The Man at the Carlton - Edgar Wallace - ebook

The Man at the Carlton ebook

Edgar Wallace

0,0

Opis

Lew Daney, chief suspect in a jewel robbery and an ensuing murder, vanishes leaving no trace. Once he saved Mary Grier from a knife attack by a madman. Mary Grier now works at Clench House in Scotland as secretary to the miserly Mr. Arkwright, and Mr. Arkwright’s nephew and heir is „"Tiger"” Tim Jordan, an ex-Colonial police officer now holidaying in England and seeking work with Scotland Yard. Jordan doesn’t get much of a holiday but he does get the job, after proving his mettle in pursuit of a murderous criminal Lew Daney. „"The Man at the Carlton"” is a fast-paced, with good twists and turns, an unusual criminal story with a lot of scenery-changes and adventures.

Ebooka przeczytasz w aplikacjach Legimi na:

Androidzie
iOS
czytnikach certyfikowanych
przez Legimi
czytnikach Kindle™
(dla wybranych pakietów)
Windows
10
Windows
Phone

Liczba stron: 320

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

Androidzie
iOS



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 XXIII

CHAPTER XXIV

CHAPTER XXV

CHAPTER XXVI

CHAPTER XXVII

CHAPTER I

I

There was a man named Harry Stone (also called Harry the Valet), who was a detective until they found him out, which was about three months after he had entered the C.I.D. of a police force in Rhodesia. He might have been prosecuted, but at that time this particular police force was not at all anxious to expose the dishonesty of its officers, so that when he got away by the night mail to Cape Town they took no trouble to call him back.

Harry went south with about three hundred ill-gotten pounds in the hope of meeting Lew Daney, who was a good trooper and a great, if unfortunate, artist. But Lew was gone, had been gone a very long time, was indeed at that moment organising and carrying into effect a series of raids more picturesque than his essay against the National Bank of Johannesburg, and considerably better organised.

Harry broke back again to Rhodesia by the Beira route, and through the Massi-Kassi to Salisbury, which was a misfortune for him, for Captain Timothy Jordan, Chief of the Rhodesian C.I.D., did him the honour of making a personal call on him at his hotel.

“You are registered as Harrison, but your name is Stone. By the way, how is your friend Lew Daney?”

“I don’t know who you mean,” said Harry the Valet.

“Tiger” Tim Jordan smiled.

“Be that as it may,” he said, “the train leaves for Portuguese territory in two hours. Take it!”

The mystified Harry did not argue. He was mystified because he had never come across Tiger Tim Jordan, though he had heard of that dynamic young man and knew most of the legends concerning him by heart.

Tiger, being rather a wealthy man, could afford to be conscientious. He made a very careful study of the photographs of undesirables that came his way, and made a point of meeting all the mail trains in, and superintending the departure of all the mail trains out, most of which contained somebody he had no desire should further pollute the fair air of Southern Rhodesia, and Harry’s photograph had gone to Salisbury in the ordinary way of business.

At Beira Mr. Stone boarded an East Coast boat that plied between Durban and Greenock. He had tried most things once or twice, but there had been several happenings in London that made it desirable that the ex- detective should seek a port of entry not under the direct scrutiny of Scotland Yard, which though it was extraordinarily busy at that time, could spare a few officers to watch incoming liners and give a hearty welcome to returned wanderers who would rather have been spared the reception.

A few days after Harry had hired a respectable lodging in Glasgow, Chief Constable Cowley of Scotland Yard called a conference of his chief inspectors.

“This is the second big hold-up in three weeks,” he said. “It is the same crowd working, and it has only failed to get away with big money by sheer bad luck.”

He was referring to the scientific busting of the Northern Counties Bank. A night watchman and a patrolling police-cyclist had been shot down in cold blood, and a vault had been opened. The robbers had got little or nothing for their pains. A big block of currency had been moved the day before, “on information received.”

“One of the crowd squealed,” said Cowley. “It couldn’t have been for the reward, for he never claimed it–I suppose it was a case of needle. With the information the police had, it was criminal that they let the gang slip.”

The Northern Counties Bank crime was followed immediately by the Mersey Trust affair, which involved two hundred thousand pounds’ worth of bar gold.

“The most beautifully organised job I’ve ever known,” said Cowley, with the enthusiasm of a connoisseur. “Everything perfectly arranged. If the purser of the Ilenic hadn’t been putty-headed and delayed the delivery of the gold for an hour because he’d mislaid the documents, they’d have had it!”

“I gather, sir,” said Chief Inspector Pherson, who was ponderous even when he was not sarcastic, “that you have read the accounts in the daily Press?”

Cowley rubbed the back of his head irritably.

“Naturally,” he said.

Scotland Yard was annoyed, for none of the local police forces had so much as consulted headquarters.

“Why Scotland Yard?” asked the Chief Constable of Blankshire. “Haven’t I a C.I.D. of my own? What nonsense!”

He was a military chief constable, a C.B.E. and a D.S.O.

Cowley said that he had more esprit de corps than prenez garde, which was probably a prejudiced view.

Chief Constables of counties are not compelled to call in Scotland Yard. Scotland Yard must not interfere with local police administrations. Their advice was not sought either in the case of the Northern Counties or the Mersey business. As the Chief Constable of Northshire said:

“If we can’t do this job ourselves we ought to be boiled. We’ve got our own C.I.D., and I’m all for trusting the Man on the Spot. I remember some years ago when I was commanding a brigade in Poona…”

The five men who sat around the big table at Scotland Yard, examining local maps and such data as had been unofficially collected, had never been to Poona, and none was likely to command any brigade, unless it were a fire brigade.

“Number three is coming,” said Cowley. “This in my opinion is a series; there are signs of long preparation and the most careful planning. Who is the artist?”

The “artist” was Lew Daney, and nobody thought of him because at the moment he was unknown to the police force, though there was an ex- detective who knew him rather well.

On the day that Harry Stone decided that, Scotland held nothing for him but incredulous business men–he was working a gold mine swindle–the third coup was thrown, and succeeded.

The Lower Clyde Bank had its palatial premises in the City of Glasgow. Between the hours of 9 p.m. on a foggy Thursday night and 4 a.m. on an even foggier Friday morning. No. 2 vault was opened and cleared. It contained about a hundred and twelve thousand pounds in English currency, but, what was more important, the vault held the sum of ten million reichsmarks deposited by the Chemical Bank of Dusseldorf, being their contribution under their working arrangement with the North British Chemical Trust. It was made up of ten thousand notes of a thousand marks, and was contained in two steel boxes, each containing five thousand notes in packages of a thousand.

There were two night watchmen, McCall and Erskine. They had disappeared. It was their failure to repeat the hourly signal to police headquarters which had brought the police to the bank.

Not until three hours later were they found in a lift which had been stopped between two floors, the mechanism of the elevator having been put out of action by the smashing of the selector bar. They were both dead –shot at close quarters.

Only one man could have given evidence that would have been of the slightest value to the police. Harry Stone had had the good luck that evening to find a well-to-do-Scotsman, in whom from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. the fires of romance burned brightly. He had listened breathlessly to the story Harry told of the hidden gold mine that lay in the folds of the Magalies Berge (from which nothing more golden than tobacco had ever come), and he had taken Harry home to his handsome flat, and Harry had drawn maps–for Harry was a man of education, spoke three languages and could draw an unlimited number of maps if it paid him to do so. His plans embellished his story so convincingly that he almost had the cheque in his pocket. Being an artist, he did not rush things, said “good night” to his host at three o’clock in the morning and walked home.

He saw a big car snailing by the sidewalk; it stopped and he passed it by. Then, walking quickly towards him, he saw a man and caught one glimpse of his face out of the corner of his eye, Somebody he knew–who was it? He walked half a dozen paces and then turned. The first man had been joined by another, carrying a bag. A third came running across the street. They all seemed to disappear into the car together as the machine turned and sped swiftly away.

Lew Daney! He had had a moustache when Harry knew him. He whistled. Lew had done a bust! It was not healthy to be around the scene of any of Lew’s exploits. He had a gun and was not averse to using it. Harry had no desire to be pulled in by the police and questioned about one of Lew’s more lurid adventures.

He was relieved to reach his home. He read all about the crime in the early editions of the evening newspapers next day, and was staggered by the haul. He was as staggered by the attitude of his prospective financier, for the well-to-do Scotsman, who had been so sympathetic and so enthusiastic about that secret mine in the folds of the Magalies Berge, was strangely sane and sober and sceptical in the cold forenoon, and had no disposition to sign a cheque or to do anything save have Harry thrown out of his office.

Mr. Stone went south. There was a way of making money out of his knowledge. He did not dream of going to the bank, or to the police, or to any unprofitable source of reward. Lew Daney’s haul had been a big one; he would cut in on it. But first he must find Lew Daney, and that would be a business demanding the greatest patience.

II

Harry the Valet had been established in London for a fortnight when Mary Grier came from Scotland with a third-class return ticket, a pound for expenses, a small notebook in which to keep a very careful account of how the pound was spent, and three cheques, for different amounts, to settle a claim which had been made on Mr. Awkwright by a firm of outside brokers.

“You can tell him you’re my niece and that I’m not right in my head,” Mr. Awkwright had said with the greatest calmness.

“He’s a swindler, anyway–all these outside brokers are –and if he thinks that there’s no chance of getting the lot he’ll take what he can get in settlement. Don’t produce the cheque until he agrees to settle, and beat him down to the lowest one if you can.”

Mary had settled these accounts before. It was an ugly and unpleasant business, but jobs are not easy to get, and, generally speaking, Mr. Awkwright was a good employer.

Three hours after she arrived in London she interviewed the broker. He held her hand in quite a fatherly way and tried to kiss her. She came from the office a little flushed, rather breathless, but with a receipt for a hundred pounds in full settlement of a debt of four hundred, and she did not even have to lie; Mr. Awkwright’s pathetic letter supplied the necessary invention.

Mary thought neither less nor more of men because of an experience which was not unusual. She had that sort of pale prettiness which seems very lovely to some men. She was slim and neat of figure, could walk and stand well, had a flair for dressing inexpensively and gave a four-guinea costume the illusion of Savile Row tailoring.

She was a little annoyed, but she did not feel “soiled.” Men had tried to kiss her before, men of all ages and conditions. Mr. Awkwright’s occasional guests, for example; they used to come upon her in the library, close the door with the greatest carelessness, and slip their arms absent- mindedly round her shoulders.

And they were respectable men, including a London solicitor.

Only one had ever treated her with complete respect.

She hated this debt settling that Mr. Awkwright practised in his extreme meanness, but she was growing more and more philosophical.

She went back to the little temperance hotel in Bloomsbury where she had taken her lodging, to get the letter she had brought over from Scotland. In the reading-room she found a copy of a morning newspaper, and studied the shipping list.

The Carnarvon Castle was due that morning, and probably had already arrived. Mr. Awkwright had given her a list of four hotels where his nephew would be likely to stay. They were all very expensive. His nephew, said Mr. Awkwright sourly, invariably chose hotels which he could not afford. By luck she tried the Carlton first, and saved herself several unnecessary twopences.

Captain Timothy Jordan had arrived. Could she speak to him? A little delay, and then:

“Hallo!” said a not-unpleasant voice. “Is that you, Colonel?”

Mary Grier smiled. “No, I am a mere private,” she said. “Is that Captain Timothy Jordan? I am Mr. Awkwright’s secretary.”

“Oh Lord, Uncle Benjamin’s? Where are you speaking from?”

She told him.

“I knew it wasn’t Scotland,” said the voice. “Is he in town?”

Mary explained that Mr. Awkwright was at that moment at Clench House.

“I have a letter for you. Captain Jordan. Mr. Awkwright told me to see you and find out when we could expect you in Scotland.”

“In a few days,” was the reply. “And when may I expect you at the Carlton? You are Miss Grier, aren’t you? You are ‘rather attractive and a great expense.’ I am quoting my sainted uncle, who has written about you. Come and lunch.”

She hesitated. She was very anxious to see this nephew of her employer. Mr. Awkwright had spoken very freely on, the subject of ungrateful relations.

“I am not sure that I have the time,” she said. “It might be very embarrassing.”

“If you come down don’t forget to ask for Timothy Jordan; there are two of the great Jordan clan in this hotel–ask for Timothy and refuse all substitutes!”

“Timothy Jordan,” she repeated, and heard a little sound behind her.

She turned and saw a man standing in the corridor, his back to her, evidently waiting to take his turn at the one telephone which the hotel possessed. She could not see his face. A derby hat was at the back of his head; the collar of his overcoat was turned up. When later she passed him, he manoeuvred so that he still presented a back view to her.

Harry Stone was more surprised than alarmed to hear his enemy was in London. After all, Tim Jordan might be a great man in Southern Rhodesia, but he was just a man on the side-walk in the Haymarket. Still, there might be certain unpleasantnesses if he were recognised, particularly as Harry had that morning located the one man in the world he wanted to meet, and that man’s name was Money; pounds to spend, dollars and francs to gamble with at Monte Carlo, marks to keep him in luxury in the Tyrol.

He waited till Mary disappeared, then he went to the ‘phone and gave a number. It was some time before the man he asked for came to the instrument.

“It’s Harry Stone speaking,” he said in a low voice. “Could I see you some place tonight?”

There was a long silence. The man at the other end did not ask unnecessary questions. “Sure,” he said. “How are you, Harry?”

“Fine,” said Harry glibly. “I cleaned up a bit of money before I left the Cape. I am leaving for Australia next week and I’d like to have a chat with you before I go.”

“Where are you speaking from?”–after another long pause.

Harry gave the name of the hotel and the telephone number, Lew Daney considered this.

“Pack all your things and clear out of there tonight. I will put you up. You can send your things to a railway cloak-room. You know London?”

“Pretty well,” said Harry.

“Meet me at ten tonight at Hampstead. Go past the Spaniards about two hundred yards towards Highgate. I will be waiting for you on the sidewalk.”

Harry Stone hung up the receiver, very satisfied with the beginning of his adventure. He had considered a long time before he adopted this method of approach. Lew was not the kind of man to come upon suddenly; he was a killer, and though he was not named in the flaming reward bill as the murderer of the two night-watchmen, there was a reward of five thousand pounds on his head.

Harry packed his suitcase that evening, carefully oiled and loaded a snub-nosed revolver, and went out. As he passed through the hall, he saw the pretty girl he had seen that morning. She was evidently leaving the hotel, for her box was packed and waiting. He was interested in her: she was a friend of Tiger Tim’s. He wondered how near a friend. He would like to get better acquainted with her–it would be a great joke to get back on Tiger through his girl.

He deposited his suitcase at King’s Cross Station and went by Tube to Hampstead. He would have to be careful. If Lew knew he had been recognised outside the bank… but this was London, not South Africa.

He reached the rendezvous and found himself alone. It was a miserable night; a drizzle of sleet was falling and the asphalt pavement was slippery. He glanced at the illuminated dial of his watch; it was five minutes to ten. Would Lew double-cross him? That was not Lew’s way.

Two cars passed, moving swiftly, and then a third came crawling along by the side of the pavement. Harry Stone took the revolver from his pocket and slipped it up his sleeve. The car stopped opposite to where he stood–an American saloon.

“Is that you, Harry?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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