Red Aces - Edgar Wallace - ebook

Red Aces ebook

Edgar Wallace

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J. G. Reeder is a shabby little man with red hair and weak eyes. However, his extraordinary mind is rapier sharp. „Red Aces” is the fourth and last of Edgar Wallace’s JG Reeder books, featuring the diffident sleuth with the furled umbrella in three novelette-length adventures. Here are three thrilling episodes torn from his casebook: „Red Aces” about a man who gambles high and lives in fear; „Kennedy the Con Man”, reveals the impeccable mask stripped from a fiend, and finally „The Case of Jo Attymer”, a thoroughly intriguing mystery involving murder on London’s Thames. This is vintage Wallace, with no great depths but a good deal of humor and plenty of engaging goings-on along Wallace’s beloved Thames.

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Liczba stron: 320

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Contents

I. RED ACES

I. THE THREAT

II. MURDER!

III. THE RED ACES

IV. J.G. REEDER'S THEORY

V. THE MISSING POLICEMAN

VI. THE VEILED WOMAN

VII. WHO KILLED WENTFORD?

VIII. REEDER—THE DEVIL

IX. TRAPPED!

X. THE RAID

XI. DEDUCTION

XII. KENNEDY THE CON MAN

XIII. THE CASE OF JOE ATTYMAR

I. THE THREAT

WHEN a young man is very much in love with a most attractive girl he is apt to endow her with qualities and virtues which no human being has ever possessed. Yet at rare and painful intervals there enter into his soul certain wild suspicions, and in these moments he is inclined to consider the possibility that she may be guilty of the basest treachery and double dealing.

Everybody knew that Kenneth McKay was desperately in love. They knew it at the bank where he spent his days in counting other people’s money, and a considerable amount of his lunch hour writing impassioned and ill-spelt letters to Margot Lynn. His taciturn father, brooding over his vanished fortune in his gaunt riverside house at Marlow, may have employed the few moments he gave to the consideration of other people’s troubles in consideration of his son’s new interest. Probably he did not, for George McKay was entirely self-centred and had little thought but for the folly which had dissipated the money he had accumulated with such care, and the development of fantastical schemes for its recovery.

Kenneth went over to Beaconsfield every morning on his noisy motorbike and came back every night, sometimes very late, because Margot lived in London; they dined together at the cheaper restaurants and sometimes saw a film. Kenneth was a member of an inexpensive London club which sheltered at least one sympathetic soul. Except for Rufus Machfield, the confidant in question, he had no friends.

‘And let me advise you not to make any here,’ said Rufus.

He was a military-looking man of forty-five, and most people found him rather a bore, for the views which he expressed so vehemently, on all subjects from politics to religion, which are the opposite ends of the ethical pole, he had acquired that morning from the leading article of his favourite daily. Yet he was a genial person–a likeable man.

He had a luxurious flat in Park Lane, a French valet, a Bentley and no useful occupation.

‘The Leffingham Club is cheap.’ he said, ‘the food’s not bad and it’s near Piccadilly. Against that you have the fact that almost anybody who hasn’t been to prison can become a member–’

‘The fact that I’m a member–’ began Ken.

‘You’re a gentleman and a public school man,’ interrupted Mr Machfield sonorously. ‘You’re not rich, I admit–’

‘Even I admit that,’ said Ken, rubbing his untidy hair.

Kenneth was tall, athletic, as good-looking as a young man need be, or can be without losing his head about his face. He had called at the Leffingham that evening especially to see Rufus and confide his worries. And his worries were enormous. He looked haggard and ill: Mr Machfield thought it possible that he had not been sleeping very well. In this surmise he was right.

‘About Margot–’ began the young man. Mr Machfield smiled. He had met Margot, had entertained the young people to dinner at his flat, and twice had invited them to a theatre party.

Kenneth took a letter from his pocket and passed it across to his friend, and Machfield opened and read it.

Dear Kenneth: I’m not seeing you any more. I’m broken hearted to tell you this. Please don’t try to see me–please! M.

‘When did this come?’

‘Last night. Naturally, I went to her flat. She was out. I went to her office–she was out. I was late for the bank and got it hot and strong from the manager. To make matters worse, there’s a fellow dunning me for two hundred pounds–every thing comes at once. I borrowed the money from father. What with one thing and another I’m desperate.’

Mr Machfield rose from his chair.

‘Come home and have a meal, he said. ‘As for the money–’

‘No, no, no!’ Kenneth McKay was panic-stricken. ‘I don t want to borrow from you.’ For a moment he sat in silence, then: ‘Do you know a man named Reeder–J.G. Reeder?’

Machfield shook his head.

‘He’s a detective,’ explained Kenneth. ‘He has a big bank practice. He was down at our place today–weird-looking devil. If he could be a detective anybody could be!’

Mr Machfield said he recalled the name.

‘He was in that railway robbery, wasn’t he? J.G. Reeder–yes. Pretty smart fellow–young?’

‘He’s as old as–well, he’s pretty old. And rather old-fashioned.’

Rufus snapped his finger to the waiter and paid his bill.

‘You’ll have to take pot luck–but Lamontaine is a wonderful cook. He didn’t know that he was until I made him try.’

So they went together to the little flat in Park Lane. and Lamontaine, the pallid, middle-aged valet who spoke English with no trace of a foreign accent, prepared a meal that justified the praise of his master. In the middle of the dinner the subject of Mr Reeder arose again.

‘What brought him to Beaconsfield–is there anything wrong at your bank?’

Rufus saw the young man’s face go red.

‘Well–there has been money missing; not very large sums. I have my own opinion, but it isn’t fair to–well, you know.’

He was rather incoherent, and Mr Machfield did not pursue the inquiry.

‘I hate the bank anyway–I mean the work. But I had to do something, and when I left Uppingham my father put me there–in the bank, I mean. Poor chap, he lost his money at Monte Carlo or somewhere–enormous sums. You wouldn’t dream that he was a gambler. I’m not complaining, but it’s a little trying sometimes.’

Mr Machfield accompanied him to the door that night and shivered.

‘Cold–shouldn’t be surprised if we had snow,’ he said.

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

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

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