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- The Clue of the Twisted Candle - 41/41 -

"naturally we are greatly interested in all that happens on the Adriatic littoral. It seems to me that Kara has come to a very merciful end and I am not inclined to regard a prosecution of Mr. Lexman with equanimity."

"Well, I guess the political aspect of the case doesn't affect us very much," said O'Grady, "but as one who was once mighty near asphyxiated by stirring up the wrong kind of mud, I should leave the matter where it is."

The Chief Commissioner was deep in thought and Belinda Mary eyed him anxiously.

"Tell them to come in," he said bluntly.

The girl went and brought John Lexman and his wife, and they came in hand in hand supremely and serenely happy whatever the future might hold for them. The Chief Commissioner cleared his throat.

"Lexman, we're all very much obliged to you," he said, "for a very interesting story and a most interesting theory. What you have done, as I understand the matter," he proceeded deliberately, "is to put yourself in the murderer's place and advance a theory not only as to how the murder was actually committed, but as to the motive for that murder. It is, I might say, a remarkable piece of reconstruction," he spoke very deliberately, and swept away John Lexman's astonished interruption with a stern hand, "please wait and do not speak until I am out of hearing," he growled. "You have got into the skin of the actual assassin and have spoken most convincingly. One might almost think that the man who killed Remington Kara was actually standing before us. For that piece of impersonation we are all very grateful;" he glared round over his spectacles at his understanding colleagues and they murmured approvingly.

He looked at his watch.

"Now I am afraid I must be off," he crossed the room and put out his hand to John Lexman. "I wish you good luck," he said, and took both Grace Lexman's hands in his. "One of these days," he said paternally, "I shall come down to Beston Tracey and your husband shall tell me another and a happier story."

He paused at the door as he was going out and looking back caught the grateful eyes of Lexman.

"By the way, Mr. Lexman," he said hesitatingly, "I don't think I should ever write a story called 'The Clue of the Twisted Candle,' if I were you."

John Lexman shook his head.

"It will never be written," he said, " - by me."

The Clue of the Twisted Candle - 41/41

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