Paul Campenhaye, Specialist in Criminology - J.S. Fletcher - ebook
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These are great detective stories. Campenhaye solves secrets, at first he tries to understand who ukarl jewels, and then solves the mysterious murder. Every story has the least stress. The most interesting is the ending, it really will be unexpected.

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Liczba stron: 321

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Contents

CHAPTER I. THE FRENCH MAID

CHAPTER II. THE YORKSHIRE MANUFACTURER

CHAPTER III. THE COVENT GARDEN FRUIT SHOP

CHAPTER IV. THE IRISH MAIL

CHAPTER V. THE TOBACCO-BOX

CHAPTER VI. MRS. DUQUESNE

CHAPTER VII. THE HOUSE ON HARDRESS HEAD

CHAPTER VIII. THE CHAMPAGNE BOTTLE

CHAPTER IX. THE SETTLING DAY

CHAPTER X. THE MAGICIAN OF CANNON STREET

CHAPTER I. THE FRENCH MAID

It was the fourth day of October, 19–, and three o’clock in the afternoon. Killingley, my clerk, had just come back from his lunch. I heard him moving about in his room–the first of the three rooms in which I carried on my business in Jermyn Street. As for myself, I was reading a new essay on certain characteristics of Napoleon Bonaparte; it was clever and, in many respects, original, and I had no wish to be disturbed. But just then the outer bell rang.

Killingley came in a moment later.

“A lady wishes to see you, sir,” he said.

“In the usual way, Killingley,” I said, rising.

Now, I had a habit, during the comparatively short time in which I carried on the business, of taking care to see my clients before they saw me. I have said that I occupied three rooms; the first was used by Killingley as a sort of office, and contained himself, an American roll-top desk, a typewriter, and Killingley’s collection of light literature; the second was fitted up as a luxurious waiting-room; the third was my own apartment. And between it and the second was a cunningly-devised and quite secret arrangement by which I, unseen, could take minute stock of any person who called upon me. Often I kept clients waiting impatiently in that room while I watched and studied them; I was all the more ready for them when I admitted them to my presence.

I was at my post of ‘vantage when Killingley ushered the lady into the waiting-room. A tall woman of perfect figure and distinguished carriage, she was so closely veiled that I could see nothing whatever of her face, but I learnt much in one minute from her movements. She examined her surroundings as a caged thing might look around its den. Impatiently she turned over and tossed about the newspapers and magazines which lay on the table, impatiently she kept glancing at the door which led to my room. From the quickness of her movements I knew that she was young, impetuous and ardent; from her impatience I knew that she was much agitated.

I stepped to my door and opened it, and was bowing to her before she was aware of my presence. She passed me quickly with a slight, somewhat condescending nod, and, entering my room, sank into the easy-chair which I placed for her.

“I am at your service, madam,” I said quietly. “But perhaps I had better explain that I never undertake any commission until I am made aware of my client’s identity.”

She sat for a moment in silence, her slender fingers, perfectly gloved, tapping the arms of her chair. Then, suddenly, she lifted one hand, and with a gesture almost imperious, swept aside the thick veil and revealed a face that was as troubled and agitated as it was beautiful, and–famous. I bowed once more, in genuine homage.

“I have the honour to receive the Countess of Langthwaite,” I said.

The Countess inclined her head a little and gave me a very keen and critical stare.

“I understand, Mr. Campenhaye, that whatever is said to you is said in the strictest confidence,” she began. “Is that so?”

“Whatever is told me by my clients, Lady Langthwaite, is regarded by me as sacred,” I answered. “But, in return, I expect my clients to tell me the plain, literal truth, even to the merest detail.”

“I–I suppose I had better begin at the beginning,” she said. “And since you know who I am, you will know that we–that Lord Langthwaite has a place in Yorkshire.”

I nodded.

“I left Langthwaite at nine o’clock this morning on my way to town, and arrived at King’s Cross just after one o’clock,” she continued. “My maid, Antoinette Marcel, was with me. I left Antoinette in the station–she was to lunch in the refreshment-room. She had with her some smaller luggage, bags, and–my jewel-case.

“I left the hotel at a few minutes to two and crossed to the station,” she went on. “In the booking hall I passed a porter who had charge of my trunks. He told me that Antoinette had left the smaller bags with him, and had gone to the refreshment-room. I went there to find her–she was not there. Nor could I find her anywhere about the station.”

“Of course, the jewel-case had disappeared with Antoinette,” I said. “But please tell me the rest, Lady Langthwaite.”

“There is nothing, or scarcely anything, to tell,” she said. “Of course, Antoinette had the jewel-case. That is why I came to you. I want to–I must recover it!”

“Naturally!” I remarked. “I suppose you informed the station people and the police at once?”

“No-o,” she faltered. “I–I was advised not to do so.”

“Now, Lady Langthwaite,” I said, settling down to work, “you will bear in mind that you are to tell me everything. And, first of all, who advised you not to mention your loss to the railway authorities and the police?”

“A–a friend,” she replied reluctantly.

“Man or woman?” I asked.

“A–a man,” she answered, still more reluctantly.

“Who must have had strong reasons for giving such extraordinary advice,” I commented. “However, we will leave that for the moment. Now, what did the jewel-case contain?”

At this question the Countess almost wrung her hands, and her beautiful eyes became suffused with unshed tears.

“Oh!” she answered. “It is terrible to think of! It contained five thousand pounds in bank-notes. I don’t mind the loss of the money at all. But it also contained all my jewellery–all. And–and the family jewels.”

“Not–not the famous Langthwaite pearls!” I almost shouted.

She bent her head, and I thought she was going to cry outright.

“Yes!” she whispered. “Yes!”

“Of course, you have communicated with Lord Langthwaite?” I said. “You would wire to him at once?”

She shook her head, miserably, despairingly.

“No!” she answered. “No, Mr. Campenhaye.”

“And why have you not communicated with the Earl, Lady Langthwaite?” I asked.

She made an effort, and at last faced me resolutely.

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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.