The Green Ribbon - Edgar Wallace - ebook

The Green Ribbon ebook

Edgar Wallace

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Opis

In „The Green Ribbon” an insurance investigator researches the accidental death of a jockey. His inquiry leads to an illegal gambling organization, as well as the knowledge that the jockey’s death was not accidental. He also saves the life of another jockey who has been the victim of a couple of accidents. One of Edgar Wallace’s occasional horse racing novels which centers of a betting syndicate involving the jovial Mr. Trigger, the sinister Dr. Blanter, the strange Mr. Goodie, and the slippery disbarred lawyer Rustem. How does The Green Ribbon tipping agency keep on picking winners? Looks like there’s dirty work going on at the race track...

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Liczba stron: 305

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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 XVIII

CHAPTER XIX

CHAPTER XX

CHAPTER XXI

CHAPTER XXII

CHAPTER I

WALKING up Lower Regent Street at his leisure, Mr. Luke saw the new business block which had been completed during his absence in South America and paused, his hands thrust into his trousers pockets, to examine the new home of the wealth-bringer.

On each big plate-glass window of the first and second floor were two gilt T’s intertwined, and above each a green ribbon twisted scroll in the form of a Gordian knot.

He grinned slowly. It was so decorous and unostentatious and businesslike. No flaming banners or hectic posters, no shouting lithographs to call attention to the omniscience of Mr. Joe Trigger and his Transactions. Just the two gilt T’s and the green ribbon that went so well with the marble doorway and the vista of little mahogany desks and the ranks of white glass ceiling lamps above them. It might have been a bank or a shipping office. He took a newspaper out of his pocket and opened it. It was a sporting daily and on the middle page was a four-column advertisement:

TRIGGER’S TRANSACTIONS

Number 7 will run between September 1st and 15th. Subscribers are requested to complete their arrangements before the earlier date.

Books will close at noon on August 31st and will not be reopened before noon September 16th.

Gentlemen of integrity who wish to join the limited list of patrons should apply:

The Secretary, Trigger’s Transactions, Incorporated At the Sign of the Green Ribbon, 704 Lower Regent St., W.1.

He read the few words which occupied so large a space, folded up the paper, replaced it in his pocket and resumed his walk.

“Gentlemen of integrity” was the keynote of Mr. Trigger’s business. It was much easier to join an exclusive West End club than to enrol your name in Mr. Trigger’s card indexes.

He came to Piccadilly Circus and crossed over, glancing at the big clock in a jeweller’s window. Mr. Luke prided himself upon his perfect timing: he had a margin of five minutes.

There is a restaurant in Wardour Street which enjoys a very good supper trade, but attracts few patrons at the lunch hour, since lunchers prefer the noise and bustle of a busy dining-room rather than the discreet seclusion of a private room. There are no less than three entrances to his small establishment and Mr. Luke knew them all. He wasn’t quite certain of the room, however, but a waiter, who thought he was a fourth and expected member of the luncheon party, showed him the door of the apartment.

He went in without knocking, and three men, who were sitting over the little luncheon table, looked up simultaneously. One was a red-faced giant of a man, with broad shoulders and a mop of grey hair. The second was also a big man, sallow-faced and as gloomy as his sober suit. The third was fat and small, with the tiniest black eyes that ever looked from so expansive a face.

“Good morning and God bless this congregation,” said the visitor, closing the door softly behind him and dropping into the vacant chair.

“Rustem can’t come: his boat’s held up by fog in the channel. Why he doesn’t come overland is a mystery to me. If I had his money –”

“Listen, Luke, who the hell asked you to come in?” exploded the big, red-faced man.

“Nobody, Doctor,” said Mr. Luke.

He was lean and brown, a lithe and lanky figure of a man with smiling eyes and an air of boredom.

“Nobody asked me to come in. Hello, Trigger,” he addressed the fat little man. “How go the Transactions. That’s a posh office of yours. I nearly went in to get a folder. I thought you’d like to hear that I’d got back from the Golden South. Cheerio, Goodie! How are you? Goin’ to Doncaster or a funeral? “

The sallow-faced Mr. Goodie said nothing but looked pleadingly from one to the other of his companions.

“This room is private,” roared Dr. Blanter, his face purple with rage. “We don’t want any damned policemen here. Get out! “

Mr. Luke looked round the table. “Enough sin here to stock hell for years,” he agreed pleasantly. “What’s the conference about? Fixin’ up the Doncaster programme? What’s the swindle, Trigger! I like your new place in Regent Street–green ribbon appliqued on the window. True lovers’ knot–that’s an idea.”

Dr. Blanter, who by his attitude and speech proclaimed himself the dominant member of the party, succeeded in controlling a temper which was not always susceptible to control.

“Now, see here, Sergeant–”

“Inspector,” murmured the other. “Promoted for exceptional merit and devotion to duty.”

“I’m sorry, Inspector.” Dr. Blanter swallowed something. “I don’t want to make any trouble for you or for myself. You’ve no right whatever to force yourself upon me or any of these gentlemen. I don’t want to know you–policemen are all very well in their place–”

“They have no place, no home, nobody loves ‘em,” said Mr. Luke sadly.

“Been on vacation, Mr. Luke?” The stout Trigger sought to infuse a little geniality into the discussion.

“Yes, South America. Nice country–you ought to go there, Doctor.”

“I daresay,” Doctor Blanter forced a smile, “but I’m a busy man, old boy. I’m trying to get a living out of racing and so are these gentlemen–”

“I could get a living out of racing, too.”

Mr. Luke had a maddening trick of breaking into the conversation and spoiling the most carefully prepared speeches. “I could have had a thousand a year from you for not being too observant.”

“Have you ever found us–me out in any dirt?” demanded the doctor, his voice rising. “Have you ever known me to put a foot wrong? Look here, Luke, I’m getting a little bit sick of you and your interference. To-morrow I’m seeing the Chief Commissioner and there’s going to be trouble! “

“Trouble? What have you been doing? Just mention my name to the Commissioner and all will be well.”

Dr. Blanter leaned back in his chair.

“Well, what is it? ” he asked, resigned.

Luke shook his head. “Nothing, just being a bogey man to scare naughty boys into being good boys. Thought you’d like to know I was around–active and intelligent. What’s going to win the Leger, Mr. Trigger?”

The stout little man forced a smile. There were beads of perspiration on his forehead which he did not attempt to remove. Possibly he did not wish to advertise his perturbation, though such an advertisement was unnecessary.

“Burnt Almond looks like the pea,” he said conversationally.” They’re pretty sweet on his chance at Beckhampton, and they know I shan’t have a bet on the race.”

“Wise man.” Luke nodded approvingly. “Betting is a curse. It has ruined more homes than the talkies.”

He got up laboriously from his chair.

“What is Transaction No. 7? One of Goodie’s?”

The sallow-faced man shook his head. “No, Mr. Luke; at least, I hope not. Mr. Trigger is too good a friend of mine to use–um–information I give to him for his–um–business.”

“He’s a ‘gentleman of integrity’ too, is he?” Luke smiled, moved at snail’s pace to the entrance, and stood there for a moment, the edge of the door in his hand.

“I’m around–that’s all,” he said and went out, closing the door noiselessly.

None of the three spoke until–

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