The Golden Hades - Edgar Wallace - ebook

The Golden Hades ebook

Edgar Wallace

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This early work by Edgar Wallace was originally published in 1929. „"The Golden Hades"” is a tale of murder and a symbol on bank notes leading to a sinister organization. This mystery novel features Wilbur Smith of the Treasury Department for Counterfeit in his investigations. Each time a crime happens be it a robbery or a murder, there is a sinister sign of Pluto (Hades) gold there... a statue of the Greek god of the underworld and the sign of dangerous gang of forgers. One of the most prolific writers of the twentieth century, Edgar Wallace was an immensely popular author, who created exciting thrillers spiced with tales of treacherous crooks and hard-boiled detectives.

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Liczba stron: 167

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Contents

Chapter I

Chapter II

Chapter III

Chapter IV

Chapter V

Chapter VI

Chapter VII

Chapter VIII

Chapter IX

Chapter X

Chapter XI

Chapter XII

Chapter XIII

Chapter XIV

Chapter XV

Chapter XVI

Chapter XVII

CHAPTER I

FRANK ALWIN lifted his manacled hands and gingerly pulled off his moustache. The sound of the orchestra playing the audience out came faintly through the heavy curtains which divided the stage from the auditorium. He looked round as the property man came forward with an apology.

“Sorry, sir,” he said; “I didn’t know the curtain was down. We finished early tonight.”

Frank nodded and watched, as the man deftly unlocked the handcuffs and took them into his charge.

Five minutes before, Frank Alwin had been the wicked Count de Larsca, detected in the act of robbing the Bank of Brazil, and arrested by the inevitable and invincible detective.

He stood on the stage absent-mindedly as, one by one, the battens were extinguished and the nimble stage-hands struck the scene. Then he walked to the whitewashed lobby which led to the dressing-rooms.

A girl was waiting in her street clothes, for her tiny part had been finished an hour before. Frank, his mind fully occupied with other matters, had a dim sense of obligation. He had a keener sense that he had failed to surrender a great wad of paper money which he had filched from the property safe and which now reposed in his pocket. He smiled into the girl’s anxious face as he approached her and slipped half a dozen bills from his pocket. These he folded solemnly and pressed into her hand.

“For the che-ild, Marguerite,” he said extravagantly, saw the amazement in the open eyes, chuckled to himself, and mounted the stairs to his dressing-room two at a time. He was near the top when he remembered and cursed himself. He dashed down again to find she was gone.

Wilbur Smith, late Captain Wilbur Smith, but now just Wilbur Smith of the Treasury Department for Counterfeit was lounging in a big arm-chair in the actor’s dressing-room, filling the small apartment with blue smoke, and he looked up as his friend entered.

“Hullo, Frank!” he exclaimed. “What’s the matter? Didn’t the show go?”

“I’m an ass,” said Frank Alwin, dropping into a chair before his dressing-table.

“In some things, yes,” said Wilbur Smith genially; “in other things, quite a shrewd man for an actor. What particular asinine thing have you done?”

“There’s a girl–” began Frank, and the other nodded sympathetically.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t intend probing into your indiscretions. If you are that kind of ass, that doesn’t count against you.”

“Don’t be a fool,” said Alwin irritably. “It’s not like that at all. There’s a girl in this company... “ He hesitated. “Well, I can tell you. Her name is Margaret Bishop. She has a small part in the show.” The other nodded.

“I’ve seen her, a very pretty girl. Well?”

Again Frank hesitated.

“Well, the fact is,” he said awkwardly, “she came to me tonight as I was going on, and said she was in some kind of trouble–her people, I mean. And she asked me if I would lend her some money. It was only a few seconds before I went on. I promised her I would, and forgot all about it.”

“Well, you can find her,” said the other. “It isn’t that that is worrying me. Look here!” He thrust his hand in his pocket and threw a roll of bills on the table. “Stage money! I saw her waiting for me and completely forgot our conversation–so far forgot it that I acted the fool and gave her half a dozen of these by way of a joke.”

Wilbur laughed. “Don’t let it worry you,” he said. “I promise you that if she is arrested for passing fake money I’ll see her through.” He rose from the chair, and, walking across to the dressing-table, picked up the bundle of notes. It was  a very thick bundle and the bills were of large denomination.

“That’s pretty good stage money,” he said.

Alwin stopped in the process of rubbing his face with cold cream to look.

“It isn’t the usual stage money, either. Why, you might think that was real stuff.” He wiped his hands on a towel, and, picking up one of the bills, examined it. “Watermark O.K. Now, what the devil does this mean? I’ve never had stage money like this before. That girl ought to be able to pass every one of those bills. Wilbur, I wish you would go down and see her. She lives on the east side somewhere; the stage-door keeper will give you her address.”

“Queer, isn’t it?” said Wilbur Smith thoughtfully, fingering a bill. “The realest-looking stuff I have ever seen, and–good God!”

He had turned the bill over and was staring at the back.

“What is it?” asked the startled Alwin.

The detective pointed to a little yellow design which had evidently been stamped upon the bill.

“What is it?” asked Alwin again.

“What do you think it is?” demanded Wilbur Smith in a strange voice.

“Well, it looks to me like the picture of an idol.”

The other nodded.

“You’re nearly right. It is a picture of the Golden Hades!”

“The who?”

“The Golden Hades,” replied the other. “Have you never heard of Hades?”

“Yes,” said Frank with a smile, “it’s a place you send people to when they’re in the way.”

“It is also the name of a deity,” said Wilbur Smith grimly, “a gentleman who is also called Pluto.”

“But why do you call it Golden–because of its colour?”

The other shook his head.

“This is the third Hades I have seen, but the others were in sure enough gold.” He picked up the bills and counted them carefully.

“Ninety-six thousand dollars,” he said. “Do you mean,” gasped Frank, “that these are–”

“They are real enough,” nodded the detective.

“Where did you get them?”

“I got them in the usual way from the property man.”

“Can you bring him up?”

“If he hasn’t gone home,” said Frank, and, going to the door, roared for his dresser.

“Send Hainz up.”

Fortunately, Hainz was intercepted at the door just as he was leaving, and was brought back to the dressing-room. As he passed through the door his eye fell upon the money on the table and he uttered an impatient “Tchk!”

“Why, I knew I’d forgotten to collect something from you, Mr. Alwin,” he said, “but being late for the curtain made me forget it. I’ll take these–”

“Wait a moment.” It was Wilbur Smith who spoke.

“You know me, Hainz?”

“Yes, sir,” grinned the man; “not professionally, but I know you well enough.”

“Where did you get this money?” The other stared.

“Money? What do you mean–his?” He jerked his thumb to the bills on the table. “

“I mean that,” said Smith.

“Where did I get it?” repeated the property man slowly. “Why, I bought those from a bill-man. I was running short of stage stuff and he had a lot. He was using ‘em as a border for that movie picture ‘The Lure of Wealth’.”

“Where did he get them?” asked Smith.

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