Schulers Books Online
books - games - software - wallpaper - everything
- The Dream Doctor - 30/59 -
suburban surface, led a sufficiently rapid life. Mrs. Willoughby, in addition to being a leader, was a very striking woman and a beautiful dresser, who set a fast pace for the semi-millionaires who composed the group.
Here indeed was a puzzle at the very start of the case. It was in all probability Mrs. Willoughby who had looked at the jewels in both cases. On the other hand, it was Annie Grayson who had been seen on at least one occasion, yet apparently had had nothing whatever to do with the missing jewels, at least not so far as any tangible evidence yet showed. More than that, Donnelly vouchsafed the information that he had gone further and that some of the men work-ing under him had endeavoured to follow the movements of the two women and had found what looked to be a curious crossing of trails. Both of them, he had found, had been in the habit of visiting, while shopping, the same little tea-room on Thirty-third Street, though no one had ever seen them together there, and the coincidence might be accounted for by the fact that many Glenclair ladies on shopping expeditions made this tea-room a sort of rendezvous. By inquiring about among his own fraternity Donnelly had found that other stores also had reported losses recently, mostly of diamonds and pearls, both black and white.
Kennedy had been pondering the situation for some time, scarcely uttering a word. Both detectives were now growing restless, waiting for him to say something. As for me, I knew that if anything were said or done it would be in Kennedy's own good time. I had learned to have implicit faith and confidence in him, for I doubt if Craig could have been placed in a situation where he would not know just what to do after he had looked over the ground.
At length he leisurely reached across the table for the suburban telephone book, turned the pages quickly, snapped it shut, and observed wearily and, as it seemed, irrelevantly: "The same old trouble again about accurate testimony. I doubt whether if I should suddenly pull a revolver and shoot Jameson, either of you two men could give a strictly accurate account of just what happened."
No one said anything, as he raised his hands from his habitual thinking posture with finger-tips together, placed both hands back of his head, and leaned back facing us squarely.
"The first step," he said slowly, "must be to arrange a 'plant.' As nearly as I can make out the shoplifters or shoplifter, whichever it may prove to be, have no hint that any one is watching them yet. Now, Donnelly, it is still very early. I want you to telephone around to the newspapers, and either in the Trimble advertisements or in the news columns have it announced that your jewellery department has on exhibition a new and special importation of South African stones among which is one--let me see, let's call it the 'Kimberley Queen.' That will sound attractive. In the meantime find the largest and most perfect paste jewel in town and have it fixed up for exhibition and labelled the Kimberley Queen. Give it a history if you can; anything to attract attention. I'll see you in the morning. Good- night, and thank you for coming to me with this case."
It was quite late, but Kennedy, now thoroughly interested in following the chase, had no intention of waiting until the morrow before taking action on his own account. In fact he was just beginning the evening's work by sending Donnelly off to arrange the "plant." No less interested in the case than himself, I needed no second invitation, and in a few minutes we were headed from our rooms toward the laboratory, where Kennedy had apparatus to meet almost any conceivable emergency. From a shelf in the corner he took down an oblong oak box, perhaps eighteen inches in length, in the front of which was set a circular metal disk with a sort of pointer and dial. He lifted the lid of the box, and inside I could see two shiny caps which in turn he lifted, disclosing what looked like two good-sized spools of wire. Apparently satisfied with his scrutiny, he snapped the lid shut and wrapped up the box carefully, consigning it to my care, while he hunted some copper wire.
From long experience with Kennedy I knew better than to ask what he had in mind to do. It was enough to know that he had already, in those few minutes of apparent dreaming while Donnelly and Bentley were fidgeting for words, mapped out a complete course of action.
We bent our steps toward the under-river tube, which carried a few late travellers to the railroad terminal where Kennedy purchased tickets for Glenclair. I noticed that the conductor on the suburban train eyed us rather suspiciously as though the mere fact that we were not travelling with commutation tickets at such an hour constituted an offence. Although I did not yet know the precise nature of our adventure, I remembered with some misgiving that I had read of police dogs in Glenclair which were uncomfortably familiar with strangers carrying bundles. However, we got along all right, perhaps because the dogs knew that in a town of commuters every one was privileged to carry a bundle.
"If the Willoughbys had been on a party line," remarked Craig as we strode up Woodridge Avenue trying to look as if it was familiar to us, "we might have arranged this thing by stratagem. As it is, we shall have to resort to another method, and perhaps better, since we shall have to take no one into our confidence."
The avenue was indeed a fine thoroughfare, lined on both sides with large and often imposing mansions, surrounded with trees and shrubbery, which served somewhat to screen them. We came at last to the Willoughby house, a sizable colonial residence set up on a hill. It was dark, except for one dim light in an upper story. In the shadow of the hedge, Craig silently vaulted the low fence and slipped up the terraces, as noiselessly as an Indian, scarcely crackling a twig or rustling a dead leaf on the ground. He paused as he came to a wing on the right of the house.
I had followed more laboriously, carrying the box and noting that he was not looking so much at the house as at the sky, apparently. It did not take long to fathom what he was after. It was not a star-gazing expedition; he was following the telephone wire that ran in from the street to the corner of the house near which we were now standing. A moment's inspection showed him where the wire was led down, on the outside and entered through the top of a window.
Quickly he worked, though in a rather awkward position, attaching two wires carefully to the telephone wires. Next he relieved me of the oak box with its strange contents, and placed it under the porch where it was completely hidden by some lattice-work which extended down to the ground on this side. Then he attached the new wires from the telephone to it and hid the connecting wires as best he could behind the swaying runners of a vine. At last, when he had finished to his satisfaction, we retraced our steps, to find that our only chance of getting out of town that night was by trolley that landed us, after many changes, in our apartment in New York, thoroughly convinced of the disadvantages of suburban detective work.
Nevertheless the next day found us out sleuthing about Glenclair, this time in a more pleasant role. We had a newspaper friend or two out there who was willing to introduce us about without asking too many questions. Kennedy, of course, insisted on beginning at the very headquarters of gossip, the country club.
We spent several enjoyable hours about the town, picking up a good deal of miscellaneous and useless information. It was, however, as Kennedy had suspected. Annie Grayson had taken up her residence in an artistic little house on one of the best side streets of the town. But her name was no longer Annie Grayson. She was Mrs. Maud Emery, a dashing young widow of some means, living in a very quiet but altogether comfortable style, cutting quite a figure in the exclusive suburban community, a leading member of the church circle, an officer of the Civic League, prominent in the women's club, and popular with those to whom the established order of things was so perfect that the only new bulwark of their rights was an anti-suffrage society. In fact, every one was talking of the valuable social acquisition in the person of this attractive young woman who entertained lavishly and was bracing up an otherwise drooping season. No one knew much about her, but then, that was not necessary. It was enough to accept one whose opinions and actions were not subversive of the social order in any way.
The Willoughbys, of course, were among the most prominent people in the town. William Willoughby was head of the firm of Willoughby & Walton, and it was the general opinion that Mrs. Willoughby was the head of the firm of Ella & William Willoughby. The Willoughbys were good mixers, and were spoken well of even by the set who occupied the social stratum just one degree below that in which they themselves moved. In fact, when Mrs. Willoughby had been severely injured in an automobile accident during the previous summer Glenclair had shown real solicitude for her and had forgotten a good deal of its artificiality in genuine human interest.
Kennedy was impatiently waiting for an opportunity to recover the box which he had left under the Willoughby porch. Several times we walked past the house, but it was not until nightfall that he considered it wise to make the recovery. Again we slipped silently up the terraces. It was the work of only a moment to cut the wires, and in triumph Craig bore off the precious oak box and its batteries.
He said little on our journey back to the city, but the moment we had reached the laboratory he set the box on a table with an attachment which seemed to be controlled by pedals operated by the feet.
"Walter," he explained, holding what looked like an earpiece in his hand, "this is another of those new little instruments that scientific detectives to-day are using. A poet might write a clever little verse en-titled, 'The telegraphone'll get you, if you don't watch out.' This is the latest improved telegraphone, a little electromagnetic wizard in a box, which we detectives are now using to take down and 'can' telephone conversations and other records. It is based on an entirely new principle in every way different from the phonograph. It was discovered by an inventor several years ago, while experimenting in telephony.
"There are no disks or cylinders of wax, as in the phonograph, but two large spools of extremely fine steel wire. The record is not made mechanically on a cylinder, but electromagnetically on this wire. Small portions of magnetism are imparted to fractions of the steel wire as it passes between two carbon electric magnets. Each impression represents a sound wave. There is no apparent difference in the wire, no surface abrasion or other change, yet each particle of steel undergoes an electromagnetic transformation
Previous Page Next Page
1 10 20 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 40 50 59
Schulers Books Online
books - games - software - wallpaper - everything