELLED

XI. JOHN WELLAND

XII. THE MYSTERIOUS MR. ROSS

XIII. A PROPOSAL OF MARRIAGE

XIV. THE LAST COUP

XV. THE END

I. THE BEGINNING OF THE HUNT

THE most mysterious and baffling thing about Cæsar Valentine was to discover the reason for his mystery. It was a mystery which belonged to the category of elusive thought, the name that is on the tip of your tongue, the fact that is familiar, yet defies exact remembrance.

When the International Police Conference held its yearly meeting in 19– in Geneva, and after three strenuous days’ discussion which embraced matters so widely different as the circulation of forged Swedish notes and the philanderings of the Bosnian Ambassador (the conference did its best to prevent his assassination, which occurred six months later), the question of Cæsar Valentine came up for examination. It was an informal discussion, a mere drift of conversation arising out of the Gale case.

“I don’t quite know what is this man’s offence,” said Lecomte of the Surêté. “He is very rich and very popular and immensely good-looking–but none of these qualities is criminal.”

“Where does he get his money?” demanded Leary of Washington. “We had him in America for five years and he did nothing but spend.”

“Neither in France nor in America is that a crime,” smiled Lecomte.

“People who have done business with him have had an unfortunate habit of dying suddenly.”

It was Hallett of the London C.I.B. who put the matter so bluntly, and Leary nodded.

“That’s so,” he said. “Providence has been very good to Mr. Valentine. He was in a big wheat deal in Chicago in ’13 and the market went against him. The principal operator was Burgess–John Boyd Burgess. He had a grudge against Valentine and would have ruined him. One morning Burgess was discovered dead at the bottom of an elevator shaft in his hotel. He had dropped nineteen floors.”

M. Lecomte shrugged his broad shoulders.

“An accident?” he suggested.

“Listen,” said Hallett. “This man Valentine got friendly with a banker in our country–a man named George Gale. Gale financed him out of the bank funds–but that was never proved. Gale was in the habit of taking a nerve tonic. He used to bring one dose in a tiny bottle to the office. He was found one night dead in his office with the little bottle in his hand. It bore the tonic label but it had contained prussic acid. When the auditors came to examine the books of the bank they found a hundred thousand pounds had disappeared. Valentine’s account was in perfect order. Gale went to a suicide’s grave–Valentine, sent a wreath.”

“Well,” said Lecomte with another shrug, “I am not defending M. Valentine. But it might have been suicide. Valentine might have been innocent. Where is your evidence to the contrary? There was an investigation, was there not?”

Hallett nodded.

“And nothing was discovered unflattering to the monsieur! You think he is a bad man? I tell you that I will place the full strength of my department at your disposal to prove it. I will have him watched day and night, for he is in France for six months in the year, but frankly I would desire more solid foundations for your suspicions.”

“He ran away with a man’s wife––” began Hallett, and Lecomte laughed.

“Pardon!” he apologised. “That is not an offence under the Code Napoleon!”

So the conversation drifted elsewhere.

A year later Hallett of the C.I.B. sat hunched up in his chair, frowning gloomily at a typewritten report which was spread on his desk.

He sat for half an hour, thinking; then he touched a bell and somebody came in.

“My friend,” said the chief–and when he began “my friend” he was very serious indeed–“six months ago you came to me with certain theories about Mr. Cæsar Valentine. I don’t want you to interrupt me,” he said brusquely as his subordinate seemed likely to speak; “just hear me through. I like you–you know that. I trust you or I wouldn’t send you out on what looks like a hopeless search. What is more, I think your theories have some foundation. I have always thought so. That is why I’ve put you into training and accepted you for this department.”

A nod was the reply.

“Police work,” said Hallett, “is a big game of solitaire in every sense of the word. If you watch every card and keep your mind concentrated on the game and you have luck, it comes out. If you start wool-gathering in the earlier stages you’ll just miss putting up the right card, and you’ll be stuck with the deuce of hearts, that should have gone up, lying snug and useless at the bottom of the pack. Patience is everything. Burns sent a man into the mining camps with the scrap of a photograph showing only a murderer’s right eye and it was three years before this fellow of Burns nailed his man. Lecomte of the Surêté waited five years before he caught Madam Serpilot; and I myself as a young man trailed the Cully Smith gang for three years, eight months, and twelve days before I put Cully where I wanted him–and it will probably take you as long to pull down Cæsar Valentine.”

“When do I start?” asked his companion.

“At once,” replied Hallett. “Nobody must know of your movements–not even at this office. Your pay and expenses will be sent to you and you will be entered in the books as ‘on special service abroad.’”

The other smiled.

“That will be difficult, chief; my name––”

“You have no name. Henceforth you will be Number Six and there will be nothing to identify you with–who you are. I shall give instructions that suggestions, wishes, or such S.O.S. messages as you send will be acted upon. Now get out and pull Valentine. This man may be the biggest thing of his kind–and the most dangerous man in the world. On the other hand, all the stories that come to Police Headquarters may be lies. It’s a weird job you’ve taken on. You can’t jail a man for living expensively or for running away with men’s wives, and that’s his known record. Naturally he isn’t popular with men and hatred breeds lies. You’ve got to be bold and discreet, because I have reason to believe he has the most complete espionage bureau in the world. It was discovering that he subsidised a man here in this office that opened my eyes to the possibilities of the case. A man doesn’t spend thousands to plant an ear at Headquarters unless he has something to fear.”

Number Six nodded again.

“Now, here’s the world before you, my friend,” said Hallett, “and a great reward if you succeed. Find his friends–you can have the entree to every prison in Britain and maybe that will help you.”

“It’s a big job,” said Number Six, “but it is the one job in the world I want.”

“That I know,” agreed Hallett. “It will be lonely, but you’ll probably find a dozen people who will help you–the men and women he has ruined and broken; the fathers of daughters and the husbands of wives he has sent to hell. They’ll be pretty good allies. Now go! I’ve given you the finest intensive training that I can give, but maybe I haven’t taught you just the thing you’ll want to know.”

He rose abruptly and offered his hand and Number Six winced under the crushing grip.

“Good-bye and good luck, Number Six,” he smiled. “Don’t forget I shall never know you again if I meet you in the street. You are a stranger to me until you step into the witness-box at the Old Bailey and give the evidence which will put Mister Valentine permanently out of the game!”

So Number Six went out, nodding to the man at the door–the grim visaged custodian of the custodians–and for some years Scotland Yard lost sight of one against whose name in the Secret and Confidential Register of the Criminal Investigation Bureau Hallett wrote in his own hand:

“On very particular service. No reference to be made to this agent in any report whatever.”

A year later Hallett summoned Chief Detective Steel to his office and told him just as much of his interview with Number Six as he deemed advisable.

“I haven’t heard from Number Six for months,” he said. “Go to Paris and keep a fatherly eye on Cæsar Valentine.”

“Tell me this about Number Six, chief,” said Detective Steel. “Is it a man or a woman?”

Hallett grinned.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.