The Greek Coffin Mystery - Ellery Queen - ebook
Opis

In one of his earliest cases, Ellery Queen confronts a murder in blue blood America's master of deduction, Ellery Queen, has made his name by combining dazzling feats of pure reason with the old-fashioned legwork that comes with being the son of a New York cop. Before he became the nation's most famous sleuth, he was just an untested talent - a bookworm who thought he might put his genius to work solving crimes. Young Queen made his bones on the Khalkis case. The scion of a famous New York art-dealing family, Georg Khalkis has spent several years housebound with blindness - a misery he is relieved of when a heart attack knocks him dead on the library floor. After the funeral, his will vanishes, and an exhaustive search of home, churchyard, crypt, and mourners reveals nothing. Baffled, the police turn to a headstrong young genius named Ellery Queen. During this case, Queen develops his deductive method - and swings dramatically between failure and success. 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.

Ebooka przeczytasz w aplikacjach Legimi na:

Androidzie
iOS
czytnikach certyfikowanych
przez Legimi
Windows
10
Windows
Phone

Liczba stron: 548

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

Androidzie
iOS

Contents

Cover

About the Book

About the Author

Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication

Foreword

BOOK ONE

1.

T

omb

2.

H

unt

3.

E

nigma

4.

G

ossip

5.

R

emains

6.

E

xhumation

7.

E

vidence

8.

K

illed?

9.

C

hronicles

10.

O

men

11.

F

oresight

12.

F

acts

13.

I

nquiries

14.

N

ote

15.

M

aze

16.

Y

east

17.

S

tigma

18.

T

estament

19.

E

xpose

20.

R

eckoning

21.

Y

earbook

BOOK TWO

22.

B

ottom

23.

Y

arns

24.

E

xhibit

25.

L

eftover

26.

L

ight

27.

E

xchange

28.

R

equisition

29.

Y

ield

30.

Q

uiz

31.

U

pshot

32.

E

lleryana

33.

E

ye-opener

34.

N

ucleus

Looking for more suspense?

Cover

Begin Reading

About the Book

In one of his earliest cases, Ellery Queen confronts a murder in blue blood

America’s master of deduction, Ellery Queen, has made his name by combining dazzling feats of pure reason with the old-fashioned legwork that comes with being the son of a New York cop. Before he became the nation’s most famous sleuth, he was just an untested talent - a bookworm who thought he might put his genius to work solving crimes. Young Queen made his bones on the Khalkis case.

The scion of a famous New York art-dealing family, Georg Khalkis has spent several years housebound with blindness - a misery he is relieved of when a heart attack knocks him dead on the library floor. After the funeral, his will vanishes, and an exhaustive search of home, churchyard, crypt, and mourners reveals nothing. Baffled, the police turn to a headstrong young genius named Ellery Queen. During this case, Queen develops his deductive method - and swings dramatically between failure and success.

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 Greek Coffin 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 © 1932 by Ellery Queen

 

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 978-3-95859-403-6

 

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.

 

To

M. B. W.

WITH GRATITUDE

CHARACTERS

GEORG KHALKIS art dealer

GILBERT SLOANE manager, Khalkis Galleries

DELPHINA SLOANE Khalkis’ sister

ALAN CHENEY son of Delphina Sloane

DEMMY Khalkis’ cousin

JOAN BRETT Khalkis’ secretary

JAN VREELAND Khalkis’ traveling representative

LUCY VREELAND Vreeland’s wife

NACIO SUIZA director of Khalkis’ art-gallery

ALBERT GRIMSHAW ex-convict

DR. WARDES English eye-specialist

MILES WOODRUFF Khalkis’ attorney

JAMES J. KNOX millionaire art-connoisseur

DR. DUNCAN FROST Khalkis’ personal physician

MRS. SUSAN MORSE a neighbor

JEREMIAH ODELL plumbing contractor

LILY ODELL Odell’s wife

REV. JOHN HENRY ELDER SEXTON

HONEYWELL WEEKES Khalkis’ butler

MRS. SIMMS Khalkis’ housekeeper

PEPPER Assistant District Attorney

SAMPSON District Attorney

COHALAN D. A. detective

DR. SAMUEL PROUTY Assistant Medical Examiner

EDMUND CREWE architectural expert

UNA LAMBERT handwriting expert

“JIMMY” fingerprint expert

TRIKKALA Greek interpreter

FLINT, HESSE, JOHNSON, PIGGOTT, HAGSTROM, RITTER staff detectives

THOMAS VELIE detective sergeant

DJUNA

INSPECTOR RICHARD QUEEN

ELLERY QUEEN

FOREWORD

I FIND THE TASK of prefacing The Greek Coffin Mystery one of especial interest, since its publication was preceded by an extraordinary reluctance on the part of Mr. Ellery Queen to permit its publication at all.

Mr. Queen’s readers will perhaps recall, from Forewords in previous Queen novels, that it was sheerest accident which caused these authentic memoirs of Inspector Richard Queen’s son to be recast in the mold of fiction and given to the public—and then only after the Queens had retired to Italy to rest, as they say, on their laurels. But after I was able to persuade my friend to permit publication of the first one,* the initial Queen affair to be put between covers, things went very smoothly indeed and we found no difficulty in cajoling this sometimes difficult young man into further fictionizations of his adventures during his father’s Inspectorship in the Detective Bureau of the New York Police Department.

Why, then, you ask, Mr. Queen’s reluctance with regard to publication of the Khalkis case-history? For an interesting duality of reasons. In the first place, the Khalkis case occurred early in his career as unofficial investigator under the cloak of the Inspector’s authority; Ellery had not yet at that time fully crystallized his famous analytico-deductive method. In the second place—and this I am sure is the more powerful reason of the two—Mr. Ellery Queen until the very last suffered a thoroughly humiliating beating in the Khalkis case. No man, however modest—and Ellery Queen, I think he will be the first to agree, is far from that—cares to flaunt his failures to the world. He was put to shame publicly, and the wound has left its mark. “No,” he said positively, “I don’t relish the notion of castigating myself all over again, even in print.”

It was not until we pointed out to him—his publishers and I—that far from being his worst failure, the Khalkis case (published under the present title of The Greek Coffin Mystery) was his greatest success, that Mr. Queen began to waver—a human reaction which I am glad to point out to those cynical souls who have accused Ellery Queen of being something less than human. … Finally, he threw up his hands and gave in.

It is my earnest belief that it was the amazing barriers of the Khalkis case that set Ellery’s feet in the path that was to lead him to such brilliant victories later. Before this case was done, he had been tried by fire, and …

But it would be rude to spoil your enjoyment. You may take the word of one who knows the details of every single affair to which—I trust he will forgive my amicable enthusiasm—he applied the singing keenness of his brain, that The Greek Coffin Mystery from many angles is Ellery Queen’s most distinguished adventure.

Happy hunting!

J. J. McC.

*The Roman Hat Mystery, Frederick A. Stokes Company, publisher (1929).

FLOOR PLAN OF KHALKIS HOUSE

A—KHALKIS’ LIBRARY

B—KHALKIS’ BEDROOM

C—DEMMY’S BEDROOM

D—KITCHEN

E—STAIRS TO 2ND FLOOR

F—DINING ROOM

G—DRAWING ROOM

H—FOYER

J—SERVANTS’ ROOMS

K—BATHROOMS

L—VREELANDS’ ROOM

M—SLOANES’ ROOMS

N—JOAN BRETT’S ROOM

O—DR. WARDES’ ROOM

P—CHENEY’S ROOM

Q—SECOND GUEST ROOM

ATTIC NOT DIVIDED INTO ROOMS

BOOK ONE

“IN SCIENCE, IN HISTORY, in psychology, in all manner of pursuits which require an application of thought to the appearance of phenomena, things are very often not what they seem. Lowell, the illustrious American thinker, said: ‘A wise scepticism is the first attribute of a good critic.’ I think precisely the same theorem can be laid down for the student of criminology. …

“The human mind is a fearful and tortuous thing. When any part of it is warped—even if it be so lightly that all the instruments of modern psychiatry cannot detect the warping—the result is apt to be confounding. Who can describe a motive? A passion? A mental process?

“My advice, the gruff dictum of one who has been dipping his hands into the unpredictable vapours of the brain for more years than he cares to recall, is this: Use your eyes, use the little grey cells God has given you, but be ever wary. There is pattern but no logic in criminality. It is your task to cohere confusion, to bring order out of chaos.”

—Closing Address by PROF. FLORENZ BACHMANN to Class in Applied Criminology at University of Munich (1920)

1 … TOMB

FROM THE VERY BEGINNING the Khalkis case struck a somber note. It began, as was peculiarly harmonious in the light of what was to come, with the death of an old man. The death of this old man wove its way, like a contrapuntal melody, through all the intricate measures of the death march that followed, in which the mournful strain of innocent mortality was conspicuously absent. In the end it swelled into a crescendo of orchestral guilt, a macabre dirge whose echoes rang in the ears of New York long after the last evil note had died away.

It goes without saying that when Georg Khalkis died of heart failure no one, least of all Ellery Queen, suspected that this was the opening motif in a symphony of murder. Indeed, it is to be doubted that Ellery Queen even knew that Georg Khalkis had died until the fact was forcibly brought to his attention three days after the blind old man’s clay had been consigned, in a most proper manner, to what every one had reason to believe was its last resting-place.

What the newspapers failed to make capital of in the first announcement of Khalkis’ death—an obituary tribute which Ellery, a violent non-reader of the public prints, did not catch—was the interesting location of the man’s grave. It gave a curious sidelight on old New Yorkana. Khalkis’ drooping brownstone at 11 East Fifty-fourth Street was situated next to the tradition-mellowed church which fronts Fifth Avenue and consumes half the area of the block between Fifth and Madison Avenues, flanked on the north by Fifty-fifth Street and on the south by Fifty-fourth Street. Between the Khalkis house and the church itself was the church graveyard, one of the oldest private cemeteries in the city. It was in this graveyard that the bones of the dead man were to be interred. The Khalkis family, for almost two hundred years parishioners of this church, were not affected by that article of the Sanitary Code which forbids burial in the heart of the city. Their right to lie in the shadow of Fifth Avenue’s skyscrapers was established by their traditional ownership of one of the subterranean vaults in the church graveyard—vaults not visible to passersby, since their adits were sunken three feet below the surface, leaving the sod of the graveyard unmarred by tombstones.

The funeral was quiet, tearless and private. The dead man, embalmed and rigged out in evening clothes, was laid in a large black lustrous coffin, resting on a bier in the drawing-room on the first floor of the Khalkis house. Services were conducted by the Reverend John Henry Elder, pastor of the adjoining church—that Reverend Elder, it should be noted, whose sermons and practical diatribes were given respectful space in the metropolitan press. There was no excitement, and except for a characteristic swooning entered upon with vigor by Mrs. Simms, the dead man’s Housekeeper, no hysteria.

Yet, as Joan Brett later remarked, there was something wrong. Something that may be attributed, we may suspect, to that superior quality of feminine intuition which, medical men are prone to say, is sheer nonsense. Nevertheless she described it, in her straight-browed and whimsical English fashion, as “a tightness in the air.” Who caused the tightness, what individual or individuals were responsible for the tension—if indeed it existed—she could not or would not say. Everything, on the contrary, seemed to go off smoothly and with just the proper touch of intimate, unexploited grief. When the simple services were concluded, for example, the members of the family and the scattering of friends and employees present filed past the coffin, took their last farewell of the dead clay, and returned decorously to their places. Faded Delphina wept, but she wept in the aristocratic manner—a tear, a dab, a sigh. Demetrios, whom no one would dream of addressing by any other name than Demmy, stared his vacant idiot’s stare and seemed fascinated by his cousin’s cold placid face in the coffin. Gilbert Sloane patted his wife’s pudgy hand. Alan Cheney, his face a little flushed, had jammed his hands into the pockets of his jacket and was scowling at empty air. Nacio Suiza, director of the Khalkis art-gallery, correct to the last detail of funereal attire, stood very languidly in a corner. Woodruff, the dead man’s attorney, honked his nose. It was all very natural and innocuous. Then the undertaker, a worried-looking, bankerish sort of man by the name of Sturgess, manipulated his puppets and the coffin-lid was quickly fastened down. Nothing remained but the sordid business of organizing the last procession. Alan, Demmy, Sloane and Suiza took their places by the bier, and after the customary confusion had subsided, hoisted the coffin to their shoulders, passed the critical scrutiny of Undertaker Sturgess, the Reverend Elder murmured a prayer, and the cortège walked firmly out of the house.

Now Joan Brett, as Ellery Queen was later to appreciate, was a very canny young lady. If she had felt a “tightness in the air,” a tightness in the air there was. But where—from what direction? It was so difficult to pin it to—some one. It might have proceeded from bearded Dr. Wardes, who with Mrs. Vreeland made up the rear of the procession. It might have proceeded from the pall-bearers, or from those who came directly after, with Joan. It might, in point of fact, have proceeded from the house itself, arising from just such a simple matter as Mrs. Simms wailing in her bed, or Weekes the butler rubbing his jaw foolishly in the dead man’s study.

Certainly it does not seem to have thrust barriers in the way of expedition. The cortège made its way, not through the front door to Fifty-fourth Street, but through the back door into the long garden-court serving as a little private lane for the six residences on Fifty-fourth and Fifty-fifth Streets, which enclosed it. They turned to the left and marched through the gate on the west side of the court, and they were in the graveyard. Passersby and curiosity-seekers, attracted like flies to Fifty-fourth Street, probably felt cheated; which was precisely the reason that the private route to the graveyard had been selected. They clung to the spike-topped fence, peering into the little cemetery through the iron bars; there were reporters among them, and cameramen, and every one was curiously silent. The actors in the tragedy paid no attention to their audience. As they wound across the bare sod, another little company faced them, surrounding a rectangular cavity in the grass and a mathematically upturned heap of earth. Two gravediggers—Sturgess’ assistants—were there, and Honeywell, the church sexton; and by herself, a little old lady wearing a preposterously outmoded black bonnet and wiping her bright rheumy eyes. The tightness, if we are to give credence to Joan Brett’s intuition, persisted.

Yet what followed was as innocent as what had gone before. The customary ritualistic preparations; a grave-digger leaning far forward and grasping the handle of a rusty old iron door imbedded horizontally in the earth; a slight rush of dead air; the coffin gently lowered into the old brick-lined crypt beneath; a milling of workmen, some low hurried words, the shifting of the coffin slowly to one side out of sight, where it nudged its way into one of the many niches of the underground vault; the iron door clanging to, the earth and sod replaced above it. … And somehow, Joan Brett was positive when she later told of her impressions of that moment, somehow the tightness in the air vanished.

2 … HUNT

VANISHED, THAT IS TO say, until a brief few moments after the funeral party, retracing its route through the garden-court, returned to the house.

Then it materialized again, accompanied by such a horde of ghastly events as made its source very clear indeed much later.

The first warning of what was to come was sounded by Miles Woodruff, the dead man’s attorney. The picture seems to be etching-sharp at this point. The Reverend Elder had returned to the Khalkis house to offer consolation, trailing in his wake the dapper, clerical and annoyingly fidgety figure of Sexton Honeywell. The little old lady with the bright rheumy eyes who had met the cortège in the graveyard had expectantly joined the returning procession and was now in the drawing-room, inspecting the barren bier with a hypercritical air, while Undertaker Sturgess and his assistants busied themselves removing the grisly signs of their labor. No one had asked the little old lady in; no one now took cognizance of her presence except perhaps imbecile Demmy, who was eying her with a faintly intelligent dislike. The others had taken chairs, or were wandering listlessly about; there was little conversation; no one except the undertaker and his assistants seemed to know what to do.

Miles Woodruff, as restless as the others, seeking to bridge the ugly post-burial gap, had sauntered into the dead man’s library quite without purpose, as he said later. Weekes, the butler, clambered to his feet in some confusion; he had been nodding a bit, it appears. Woodruff waved his hand and, still aimlessly, occupied with dismal thoughts, strolled across the room to the stretch of wall between two bookcases where Khalkis’ wall-safe was imbedded. Woodruff has stoutly maintained that his act in twirling the dial of the safe and selecting the combination which caused the heavy round little door to swing open was wholly mechanical. Certainly, he averred later, he had not intended to look for it, let alone find it missing. Why, he had seen it, actually handled it only five minutes before the funeral party left the house! However, the fact remains that Woodruff did discover, whether by accident or design, that it was gone, and the steel box too—a discovery which sounded the warning-note that, quite like The House That Jack Built, caused the tightness to reappear that led to all the dire events that followed.

Woodruff’s reaction to its disappearance was characteristic. He whirled on Weekes, who must have thought the man had gone insane, and shouted, “Did you touch this safe?” in a terrible voice. Weekes stammered a denial and Woodruff puffed and blew. He was hot on a chase, the goal of which he could not even vaguely see.

“How long have you been sitting here?”

“Ever since the funeral party left the house to go to the graveyard, sir.”

“Did any one come into this room while you were sitting here?”

“Not a living soul, sir.” Weekes was frightened now; the ring of cotton-white hair at the back of his pink scalp, puffing over his ears, quivered with earnestness. In the eyes of stuffy old Weekes there was something terrifying in Woodruff’s lord-and-master pose. Woodruff, it is to be feared, took advantage of his bulk, his red face and crackling voice to browbeat the old man almost to tears. “You were asleep!” he thundered. “You were dozing when I walked in here!”

Weekes mumbled in a soupy voice, “Just nodding, sir, really, sir, just nodding, sir. I wasn’t asleep for an instant. I heard you the instant you came in, didn’t I, sir?”

“Well …” Woodruff was mollified. “I guess you did as that. Ask Mr. Sloane and Mr. Cheney to come in here at once.”

Woodruff was standing before the safe in a Messianic attitude when the two men came in, looking puzzled. He challenged them silently, with his best witness-baiting manner. He noticed at once that something was wrong with Sloane; precisely what he could not make out. As for Alan, the boy was scowling as usual, and when he moved nearer to Woodruff the lawyer caught the pungent odor of whisky on his breath. Woodruff spared no language in his peroration. He chopped at them savagely, pointed to the open safe, eyed each of them with heavy suspicion. Sloane shook his leonine head; he was a powerful man in the prime of life, elegantly attired in the height of foppish fashion. Alan said nothing—shrugged his spare shoulders indifferently.

“All right,” said Woodruff. “It’s all right with me. But I’m going to get to the bottom of this, gentlemen. Right now.”

Woodruff appears to have been in his glory. He had every one in the house peremptorily summoned to the study. Amazing as it may seem, it is true that within four minutes of the time the funeral party returned to the Khalkis house, Woodruff had them all on the carpet—all, including even Undertaker Sturgess and his assistants!—and had the dubious satisfaction of hearing them, to the last man and woman, deny having taken anything out of the safe, or even having gone to the safe that day at all.

It was at this dramatic and slightly ludicrous moment that Joan Brett and Alan Cheney were struck by the same thought. Both plunged for the doorway, colliding, boiling out of the room into the hall, flying down the hall to the foyer. Woodruff, with a hoarse shout, lunged after them, suspecting he knew not what. Alan and Joan assisted each other in unlocking the foyer door, scrambled through the vestibule to the unlocked street-door, flung it open and faced a mildly astonished throng in the street, Woodruff hurrying after them. Joan called out in her clear contralto, “Has any one come into this house in the past half-hour?” Alan shouted, “Anybody?” and Woodruff found himself echoing the word. A hardy young man, one of a group of reporters draped over the latched gate on the sidewalk, distinctly said, “No!”, another reporter drawled, “What’s up, Doc? Why the hell don’t you let us inside?—we won’t touch nothin’,” and there was a little scattering of applause from the onlookers in the street. Joan blushed, as was natural, and her hand strayed to her auburn hair, patting it for no apparent reason into place. Alan cried, “Did anybody come out?” and there was a thunderous chorus of “No!” Woodruff coughed, his self-assurance shaken by this public spectacle, irritably herded the young couple back into the house, and carefully locked the doors behind him—both of them, this time.

But Woodruff was not the type of man whose self-assurance can be permanently shaken. He recaptured it immediately upon reentering the library, where the others sat and stood about looking faintly expectant. He rapped questions at them, pouncing on one after the other, and almost snarled with disappointment when he discovered that most of the household knew the combination of the safe.

“All right,” he said. “All right. Somebody here is trying to pull a fast one. Somebody’s lying. But we’ll find out soon enough, soon enough, I’ll promise you that.” He prowled back and forth before them. “I can be as smart as the rest of you. It’s my duty—my duty, you understand,” and everybody nodded, like a battery of dolls, “to search every soul in this house. Right now. At once,” and everybody stopped nodding. “Oh, I know some one here doesn’t like the idea. Do you think I like it? But I’m going to do it anyway. It was stolen right under my nose. My nose.” At this point, despite the seriousness of the situation, Joan Brett giggled; Woodruff’s nose did cover a generous strip of territory.

Nacio Suiza, the immaculate, smiled slightly. “Oh, come now, Woodruff. Isn’t this a bit melodramatic? There’s probably a very simple explanation for the whole thing. You’re dramatizing it.”

“You think so, Suiza, you think so?” Woodruff transferred his glare from Joan to Suiza. “I see you don’t like the idea of a personal search. Why?”

Suiza chuckled. “Am I on trial, Woodruff? Get a hold on yourself, man. You’re acting like a chicken with its head cut off. Perhaps,” he said pointedly, “perhaps you were mistaken when you thought you saw the box in the safe five minutes before the funeral.”

“Mistaken? You think so? You’ll find I wasn’t mistaken when one of you turns out a thief!”

“At any rate,” remarked Suiza, showing his white teeth, “I won’t stand for this high-handed procedure. Try—just try—to search me, old man.”

At this point the inevitable occurred; Woodruff completely lost his temper. He raged, and raved, and shook his heavy fist under Suiza’s sharp cold nose, and spluttered, “By God, I’ll show you! By heaven, I’ll show you what high-handed is!” and concluded by doing what he should have done in the very beginning—he clutched at one of the two telephones on the dead man’s desk, feverishly dialed a number, stuttered at an unseen inquisitor, and replaced the instrument with a bang, saying to Suiza with malevolent finality, “We’ll see whether you’ll be searched or not, my good fellow. Everybody in this house, by order of District Attorney Sampson, is not to stir a foot from the premises until somebody from his office gets here!”

3 … ENIGMA

ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY PEPPER was a personable young man. Matters proceeded very smoothly indeed from the moment he stepped into the Khalkis house a half-hour after Woodruff’s telephone call. He possessed the gift of making people talk, for he knew the value of flattery—a talent that Woodruff, a poor trial-lawyer, had never acquired. To Woodruff’s surprise, even he himself felt better after a short talk with Pepper. Nobody minded in the least the presence of a moon-faced, cigar-smoking individual who had accompanied Pepper—a detective named Cohalan attached to the District Attorney’s office; for Cohalan, on Pepper’s warning, merely stood in the doorway to the study and smoked his black weed in complete, self-effacing silence.

Woodruff hurried husky Pepper into a corner and the story of the funeral tumbled out. “Now here’s the situation, Pepper. Five minutes before the funeral procession was formed here in the house I went into Khalkis’ bedroom”—he pointed vaguely to another door leading out of the library—“got hold of Khalkis’ key to his steel box, came back in here, opened the safe, opened the steel box, and there it was, staring me in the face. Now then—”

“There what was?”

“Didn’t I tell you? I must be excited.” Pepper did not say that this was self-evident, and Woodruff swabbed his perspiring face. “Khalkis’ new will! The new one, mind you! No question about the fact that it was the new will in the steel box; I picked it up and there was my own seal on the thing. I put it back into the box, locked the box, locked the safe, left the room. …”

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!