The French Powder Mystery - Ellery Queen - ebook
Opis

A corpse in a department store window offers a gruesome puzzle for Ellery Queen The windows of French's department store are one of New York's great attractions. Year-round, their displays show off the finest in fashion, art, and home décor, and tourists and locals alike make a point of stopping to see what's on offer. One afternoon, as the board debates a merger upstairs, a salesgirl begins a demonstration in one of the windows, showing off French's new Murphy bed. A crowd gathers to watch the bed lower from the wall after a single touch of a button. But as the bed opens, people run screaming. Out tumbles a woman - crumpled, bloody, and dead. The victim was Mrs. French, wife of the company president, and finding her killer will turn this esteemed store upside down. Only one detective has the soft touch necessary - debonair intellectual Ellery Queen. As Queen and his police inspector father dig into French's secrets, they find their killer is more serious than any window shopper. Review quote: "A new Ellery Queen book has always been something to look forward to for many years now." - Agatha Christie "Ellery Queen is the American detective story." - Anthony Boucher, author of Nine Times Nine "A great way to visit Moscow without having to live there." - San Jose Mercury News Biographical note: Ellery Queen was a pen name created and shared by two cousins, Frederic Dannay (1905-1982) and Manfred B. Lee (1905-1971), as well as the name of their most famous detective. Born in Brooklyn, they spent forty-two years writing, editing, and anthologizing under the name, gaining a reputation as the foremost American authors of the Golden Age "fair play" mystery. Although eventually famous on television and radio, Queen's first appearance came in 1928, when the cousins won a mystery-writing contest with the book that was later published as The Roman Hat Mystery. Their character was an amateur detective who uses his spare time to assist his police inspector uncle in solving baffling crimes. Besides writing the Queen novels, Dannay and Lee cofounded Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, one of the most influential crime publications of all time. Although Dannay outlived his cousin by nine years, he retired Queen upon Lee's death.

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Contents

Cover

About the Book

About the Author

Title Page

Copyright Page

Foreword

Some Persons of Importance

The First Episode

1. “The Queens Were in the Parlor”

2. “The Kings Were in the Counting-House”

3. “Humpty-Dumpty Had a Great Fall”

4. “All the King’s Horses”

5. “And All the King’s Men”

6. Testimony

7. The Corpse

8. The Watcher

9. The Watchers

10. Marion

11. Loose Ends

12. Out the Window …

The Second Episode

13. At the Apartment: The Bedroom

14. At the Apartment: The Lavatory

15. At the Apartment: The Cardroom

16. At the Apartment: Again the Bedroom

17. At the Apartment: The Library

18. Scrambled Signs

19. Opinions and Reports

The Third Episode

20. Tobacco

21. Keys Again

22. Books Again

23. Confirmation

24. The Queens Take Stock

The Fourth Episode

25. Ellerius Bibliophilus

26. The Trail to Bernice

27. The Sixth Book

28. Unraveling Threads

29. —Raid!

30. Requiem

31. Alibis: Marion-Zorn

32. Alibis: Marchbanks

33. Alibis: Carmody

34. Alibis: Trask

35. Alibis: Gray

36. “The Time Had Come …”

The Last Episode

37. Make Ready!

38. The End of All Things

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About the Book

A corpse in a department store window offers a gruesome puzzle for Ellery Queen

The windows of French’s department store are one of New York’s great attractions. Year-round, their displays show off the finest in fashion, art, and home décor, and tourists and locals alike make a point of stopping to see what’s on offer. One afternoon, as the board debates a merger upstairs, a salesgirl begins a demonstration in one of the windows, showing off French’s new Murphy bed. A crowd gathers to watch the bed lower from the wall after a single touch of a button. But as the bed opens, people run screaming. Out tumbles a woman - crumpled, bloody, and dead.

The victim was Mrs. French, wife of the company president, and finding her killer will turn this esteemed store upside down. Only one detective has the soft touch necessary - debonair intellectual Ellery Queen. As Queen and his police inspector father dig into French’s secrets, they find their killer is more serious than any window shopper.

Review quote:

“A new Ellery Queen book has always been something to look forward to for many years now.” - Agatha Christie

“Ellery Queen is the American detective story.” - Anthony Boucher, author of Nine Times Nine

“A great way to visit Moscow without having to live there.” - San Jose Mercury News

About the Author

Ellery Queen was a pen name created and shared by two cousins, Frederic Dannay (1905–1982) and Manfred B. Lee (1905–1971), as well as the name of their most famous detective. Born in Brooklyn, they spent forty-two years writing, editing, and anthologizing under the name, gaining a reputation as the foremost American authors of the Golden Age “fair play” mystery.

Although eventually famous on television and radio, Queen’s first appearance came in 1928, when the cousins won a mystery-writing contest with the book that would eventually be published as The Roman Hat Mystery. Their character was an amateur detective who uses his spare time to assist his police inspector uncle in solving baffling crimes. Besides writing the Queen novels, Dannay and Lee cofounded Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, one of the most influential crime publications of all time. Although Dannay outlived his cousin by nine years, he retired Queen upon Lee’s death.

The French Powder Mystery

Ellery Queen

 

BASTEI ENTERTAINMENT

 

Bastei Entertainment is an imprint of Bastei Lübbe AG

 

Copyright © 2014 by Bastei Lübbe AG, Schanzenstraße 6-20, 51063 Cologne, Germany

 

For the original edition:

Copyright © 2013 by The Mysterious Press, LLC, 58 Warren Street, New York, NY. U.S.A.

 

Copyright © 1930 by Ellery Queen

Copyright renewed, 1958, by Manfred B. Lee and Frederic Dannay

 

Project management: Lori Herber

Cover adaptation: Christin Wilhelm, www.grafic4u.de

Cover design by Jim Tierney

 

E-book production: Jouve Germany GmbH & Co. KG

 

ISBN 978-3-95859-404-3

 

www.luebbe.de

www.bastei-entertainment.com

 

All rights reserved, including without limitation the right to reproduce this e-book or any portion thereof in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of the publisher.

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Foreword

EDITOR’S NOTE: A FOREWORD appeared in Mr. Queen’s last detective novel written by a gentleman designating himself as J. J. McC. The publishers did not then, nor do they now, know the identity of this friend of the two Queens. In deference to the author’s wish, however, Mr. McC. has been kind enough to pen once more a prefatory note to his friend’s new novel, and this note appears below.

I have followed the fortunes of the Queens, father and son, with more than casual interest for many years. Longer perhaps than any other of their legion friends. Which places me, or so Ellery avers, in the unfortunate position of Chorus, that quaint herald of the olden drama who craves the auditor’s sympathetic ear and receives at best his willful impatience.

It is with pleasure nevertheless that I once more enact my rôle of prologue-master in a modern tale of murder and detection. This pleasure derives from two causes: the warm reception accorded Mr. Queen’s first novel, for the publication of which I was more or less responsible, under his nom de plume; and the long and sometimes arduous friendship I have enjoyed with the Queens.

I say “arduous” because the task of a mere mortal in attempting to keep step with the busy life of a New York detective Inspector and the intellectual activity of a bookworm and logician can adequately be described only by that word. Richard Queen, whom I knew intimately long before he retired, a veteran of thirty-two years’ service in the New York police department, was a dynamic little gray man, a bundle of energy and industry. He knew his crime, he knew his criminals, and he knew his law. He brought to these not uncommon attributes, however, a daring of method that put him far above the average detective Inspector. A firm advocate of the more inspirational methods of his son, he nevertheless was the practical policeman to his fingertips. Under his long régime the Detective Bureau, except for those stormy times when his official superiors took it upon themselves by overhauling the department to satisfy a theory or a press opinion, garnered a record of solved capital crimes which to this day is unique in the police history of New York City.

Ellery Queen, as may be imagined, deplored the more unimaginative aspects of his father’s profession. He was the pure logician, with a generous dash of dreamer and artist thrown in—a lethal combination to those felons who were so unfortunate as to be dissected by the keen instruments of his mind, always under those questing pince-nez eyeglasses. His “life work” before his father’s retirement was hardly visible to the eye, unless his casual custom of writing a detective story when the spirit moved him may be termed a life work. He occupied himself chiefly in a student’s pursuit of culture and knowledge, and since he had an independent income from a maternal uncle which removed him from the class of social parasite, he lived what he characteristically termed the “ideal intellectual life.” It was natural for him to evince intense interest in crime, due to his environment, which from childhood had been saturated with tales of murder and law-breaking; but the artistic element in his nature made him useless for routine police investigation.

I recall vividly a conversation between father and son one day many years ago which brought out their wholly opposed viewpoints on the subject of crime-detection. I relate the conversation here because it will crystallize the difference between the two men so clearly—a point quite essential to complete understanding of the Queens.

The Inspector was expounding on his profession for my benefit, while Ellery lounged in his chair between us.

“Ordinary crime-detection,” said the old man, “is almost wholly a mechanical matter. Most crimes are committed by ‘criminals’—that is to say, by individuals habituated by environment and repetitious conduct to the pursuit of law-breaking. Such persons in ninety-nine out of a hundred cases have police records.

“The detective in these ninety-nine hypothetical cases has much to go on. Bertillon measurements—fingerprint records, intimate photographs, a complete dossier. Moreover, he has a little file of the criminal’s idiosyncrasies. We have not developed this phase of detective science so well as the London, Vienna and Berlin police, but we have at least laid a foundation. …

“A burglar who habitually makes use of a certain method of prying open doors and windows, or blowing safes, for example; a hold-up man who always wears a crude, homemade mask; a gunman who smokes and drops a certain brand of cigarette, purely from habit; a gangster with an inordinate fondness for women; a second-story man who always works alone, or one who invariably employs a ‘look-out’ … these idiosyncrasies of method are sometimes as definite clues to the identity of a criminal as his fingerprints.

“It seems peculiar to the layman,” went on Inspector Queen, when he had inhaled deeply from his old snuff-box—a habit inseparable from the man—“that a criminal should constantly use the same modus operandi—always drop the same cigarette smoked the same way; always wear the same kind of mask; always indulge in a wild orgy with women after a ‘job.’ But they forget that crime is the criminal’s business, and that every business leaves its indelible mark of habit on the business man.”

“Your psychological policeman, by the way,” grinned Ellery, “doesn’t scorn the aid of informers, either, McC. Something like the little tick-bird that sits on the rhino’s back and warns of approaching danger. …”

“I was coming to that,” retorted his father equably. “As I said in the beginning, we have plenty to go on in the case of the hardened criminal. But most of all, despite my son’s jeering attitude, we have come to depend upon the underworld’s ‘squealers,’ ‘stool-pigeons’—they’re called less polite names, too—for the solution of routine crimes. It is an open secret that without the stool-pigeon a huge percentage of felonies would remain unsolved. They are as essential to the big city’s police as a knowledge of the proper sourcebook is to the lawyer. It stands to reason—the underworld by its amazing grapevine inevitably knows who has pulled a big ‘job.’ Our problem is to find a ‘stoolie’ who will part with the tip for a fair consideration. It isn’t always easy even then, by the way. …”

“Child’s play,” said Ellery in a provocative tone. And he grinned.

“I firmly believe,” went on the old Inspector imperturbably, “that every police department in the world would collapse in six months if the institution of underworld informing were to come to an end.”

Ellery lazily took up the cudgels. “Most of what you say, Sire, is only too true. Which is why ninety per cent of your investigations hold not a vestige of glamour for me. But the last ten per cent!

“Where the police detective woefully falls down, J. J.,” he said smiling, turning to me, “is in the case of the crime whose perpetrator is not an habitual criminal, who has therefore left no handy fingerprints which will correspond with another set in your files, about whose idiosyncrasies nothing is known for the ludicrously simple reason that he has never been a criminal before. Such a person, generally speaking, is not of the underworld, and you can therefore pump your stool-pigeon to your heart’s delight without eliciting the slightest morsel of useful information.

“You have nothing to go on, I am happy to say,” he continued, twirling his pince-nez, “except the crime itself, and such clues and pertinences as that crime reveals upon observation and investigation. Obviously—and I say this with proper respect for my father’s ancient profession—obviously to nab the criminal in such a case is the more difficult job by many headaches. Which explains two things—the hideously high percentage of unsolved crimes in this country, and my own absorbing avocation.”

The French Powder Mystery is one of the older cases from the Queens’ files—an actual case, as I have said, and one in which Ellery exhibited scintillating proofs of his unique talents. He kept notes of this case during the French investigation—one of his few practical habits. Subsequently, with the unmasking of the murderer, he wrote a book around the real-life plot, developing and embroidering the facts to fit a literary pattern.

I induced him to polish up the manuscript and have it published as the second novel under his pen-name—and this at a time when I was under his sacred roof in the Queens’ Italian villa. For it will be recalled that Ellery, having renounced his old profession utterly, now that he is married and domesticated, has hidden his old cases in the depths of a filing-cabinet and nothing less than the detonation of a presumptuous friend’s exhortations has been able to make him consent to a revivification of the mellowed manuscripts.

It should be borne in mind, in all fairness to Inspector Queen, that the old sleuth’s comparatively small rôle in the French case was due to the enormous press of official business during that hectic season, and in no small degree to the heckling he was subjected to by the newly appointed civilian, Scott Welles, to the post of Commissioner of Police.

In closing, it might be pleasant to point out that the Queens are at this writing still in their tiny mountain-home in Italy; that Ellery’s son has learned to toddle and say with innocent gravity, “gramps”; that Djuna is in perfect health and has recently undergone the stress of a cosmic love-affair with a little witch of a country girl; that the Inspector is still writing monographs for German magazines and making occasional tours of inspection through the Continental police departments; that Mrs. Ellery Queen has happily recovered from her recent illness; and finally that Ellery himself, after his visit last fall to New York, has returned to that “gem-encrusted” Roman scenery with gratitude in his heart and, he says (but I doubt it), no regrets for the distractions of the West Side.

Which leaves me little else to write but a most sincere hope that you will enjoy the reading of The French Powder Mystery fully as much as I did.

J. J. McC.

NEW YORK

June, 1930

SOME PERSONS OF IMPORTANCE

ENCOUNTERED IN THE COURSE OF THE FRENCH INVESTIGATION*

NOTE:A list of the personalities involved in The French Powder Mystery is here set at the disposition of the reader. He is urged indeed to con the list painstakingly before attacking the story proper, so that each name will be vigorously impressed upon his consciousness; moreover, to refer often to this page during his perusal of the story. … Bear in mind that the most piercing enjoyment deriving from indulgence in detectival fiction arises from the battle of wits between author and reader. Scrupulous attention to the cast of characters is frequently a means to this eminently desirable end.

Ellery Queen

WINIFRED MARCHBANKS FRENCH,Requiescat in pace. What cesspool of evil lies beneath her murder?

BERNICE CARMODY, a child of ill-fortune.

CYRUS FRENCH, a common American avatar—merchant prince and Puritan.

MARION FRENCH, a silken Cinderella.

WESTLEY WEAVER, amanuensis and lover—and friend to the author.

VINCENT CARMODY,l’homme sombre et malheureux. A dealer in antiquities.

JOHN GRAY, director. A donor of book-ends.

HUBERT MARCHBANKS, director. Ursine brother to the late Mrs. French.

A. MELVILLE TRASK, director. Sycophantic blot on a fair ’scutcheon.

CORNELIUS ZORN, director. An Antwerpian nabob, potbelly, inhibitions and all.

MRS. CORNELIUS ZORN, Zorn’s Medusa-wife.

PAUL LAVERY, the impeccable français. Pioneer in modern art-decoration. Author of technical studies in the field of fine arts, notably L’Art de la Faïence, publié par Monserat, Paris, 1913.

ARNOLD MACKENZIE, General Manager of French’s, a Scot.

WILLIAM CROUTHER, chief guardian of the law employed by French’s.

DIANA JOHNSON, a model of fear.

JAMES SPRINGER, Manager of the Book Department, a mysterioso.

PETER O’FLAHERTY, leal head nightwatchman of the French establishment.

HERMANN RALSKA, GEORGE POWERS, BERT BLOOM, night-watchmen.

HORTENSE UNDERHILL, genus housekeeper tyranna.

DORIS KEATON, a maidenly minion.

THE HON. SCOTT WELLES, just a Commissioner of Police.

DR. SAMUEL PROUTY, Assistant Medical Examiner of New York County.

HENRY SAMPSON, District Attorney of New York County.

TIMOTHY CRONIN, Assistant District Attorney of New York County.

THOMAS VELIE, Detective-Sergeant under the wing of Inspector Queen.

HAGSTROM, HESSE, FLINT, RITTER, JOHNSON, PIGGOTT, sleuths attached to the command of Inspector Queen.

SALVATORE FIORELLI, Head of the Narcotic Squad.

“JIMMY,” Headquarters fingerprint expert who has ever remained last-nameless.

DJUNA, The Queens’ beloved scull, who appears far too little.

Detectives, policemen, clerks, a physician, a nurse, a Negro caretaker, a freight watchman, etc., etc., etc., etc.

and

INSPECTOR RICHARD QUEEN

who, being not himself, is sorely beset in this adventure

and

ELLERY QUEEN

who is so fortunate as to resolve it.

* The success of this device in his recent novel (The Roman Hat Mystery) has encouraged Mr. Queen to repeat it here. It was found useful by many of Mr. Queen’s readers in keeping the dramatis personal compactly before them.—THE EDITOR.

A—Elevator shaft

B—Stairway shaft

C, D, E, F, G—French apartment

C—Lavatory

D—Bedroom

F—Anteroom

E—Library

G—Cardroom

H—Ground floor door to elevator, facing 39th Street corridor

I—Ground floor to stairway, facing Fifth Avenue corridor

J—Window containing Lavery Exhibition

K—Door to murder-window

L—O’Flaherty’s office, with view of 39th Street entrance

M—Door from freight room

The First Episode

“Parenthetically speaking … in numerous cases the sole difference between success and failure in the detection of crime is a sort of … osmotic reluctance (on the part of the detective’s mental perceptions) to seep through the cilia ofWHAT SEEMS TO BEand reach the vital stream ofWHAT ACTUALLY IS.”

From A PRESCRIPTION FOR CRIME,

By Dr. Luigi Pinna

1.

“The Queens Were in the Parlor”

THEY SAT ABOUT THE old walnut table in the Queen apartment—five oddly assorted individuals. There was District Attorney Henry Sampson, a slender man with bright eyes. Beside Sampson glowered Salvatore Fiorelli, head of the Narcotic Squad, a burly Italian with a long black scar on his right cheek. Red-haired Timothy Cronin, Sampson’s assistant, was there. And Inspector Richard Queen and Ellery Queen sat shoulder to shoulder with vastly differing facial expressions. The old man sulked, bit the end of his mustache. Ellery stared vacantly at Fiorelli’s cicatrix.

The calendar on the desk nearby read Tuesday, May the twenty-fourth, 19—. A mild spring breeze fluttered the window draperies.

The Inspector glared about the board. “What did Welles ever do? I’d like to know, Henry!”

“Come now, Q, Scott Welles isn’t a bad scout.”

“Rides to hounds, shoots a 91 on the course, and that makes him eligible for the police commissionership, doesn’t it? Of course, of course! And the unnecessary work he piles on us. …”

“It isn’t so bad as that,” said Sampson. “He’s done some useful things, in all fairness. Flood Relief Committee, social work. … A man who has been so active in non-political fields can’t be a total loss, Q.”

The Inspector snorted. “How long has he been in office? No, don’t tell me—let me guess. Two days. … Well, here’s what he’s done to us in two days. Get your teeth into this.

“Number one—reorganized the Missing Persons Bureau. And why poor Parsons got the gate I don’t know. … Number two—scrambled seven precinct-captains so thoroughly that they need road maps to get back to familiar territory. Why? You tell me. … Number three—shifted the make-up of Traffic B, C, and D. Number four—reduced a square two dozen second-grade detectives to pounding beats. Any reason? Certainly! Somebody whose grand-uncle’s niece knows the Governor’s fourth secretary is out for blood. … Number five—raked over the Police School and changed the rules. And I know he has his eagle eye on my pet Homicide Squad. …”

“You’ll burst a blood-vessel,” said Cronin.

“You haven’t heard anything yet,” said the Inspector grimly. “Every first-grade detective must now make out a daily report—in line of duty, mind you—a daily personal report direct to the Commissioners office!”

“Well,” grinned Cronin, “he’s welcome to read ’em all. Half those babies can’t spell homicide.”

“Read them nothing, Tim. Do you think he’d waste his time? Not by your Aunt Martha. No, sir! He sends them into my office by his shiny little secretary, Theodore B. B. St. Johns, with a polite message: ‘The Commissioner’s respects to Inspector Richard Queen, and the Commissioner would be obliged for an opinion within the hour on the veracity of the attached reports.’ And there I am, sweating marbles to keep my head clear for this narcotic investigation—there I am putting my mark on a flock of flatfoot reports.” The Inspector dug viciously into his snuff-box.

“You ain’t spilled half of it, Queen,” growled Fiorelli. “What’s this wall-eyed walrus, this pussy-footing specimen of a ‘civvie’ do but sneak in on my department, sniff around among the boys, hook a can of opium on the sly, and send it down to Jimmy for—guess what—fingerprints! Fingerprints, by God! As if Jimmy could find the print of a dope-peddler after a dozen of the gang had had their paws on the can. Besides, we had the prints already! But no, he didn’t stop for explanations. And then Stern searched high and low for the can and came runnin’ to me with some crazy story that the guy we’re lookin’ for’d walked himself straight into Headquarters and snitched a pot of opium!” Fiorelli spread his huge hands mutely, stuck a stunted black cheroot into his mouth.

It was at this moment that Ellery picked up a little volume with torn covers from the table and began to read.

Sampson’s grin faded. “All joking aside, though, if we don’t gain ground soon on the drug ring we’ll all be in a mess. Welles shouldn’t have forced our hand and stirred up the White test case now. Looks as if this gang—” He shook his head dubiously.

“That’s what riles me,” complained the Inspector. “Here I am, just getting the feel of Pete Slavin’s mob, and I have to spend a whole day down in Court testifying.”

There was silence, broken after a moment by Cronin. “How did you come out on O’Shaughnessy in the Kingsley Arms murder?” he asked curiously. “Has he come clean?”

“Last night,” said the Inspector. “We had to sweat him a little, but he saw we had the goods on him and came through.” The harsh lines around his mouth softened. “Nice piece of work Ellery did there. When you stop to think that we were on the case a whole day without a glimmer of proof that O’Shaughnessy killed Herrin, although we were sure he’d done it—along comes my son, spends ten minutes on the scene, and comes out with enough proof to burn the murderer.”

“Another miracle, eh?” chuckled Sampson. “What’s the inside story, Q?” They glanced toward Ellery, but he was hunched in his chair, assiduously reading.

“As simple as rolling off a log,” said Queen proudly. “It generally is when he explains it.—Djuna, more coffee. Will you, son?”

An agile little figure popped out of the kitchenette, grinned, bobbed his dark head, and disappeared. Djuna was Inspector Queen’s valet, man-of-all-work, cook, chambermaid, and unofficially the mascot of the Detective Bureau. He emerged with a percolator and refilled the cups on the table. Ellery grasped his with a questioning hand and began to sip, his eyes riveted on the book.

“Simple’s hardly the word,” resumed the Inspector. “Jimmy had sprinkled that whole room with fingerprint powder and found nothing but Herrin’s own prints—and Herrin was deader than a mackerel. The boys all took a whack at suggesting different places to sprinkle—it was quite a game while it lasted. …” He slapped the table. “Then Ellery marched in. I reviewed the case for him and showed him what we’d found. You remember we spotted Herrin’s footprints in the crumbled plaster on the dining-room floor. We were mighty puzzled about that, because from the circumstances of the crime it was impossible for Herrin to have been in that dining-room. And that’s where superior mentality, I suppose you’d call it, turned the trick. Ellery said: ‘Are you certain those are Herrin’s footprints?’ I told him they were, beyond a doubt. When I told him why, he agreed—yet it was impossible for Herrin to have been in that room. And there lay the prints, giving us the lie. ‘Very well,’ says this precious son o’ mine, ‘maybe he wasn’t in the room, after all.’ ‘But Ellery—the prints!’ I objected. ‘I have a notion,’ he says, and goes into the bedroom.

“Well,” sighed the Inspector, “he certainly did have a notion. In the bedroom he looked over the shoes on Herrin’s dead feet, took them off, got some of the print powder from Jimmy, called for the copy of O’Shaughnessy’s fingerprints, sprinkled the shoes—and sure enough, there was a beautiful thumb impression! He matched it with the file print, and it proved to be O’Shaughnessy’s. … You see, we’d looked in every place in that apartment for fingerprints except the one place where they were—on the dead body itself. Who’d ever think of looking for the murderer’s sign on his victim’s shoes?”

“Unlikely place,” grunted the Italian. “How’d it figure?”

“Ellery reasoned that if Herrin wasn’t in that room and his shoes were, it simply meant that somebody else wore or planted Herrin’s shoes there. Infantile, isn’t it? But it had to be thought of.” The old man bore down on Ellery’s bowed head with unconvincing irritability. “Ellery, what on earth are you reading? You’re hardly an attentive host, son.”

“That’s one time a layman’s familiarity with fingerprints came in handy,” grinned Sampson.

“Ellery!”

Ellery looked up excitedly. He waved his book in triumph, and began to recite to the amazed group at the table: “If they went to sleep with the sandals on, the thong worked into the feet and the sandals were frozen fast to them. This was partly due to the fact that, since their old sandals had failed, they wore untanned brogans made of newly flayed ox-hides.* Do you know, dad, that gives me a splendid idea?” His face beamed as he reached for a pencil.

Inspector Queen swung to his feet, grumbling. “You can’t get anything out of him when he’s in that mood. … Come along, Henry—you going, Fiorelli?—let’s get down to City Hall.”

* I had been brushing up on my Xenophon, and when I ran across the passage relating to the Retreat of the Ten Thousand through ancient Armenia, the shoe reference gave me an idea for a short story. The incident is ridiculous in retrospect, although at the time I was quite oblivious to its humor.—E. Q.

2.

“The Kings Were in the Counting-House”

IT WAS ELEVEN O’CLOCK when Inspector Queen left his apartment on West 87th Street in the company of Sampson, Cronin and Fiorelli, bound for the Criminal Courts Building.

At precisely the same moment, some miles to the south, a man stood quietly at the library dormer-window of a private apartment. The apartment was situated on the sixth floor of French’s, the Fifth Avenue department store. The man at the window was Cyrus French, chief stock-holder of French’s and president of its Board of Directors.

French was watching the swirling traffic at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 39th Street with unseeing eyes. He was a dour-visaged man of sixty-five, stocky, corpulent, iron-grey. He was dressed in a dark business suit. A white flower gleamed on his lapel.

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!