The Tenth Clew
by Dashiell Hammett
“Mr. Leopold Gantvoort is not at home,” the servant who opened the
door said, “but his son, Mr. Charles, is —if you wish to see him.”
“No, I had an appointment with Mr. Leopold Gantvoort for nine or a
little after. It's just nine now. No doubt he'll be back soon. I'll
“Very well, sir.”
He stepped aside for me to enter the house, took my overcoat and hat,
guided me to a room on the second floor—Gantvoort's library—and left
me. I picked up a magazine from the stack on the table, pulled an ash
tray over beside me, and made myself comfortable.
An hour passed. I stopped reading and began to grow impatient.
Another hour passed—and I was fidgeting.
A clock somewhere below had begun to strike eleven when a young man
of twenty-five or—six, tall and slender, with remarkably white skin
and very dark hair and eyes, came into the room.
“My father hasn't returned yet,” he said. “It's too bad that you
should have been kept waiting all this time. Isn't there anything I
could do for you? I am Charles Gantvoort.”
“No, thank you.” I got up from my chair, accepting the courteous
dismissal. “I'll get in touch with him tomorrow.”
“I'm sorry,” he murmured, and we moved toward the door together.
As we reached the hall an extension telephone in one corner of the
room we were leaving buzzed softly, and I halted in the doorway while
Charles Gantvoort went over to answer it.
His back was toward me as he spoke into the instrument.
“Yes. Yes, Yes!”—sharply—“What? Yes”—very weakly—“Yes.”
He turned slowly around and faced me with a face that was gray and
tortured, with wide shocked eyes and gaping mouth—the telephone still
in his hand.
“Father,” he gasped, “is dead—killed!”
“I don't know. That was the police. They want me to come down at
He straightened his shoulders with an effort, pulling himself
together, put down the telephone, and his face fell into less strained
“You will pardon my—”
“Mr. Gantvoort,” I interrupted his apology, “I am connected with the
Continental Detective Agency. Your father called up this afternoon and
asked that a detective be sent to see him tonight. He said his life had
been threatened. He hadn't definitely engaged us, however, so unless
“Certainly! You are employed! If the police haven't already caught
the murderer I want you to do everything possible to catch him.”
“All right! Let's get down to headquarters.”
Neither of us spoke during the ride to the Hall of Justice. Gantvoort
bent over the wheel of his car, sending it through the streets at a
terrific speed. There were several questions that needed answers, but
all his attention was required for his driving if he was to maintain
the pace at which he was driving without piling us into something. So I
didn't disturb him, but hung on and kept quiet.
Half a dozen police detectives were waiting for us when we reached
the detective bureau. O'Gar—a bullet-headed detective sergeant who
dresses like the village constable in a movie, wide-brimmed black hat
and all, but who isn't to be put out of the reckoning on that
account—was in charge of the investigation. He and I had worked on two
or three jobs together before, and hit it off excellently.
He led us into one of the small offices below the assembly room.
Spread out on the flat top of a desk there were a dozen or more
“I want you to look these things over carefully,” the
detective-sergeant told Gantvoort, “and pick out the ones that belonged
to your father.”
“But where is he?”
“Do this first,” O'Gar insisted, “and then you can see him.”
I looked at the things on the table while Charles Gantvoort made his
selections. An empty jewel case; a memorandum book; three letters in
slit envelopes that were addressed to the dead man; some other papers;
a bunch or keys; a fountain pen; two white linen handkerchiefs; two
pistol cartridges; a gold watch, with a gold knife and a gold pencil
attached to it by a gold-and-platinum chain; two black leather wallets,
one of them very new and the other worn; some money, both paper and
silver; and a small portable typewriter, bent and twisted, and matted
with hair and blood. Some of the other things were smeared with blood
and some were clean.
Gantvoort picked out the watch and its attachments, the keys, the
fountain pen, the memoranda book, the handkerchiefs, the letters and
other papers, and the older wallet.
“These were Father's,” he told us. “I've never seen any of the others
before. I don't know, of course, how much money he had with him
tonight, so I can't say how much of this is his.”
“You're sure none of the rest of this stuff was his?” O'Gar asked.
“I don't think so, but I'm not sure. Whipple could tell you.” He
turned to me. “He's the man who let you in tonight. He looked after
Father, and he'd know positively whether any of these other things
belonged to him or not.”
One of the police detectives went to the telephone to tell Whipple to
come down immediately.
I resumed the questioning.
“Is anything that your father usually carried with him missing?
Anything of value?”
“Not that I know of. All the things that he might have been expected
to have with him seem to be here.”
“At what time tonight did he leave the house?”
“Before seven-thirty. Possibly as early as seven.”
“Know where he was going?”
“He didn't tell me, but I supposed he was going f* call on Miss
The faces of the police detectives brightened, and their eyes grew
sharp. I suppose mine did, too. There are many, many murders with never
a woman in them anywhere; but seldom a very conspicuous killing.
“Who's this Miss Dexter?” O'Gar took up the inquiry.
“She's, well—” Charles Gantvoort hesitated. “Well, Father was on
very friendly terms with her and her brother. He usually called on
them—on her several evenings a week. In fact, I suspected that he
intended marrying her.”
“Who and what is she?”
“Father became acquainted with them six or seven months ago. I've met
them several times, but don't know them very well. Miss Dexter—Creda
is her given name —is about twenty-three years old, I should judge,
and her brother Madden is four or five years older. He is in New York
now, or on his way there, to transact some business for Father.”
“Did your father tell you he was going to marry her?” O'Gar hammered
away at the woman angle.
“No; but it was pretty obvious that he was very much
—ah—infatuated. We had some words over it a few days ago—last week.
Not a quarrel, you understand, but words. From the way he talked I
feared that he meant to marry her.”
“What do you mean 'feared'?” O'Gar snapped at that word.
Charles Gantvoort's pale face flushed a little, and he cleared his
“I don't want to put the Dexters in a bad light to you. I don't
think—I'm sure they had nothing to do with father's—with this. But I
didn't care especially for them —didn't like them. I thought they
were—well—fortune hunters, perhaps. Father wasn't fabulously wealthy,
but he had considerable means. And, while he wasn't feeble, still he
was past fifty-seven, old enough for me to feel that Creda Dexter was
more interested in his money than in him.”
“How about your father's will?”
“The last one of which I have any knowledge—drawn up two or three
years ago—left everything to my wife and me, jointly. Father's
attorney, Mr. Murray Abernathy, could tell you if there was a later
will, but I hardly think there was.”
“Your father had retired from business, hadn't he?”
“Yes; he turned his import and export business over to me about a
year ago. He had quite a few investments scattered around, but he
wasn't actively engaged in the management of any concern.”
O'Gar tilted his village constable hat back and scratched his bullet
head reflectively for a moment. Then he looked at me.
“Anything else you want to ask?”
“Yes. Mr. Gantvoort, do you know or did you ever hear your father or
anyone else speak of an Emil Bonfils?”
“Did your father ever tell you that he had received a threatening
letter? Or that he had been shot at on the street?”
“Was your father in Paris in 1902?”
“Very likely. He used to go abroad every year up until the time of
his retirement from business.”
O'Gar and I took Gantvoort around to the morgue to see his father,
then. The dead man wasn't pleasant to look at, even to O'Gar and me,
who hadn't known him except by sight. I remembered bun as a small wiry
man, always smartly tailored, and with a brisk springiness that was far
younger than his years.
He lay now with the top of his head beaten into a red and pulpy mess.
We left Gantvoort at the morgue and set out afoot for the Hall of
“What's this deep stuff you're pulling about Emil Bonfils and Paris
in 1902?” the detective-sergeant asked as soon as we were out in the
“This: the dead man phoned the Agency this afternoon and said he had
received a threatening letter from an Emil Bonfils with whom he had had
trouble in Paris in 1902. He also said that Bonfils had shot at him the
previous evening, in the street. He wanted somebody to come around and
see him about it tonight. And he said that under no circumstances were
the police to be let in on it—that he'd rather have Bonfils get him
than have the trouble made public. That's all he would say over the
phone; and that's how I happened to be on hand when Charles Gantvoort
was notified of his father's death.”
O'Gar stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and whistled softly.
“That's something!” he exclaimed. “Wait till we get back to
headquarters—I'll show you something.”
Whipple was waiting in the assembly room when we arrived at
headquarters. His face at first glance was as smooth and mask-like as
when he had admitted me to the house on Russian Hill earlier in the
evening. But beneath his perfect servant's manner he was twitching and
We took him into the little office where we had questioned Charles
Whipple verified all that the dead man's son had told us. He was
positive that neither the typewriter, the jewel case, the two
cartridges, or the newer wallet had belonged to Gantvoort.
We couldn't get him to put his opinion of the Dexters in words, but
that he disapproved of them was easily seen. Miss Dexter, he said, had
called up on the telephone three times this night at about eight
o'clock, at nine, and at nine-thirty. She had asked for Mr. Leopold
Gantvoort each time, but she had left no message. Whipple was of the
opinion that she was expecting Gantvoort, and he had not arrived.
He knew nothing, he said, of Emil Bonfils or of any threatening
letters. Gantvoort had been out the previous night from eight until
midnight. Whipple had not seen him closely enough when he came home to
say whether he seemed excited or not. Gantvoort usually carried about a
hundred dollars in his pockets.
“Is there anything that you know of that Gantvoort had on his person
tonight which isn't among these things on the desk?” O'Gar asked.
“No, sir. Everything seems to be here—watch and chain, money,
memorandum book, wallet, keys, handkerchiefs, fountain pen—everything
that I know of.”
“Did Charles Gantvoort go out tonight?”
“No, sir. He and Mrs. Gantvoort were at home all evening.”
Whipple thought a moment.
“Yes, sir, I'm fairly certain. But I know Mrs. Gantvoort wasn't out.
To tell the truth, I didn't see Mr. Charles from about eight o'clock
until he came downstairs with this gentleman”—pointing to me—“at
eleven. But I'm fairly certain he was home all evening. I think Mrs.
Gantvoort said he was.”
Then O'Gar put another question—one that puzzled me at the time.
“What kind of collar buttons did Mr. Gantvoort wear?”
“You mean Mr. Leopold?”
“Plain gold ones, made all in one piece. They had a London jeweler's
mark on them.”
“Would you know them if you saw them?”
We let Whipple go home then.
“Don't you trunk,” I suggested when O'Gar and I were alone with this
desk-load of evidence that didn't mean anything at all to me yet, “it's
time you were loosening up and telling me what's what?”
“I guess so—listen! A man named Lagerquist, a grocer, was driving
through Golden Gate Park tonight, and passed a machine standing on a
dark road, with its lights out. He thought there was something funny
about the way the man in it was sitting at the wheel, so he told the
first patrolman he met about it.
“The patrolman investigated and found Gantvoort sitting at the
wheel—dead—with his head smashed In and this dingus”—putting
one hand on the bloody typewriter—“on the seat beside him. That was at
a quarter of ten. The doc says Gantvoort was killed—his skull
crushed—with this typewriter.
“The dead man's pockets, we found, had all been turned inside out;
and all this stuff on the desk, except this new wallet, was scattered
about in the car—some of it on the floor and some on the seats. This
money was there too—nearly a hundred dollars of it. Among the papers
He handed me a sheet of white paper upon which the following had been
I want what is mine. 6,000 miles and 21 years are not enough to hide
you from the victim of your treachery. I mean to have what you stole.
“L. F. G. could be Leopold F. Gantvoort,” I said. “And E. B. could be
Emil Bonfils. Twenty-one years is the time from 1902 to 1923, and 6,000
miles is, roughly, the distance between Paris and San Francisco.”
I laid the letter down and picked up the jewel case. It was a black
imitation leather one, lined with white satin, and unmarked in any way.
Then I examined the cartridges. There were two of them, S. W.
45-caliber, and deep crosses had been cut in their soft noses—an old
trick that makes the bullet spread out like a saucer when it hits.
“These in the car, too?”
From a vest pocket O'Gar produced a short tuft of blond hair—hairs
between an inch and two inches in length. They had been cut off, not
pulled out by the roots.
There seemed to be an endless stream of things.
He picked up the new wallet from the desk—the one that both Whipple
and Charles Gantvoort had said did not belong to the dead man—and slid
it over to me.
“That was found in the road, three or four feet from the car.”
It was of a cheap quality, and had neither manufacturer's name nor
owner's initials on it. In it were two ten-dollar bills, three small
newspaper clippings, and a typewritten list of six names and addresses,
headed by Gantvoort's.
The three clippings were apparently from the Personal columns of
three different newspapers—the type wasn't the same—and they read:
GEORGE—Everything is fixed. Don't wait too long.
D. D. D.
R. H. T.—They do not answer.—flo
cappy—Twelve on the dot and look sharp. bingo
The names and addresses on the typewritten list, under Gantvoort's,
Quincy Heathcote, 1223 S. Jason Street, Denver;
B. D. Thornton, 96 Hughes Circle, Dallas;
Luther G. Randall, 615 Columbia Street, Portsmouth;
J. H. Boyd Willis, 5444 Harvard Street, Boston;
Hannah Hindmarsh, 218 E. 79th Street, Cleveland.
“What else?” I asked when I had studied these. The
detective-sergeant's supply hadn't been exhausted yet.
“The dead man's collar buttons—both front and back —had been taken
out, though his collar and tie were still in place. And his left shoe
was gone. We hunted high and low all around, but didn't find either
shoe or collar buttons.”
“Is that all?”
I was prepared for anything now.
“What the hell do you want?” he growled. “Ain't that enough?”
“How about fingerprints?”
“Nothing stirring! All we found belonged to the dead man.”
“How about the machine he was found in?”
“A coupe belonging to a Dr. Wallace Girargo. He phoned in at six this
evening that it had been stolen from near the corner of McAllister and
Polk streets. We're checking up on him—but I think he's all right.”
The things that Whipple and Charles Gantvoort had identified as
belonging to the dead man told us nothing. We went over them carefully,
but to no advantage. The memorandum book contained many entries, but
they all seemed totally foreign to the murder. The letters were quite
The serial number of the typewriter with which the murder had been
committed had been removed, we found—apparently filed out of the
“Well, what do you think?” O'Gar asked when we had given up our
examination of our clews and sat back burning tobacco.
“I think we want to find Monsieur Emil Bonfils.”
“It wouldn't hurt to do that,” he grunted. “I guess our best bet is
to get in touch with these five people on the list with Gantvoort's
name. Suppose that's a murder list? That this Bonfils is out to get all
“Maybe. We'll get hold of them anyway. Maybe we'll find that some of
them have already been killed. But whether they have been killed or are
to be killed or not, it's a cinch they have some connection with this
affair. I'll get off a batch of telegrams to the Agency's branches,
having the names on the list taken care of. I'll try to have the three
clippings traced, too.”
O'Gar looked at his watch and yawned.
“It's after four. What say we knock off and get some sleep? I'll
leave word for the department's expert to compare the typewriter with
that letter signed E. B. and with that list to see if they were written
on it. I guess they were, but we'll make sure. I'll have the park
searched all around where we found Gantvoort as soon as it gets light
enough to see, and maybe the missing shoe and the collar buttons will
be found. And I'll have a couple of the boys out calling on all the
typewriter shops in the city to see if they can get a line on this
I stopped at the nearest telegraph office and got off a wad of
messages. Then I went home to dream of nothing even remotely connected
with crime or the detecting business.
At eleven o'clock that same morning, when, brisk and fresh with five
hours' sleep under my belt, I arrived at the police detective bureau, I
found O'Gar slumped down at his desk, staring dazedly at a black shoe,
half a dozen collar buttons, a rusty flat key, and a rumpled
newspaper—all lined up before him.
“What's all this? Souvenir of your wedding?” “Might as well be.” His
voice was heavy with disgust. “Listen to this: one of the porters of
the Seamen's National Bank found a package in the vestibule when he
started cleaning up this morning. It was this shoe— Gantvoort's
missing one—wrapped in this sheet of a five-day-old Philadelphia
Record, and with these collar buttons and this old key in it. The
heel of the shoe, you'll notice, has been pried off, and is still
missing. Whipple identifies it all right, as well as two of the collar
buttons, but he never saw the key before. These other four collar
buttons are new, and common gold-rolled ones. The key don't look like
it had had much use for a long time. What do you make of all that?”
I couldn't make anything out of it.
“How did the porter happen to turn the stuff in?”
“Oh, the whole story was in the morning papers—all about the missing
shoe and collar buttons and all.”
“What did you learn about the typewriter?” I asked.
“The letter and the list were written with it, right enough; but we
haven't been able to find where it came from yet. We checked up the doc
who owns the coupe, and he's in the clear. We accounted for all his
time last night. Lagerquist, the grocer who found Gantvoort, seems to
be all right, too. What did you do?”
“Haven't had any answers to the wires I sent last night. I dropped in
at the Agency on my way down this morning, and got four operatives out
covering the hotels and looking up all the people named Bonfils they
can find—there are two or three families by that name listed in the
directory. Also I sent our New York branch a wire to have the steamship
records searched to see if an Emil Bonfils had arrived recently; and I
put a cable through to our Paris correspondent to see what he could dig
up over there.”
“I guess we ought to see Gantvoort's lawyer—Abernathy—and that
Dexter woman before we do anything else,” the detective-sergeant said.
“I guess so,” I agreed, “let's tackle the lawyer first. He's the most
important one, the way things now stand.”
Murray Abernathy, attorney-at-law, was a long, stringy, slow-spoken
old gentleman who still clung to starched-bosom shirts. He was too full
of what he thought were professional ethics to give us as much help as
we had expected; but by letting him talk—letting him ramble along in
his own way—we did get a little information from him. What we got
amounted to this:
The dead man and Creda Dexter had intended being married the coming
Wednesday. His son and her brother were both opposed to the marriage,
it seemed, so Gantvoort and the woman had planned to be married
secretly in Oakland, and catch a boat for the Orient that same
afternoon; figuring that by the time their lengthy honeymoon was over
they could return to a son and brother who had become resigned to the
A new will had been drawn up, leaving half of Gantvoort's estate to
his new wife and half to his son and daughter-in-law. But the new will
had not been signed yet, and Creda Dexter knew it had not been signed.
She knew—and this was one of the few points upon which Abernathy would
make a positive statement—that under the old will, still in force,
everything went to Charles Gantvoort and his wife.
The Gantvoort estate, we estimated from Abernathy's roundabout
statements and allusions, amounted to about a million and a half in
cash value. The attorney had never heard of Emil Bonfils, he said, and
had never heard of any threats or attempts at murder directed toward
the dead man. He knew nothing—or would tell us nothing—that threw any
light upon the nature of the thing that the threatening letter had
accused the dead man of stealing.
From Abernathy's office we went to Creda Dexter's apartment, in a new
and expensively elegant building only a few minutes' walk from the
Creda Dexter was a small woman in her early twenties. The first thing
you noticed about her were her eyes. They were large and deep and the
color of amber, and their pupils were never at rest. Continuously they
changed size, expanded and contracted—slowly at times, suddenly at
others—ranging incessantly from the size of pinheads to an extent that
threatened to blot out the amber irises.
With the eyes for a guide, you discovered that she was pronouncedly
feline throughout. Her every movement was the slow, smooth, sure one of
a cat; and the contours of her rather pretty face, the shape of her
mouth, her small nose, the set of her eyes, the swelling of her brows,
were all cat-like. And the effect was heightened by the way she wore
her hair, which was thick and tawny.
“Mr. Gantvoort and I,” she told us after the preliminary explanations
had been disposed of, “were to have been married the day after
tomorrow. His son and daughter-in-law were both opposed to the
marriage, as was my brother Madden. They all seemed to think that the
difference between our ages was too great. So to avoid any
unpleasantness, we had planned to be married quietly and then go abroad
for a year or more, feeling sure that they would all have forgotten
their grievances by the time we returned.
“That was why Mr. Gantvoort persuaded Madden to go to New York. He
had some business there—something to do with the disposal of his
interest in a steel mill—so he used it as an excuse to get Madden out
of the way until we were off on our wedding trip. Madden lived here
with me, and it would have been nearly impossible for me to have made
any preparations for the trip without him seeing them.”
“Was Mr. Gantvoort here last night?” I asked her.
“No, I expected him—we were going out. He usually walked over—it's
only a few blocks. When eight o'clock came and he hadn't arrived, I
telephoned his house, and Whipple told me that he had left nearly an
hour before. I called up again, twice, after that. Then, this morning,
I called up again before I had seen the papers, and I was told that
She broke off with a catch in her voice—the only sign of sorrow she
displayed throughout the interview. The impression of her we had
received from Charles Gantvoort and Whipple had prepared us for a more
or less elaborate display of grief on her part. But she disappointed
us. There was nothing crude about her work— she didn't even turn on
the tears for us.
“Was Mr. Gantvoort here night before last?”
“Yes. He came over at a little after eight and stayed until nearly
twelve. We didn't go out.”
“Did he walk over and back?”
“Yes, so far as I know.”
“Did he ever say anything to you about his life being threatened?”
She shook her head decisively.
“Do you know Emil Bonfils?”
“Ever hear Mr. Gantvoort speak of him?”
“At what hotel is your brother staying in New York?”
The restless black pupils spread out abruptly, as if they were about
to overflow into the white areas of her eyes. That was the first clear
indication of fear I had seen. But, outside of those tell-tale pupils,
her composure was undisturbed.
“I don't know.”
“When did he leave San Francisco?”
“Thursday—four days ago.”
O'Gar and I walked six or seven blocks in thoughtful silence after we
left Creda Dexter's apartment, and then he spoke.
“A sleek kitten—that dame! Rub her the right way, and she'll purr
pretty. Rub her the wrong way—and look out for the claws!”
“What did that flash of her eyes when I asked about her brother tell
you?” I asked.
“Something—but I don't know what! It wouldn't hurt to look him up
and see if he's really in New York. If he is there today it's a cinch
he wasn't here last night —even the mail planes take twenty-six or
twenty-eight hours for the trip.”
“We'll do that,” I agreed. “It looks like this Creda Dexter wasn't
any too sure that her brother wasn't La on the killing. And there's
nothing to show that Bonfils didn't have help. I can't figure Creda
being in on the murder, though. She knew the new will hadn't been
signed. There'd be no sense in her working herself out of that
three-quarters of a million berries.”
We sent a lengthy telegram to the Continental's New York branch, and
then dropped in at the Agency to see if any replies had come to the
wires I had got off the night before.
None of the people whose names appeared on the typewritten list with
Gantvoort's had been found; not the least trace had been found of any
of them. Two of the addresses given were altogether wrong. There were
no houses with those numbers on those streets—and there never had
What was left of the afternoon, O'Gar and I spent going over the
street between Gantvoort's house on Russian Hill and the building in
which the Dexters lived. We questioned everyone we could find—man,
woman and child—who lived, worked, or played along any of the three
routes the dead man could have taken.
We found nobody who had heard the shot that had been fired by Bonfils
on the night before the murder. We found nobody who had seen anything
suspicious on the night of the murder. Nobody who remembered having
seen him picked up in a coupe.
Then we called at Gantvoort's house and questioned Charles Gantvoort
again, his wife, and all the servants— and we learned nothing. So far
as they knew, nothing belonging to the dead man was missing—nothing
small enough to be concealed m the heel of a shoe.
The shoes he had worn the night he was killed were one of three pairs
made in New York for him two months before. He could have removed the
heel of the left one, hollowed it out sufficiently to hide a small
object in it, and then nailed it on again; though Whipple insisted that
he would have noticed the effects of any tampering with the shoe unless
it had been done by an expert repairman.
This field exhausted, we returned to the Agency. A telegram had just
come from the New York branch, saying that none of the steamship
companies' records showed the arrival of an Emil Bonfils from either
England, France, or Germany within the past six months.
The operatives who had been searching the city for Bonfils had all
come in empty-handed. They had found and investigated eleven persons
named Bonfils in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and Alameda. Their
investigations had definitely cleared all eleven. None of these
Bonfilses knew an Emil Bonfils. Combing the hotels had yielded nothing.
O'Gar and I went to dinner together—a quiet grouchy sort of meal
during which we didn't speak six words apiece—and then came back to
the Agency to find that another wire had come in from New York.
Madden Dexter arrived McAlpin Hotel this morning with Power of
Attorney to sell Gantvoort interest in B. F. and F. Iron Corporation.
Denies knowledge of Emil Bonfils or of murder. Expects to finish
business and leave for San Francisco tomorrow.
I let the sheet of paper upon which I had decoded the telegram
slide out of my fingers, and we sat listlessly facing each other across
my desk looking vacantly each at the other, listening to the clatter of
charwomen's buckets in the corridor.
“It's a funny one,” O'Gar said softly to himself at last.
I nodded. It was.
“We got nine clews,” he spoke again presently, “and none of them have
got us a damned thing.
“Number one: the dead man called up you people and told you that he
had been threatened and shot at by an Emil Bonfils that he'd had a
run-in with in Paris a long time ago.
“Number two: the typewriter he was killed with and that the letter
and list were written on. We're still trying to trace it, but with no
breaks so far. What the hell kind of a weapon was that, anyway? It
looks like this fellow Bonfils got hot and hit Gantvoort with the first
thing he put his hand on. But what was the typewriter doing in a stolen
car? And why were the numbers filed off it?”
I shook my head to signify that I couldn't guess the answer, and
O'Gar went on enumerating our clews.
“Number three: the threatening letter, fitting in with what Gantvoort
had said over the phone that afternoon.
“Number four: those two bullets with the crosses in their snoots.
“Number five: the jewel case.
“Number six: that bunch of yellow hair.
“Number seven: the fact that the dead man's shoe and collar buttons
were carried away.
“Number eight: the wallet, with two ten-dollars bills, three
clippings, and the list in it, found in the road.
“Number nine: finding the shoe next day, wrapped up in a five-day-old
Philadelphia paper, and with the missing collar buttons, four more, and
a rusty key in it.
“That's the list. If they mean anything at all, they mean that Emil
Bonfils whoever he is—was flimflammed out of something by Gantvoort in
Paris in 1902, and that Bonfils came to get it back. He picked
Gantvoort up last night in a stolen car, bringing his typewriter with
him—for God knows what reason! Gantvoort put up an argument, so
Bonfils bashed in his noodle with the typewriter, and then went through
his pockets, apparently not taking anything. He decided that what he
was looking for was in Gantvoort's left shoe, so he took the shoe away
with him. And then—but there's no sense to the collar button trick, or
the phony list, or—”
“Yes there is!” I cut in, sitting up, wide awake now. “That's our
tenth clew—the one we're going to follow from now on. That list was,
except for Gantvoort's name and address, a fake. Our people would have
found at least one of the five people whose names were on it if it had
been on the level. But they didn't find the least trace of any of them.
And two of the addresses were of street numbers that didn't exist!
“That list was faked up, put in the wallet with the clippings and
twenty dollars—to make the play stronger —and planted in the road
near the car to throw us off-track. And if that's so, then it's a
hundred to one that the rest of the things were cooked up too.
“From now on I'm considering all those nine lovely clews as nine bum
steers. And I'm going just exactly contrary to them. I'm looking for a
man whose name isn't Emil Bonfils, and whose initials aren't either E
or B; who isn't French, and who wasn't in Paris in 1902. A man who
hasn't light hair, doesn't carry a .45-caliber pistol, and has no
interest in Personal advertisements in newspapers. A man who didn't
kill Gantvoort to recover anything that could have been hidden in a
shoe or on a collar button. That's the sort of a guy I'm hunting for
The detective-sergeant screwed up his little green eyes reflectively
and scratched his head.
“Maybe that ain't so foolish!” he said. “You might be right at that.
Suppose you are—what then? That Dexter kitten didn't do it—it cost
her three-quarters of a million. Her brother didn't do it—he's in New
York. And, besides, you don't croak a guy just because you think he's
too old to marry your sister. Charles Gantvoort? He and his wife are
the only ones who make any money out of the old man dying before the
new will was signed. We have only their word for it that Charles was
home that night. The servants didn't see him between eight and eleven.
You were there, and you didn't see him until eleven. But me and you
both believe him when he says he was home all that evening. And
neither of us think he bumped the old man off—though of course he
might. Who then?”
“This Creda Dexter,” I suggested, “was marrying Gantvoort for his
money, wasn't she? You don't think she was in love with him, do you?”
“No. I figure, from what I saw of her, that she was in love with the
million and a half.”
“All right,” I went on. “Now she isn't exactly homely —not by a long
shot. Do you reckon Gantvoort was the only man who ever fell for her?”
“I got you! I got you!” O'Gar exclaimed. “You mean there might have
been some young fellow in the running who didn't have any million and a
half behind him, and who didn't take kindly to being nosed out by a man
who did. Maybe—maybe.”
“Well, suppose we bury all this stuff we've been working on and try
out that angle.”
“Suits me,” he said. “Starting in the morning, then, we spend our
time hunting for Gantvoort's rival for the paw of this Dexter kitten.”
Right or wrong, that's what we did. We stowed all those lovely clews
away in a drawer, locked the drawer, and forgot them. Then we set out
to find Creda Dexter's masculine acquaintances and sift them for the
But it wasn't as simple as it sounded.
All our digging into her past failed to bring to light one man who
could be considered a suitor. She and her brother had been in San
Francisco three years. We traced them back the length of that period,
from apartment to apartment. We questioned everyone we could find who
even knew her by sight. And nobody could tell us of a single man who
had shown an interest in her besides Gantvoort. Nobody, apparently, had
ever seen her with any man except Gantvoort or her brother.
All of which, while not getting us ahead, at least convinced us that
we were on the right trail. There must have been, we argued, at least
one man in her life in those three years besides Gantvoort. She
wasn't—unless we were very much mistaken—the sort of woman who would
discourage masculine attention; and she was certainly endowed by nature
to attract it. And if there was another man, then the very fact that he
had been kept so thoroughly under cover strengthened the probability of
him having been mixed up in Gantvoort's death.
We were unsuccessful in learning where the Dexters had lived before
they came to San Francisco, but we weren't so very interested in their
earlier life. Of course it was possible that some old-time lover had
come upon the scene again recently; but in that case it should have
been easier to find the recent connection than the old one.
There was no doubt, our explorations showed, that Gantvoort's son had
been correct in thinking the Dexters were fortune hunters. All their
activities pointed to that, although there seemed to be nothing
downright criminal in their pasts.
I went up against Creda Dexter again, spending an entire afternoon in
her apartment, banging away with question after question, all directed
toward her former love affairs. Who had she thrown over for Gantvoort
and his million and a half? And the answer was always nobody—an
answer that I didn't choose to believe.
We had Creda Dexter shadowed night and day—and it carried us ahead
not an inch. Perhaps she suspected that she was being watched. Anyway,
she seldom left her apartment, and then on only the most innocent of
errands. We had her apartment watched whether she was in it or not.
Nobody visited it. We tapped her telephone—and all our listening-in
netted us nothing. We had her mail covered—and she didn't receive a
single letter, not even an advertisement.
Meanwhile, we had learned where the three clippings found in the
wallet had come from—from the Personal columns of a New York, a
Chicago, and a Portland newspaper. The one in the Portland paper had
appeared two days before the murder, the Chicago one four days before,
and the New York one five days before. All three of those papers would
have been on the San Francisco newsstands the day of the murder—ready
to be purchased and cut out by anyone who was looking for material to
confuse detectives with.
The Agency's Paris correspondent had found no less than six Emil
Bonfilses—all bloomers so far as our job was concerned—and had a line
on three more.
But O'Gar and I weren't worrying over Emil Bonfils any more—that
angle was dead and buried. We were plugging away at our new task—the
finding of Gantvoort's rival.
Thus the days passed, and thus the matter stood when Madden Dexter
was due to arrive home from New York.
Our New York branch had kept an eye on him until he left that city,
and had advised us of his departure, so I knew what train he was coming
on. I wanted to put a few questions to him before his sister saw him.
He could tell me what I wanted to know, and he might be willing to
If I could get to him before his sister had an opportunity to shut
If I had known him by sight I could have picked him up when he left
his train at Oakland, but I didn't know him; and I didn't want to carry
Charles Gantvoort or anyone else along with me to pick him out for me.
So I went up to Sacramento that morning, and boarded his train there.
I put my card in an envelope and gave it to a messenger boy in the
station. Then I followed the boy through the train, while he called
“Mr. Dexter! Mr. Dexter!”
In the last car—the observation-club car—a slender, dark-haired man
in well-made tweeds turned from watching the station platform through a
window and held out his hand to the boy.
I studied him while he nervously tore open the envelope and read my
card. His chin trembled slightly just now, emphasizing the weakness of
a face that couldn't have been strong at its best. Between twenty-five
and thirty, I placed him; with his hair parted in the middle and
slicked down; large, too-expressive brown eyes; small well-shaped nose;
neat brown mustache; very red, soft lips—that type.
I dropped into the vacant chair beside him when he looked up from the
“You are Mr. Dexter?”
“Yes,” he said. “I suppose it's about Mr. Gantvoort's death that you
want to see me?”
“Uh-huh. I wanted to ask you a few questions, and since I happened to
be in Sacramento, I thought that by riding back on the train with you I
could ask them without taking up too much of your time.”
“If there's anything I can tell you,” he assured me, “I'll be only
too glad to do it. But I told the New York detectives all I knew, and
they didn't seem to find it of much value.”
“Well, the situation has changed some since you left New York.” I
watched his face closely as I spoke. “What we thought of no value then
may be just what we want now.”
I paused while he moistened his lips and avoided my eyes. He may not
know anything, I thought, but he's certainly jumpy. I let him wait a
few minutes while I pretended deep thoughtfulness. If I played him
right, I was confident I could turn him inside out. He didn't seem to
be made of very tough material.
We were sitting with our heads close together, so that the four or
five other passengers in the car wouldn't overhear our talk; and that
position was in my favor. One of the things that every detective knows
is that it's often easy to get information—even a confession—out of a
feeble nature simply by putting your face close to his and talking in a
loud tone. I couldn't talk loud here, but the closeness of our faces
was by itself an advantage.
“Of the men with whom your sister was acquainted,” I came out with it
at last, “who, outside of Mr. Gantvoort, was the most attentive?”
He swallowed audibly, looked out of the window, fleetingly at me, and
then out of the window again.
“Really, I couldn't say.”
“All right. Let's get at it this way. Suppose we check off one by one
all the men who were interested in her and in whom she was interested.”
He continued to stare out of the window.
“Who's first?” I pressed him.
His gaze nickered around to meet mine for a second, with a sort of
timid desperation in his eyes.
“I know it sounds foolish, but I, her brother, couldn't give you the
name of even one man in whom Creda was interested before she met
Gantvoort. She never, so far as I know, had the slightest feeling for
any man before she met him. Of course it is possible that there may
have been someone that I didn't know anything about, but—”
It did sound foolish, right enough! The Creda Dexter I had talked
to—a sleek kitten as O'Gar had put it— didn't impress me as being at
all likely to go very long without having at least one man in tow. This
pretty little guy in front of me was lying. There couldn't be any other
I went at him tooth and nail. But when we reached Oakland early that
night he was still sticking to his original statement—that Gantvoort
was the only one of his sister's suitors that he knew anything about.
And I knew that I had blundered, had underrated Madden Dexter, had
played my hand wrong in trying to shake him down too quickly—in
driving too directly at the point I was interested in. He was either a
lot stronger than I had figured him, or his interest in concealing
Gantvoort's murderer was much greater than I had thought it would be.
But I had this much: if Dexter was lying—and there couldn't be much
doubt of that—then Gantvoort had had a rival, and Madden Dexter
believed or knew that this rival had killed Gantvoort.
When we left the train at Oakland I knew I was licked, that he wasn't
going to tell me what I wanted to know—not this night, anyway. But I
clung to him, stuck at his side when we boarded the ferry for San
Francisco, in spite of the obviousness of his desire to get away from
me. There's always a chance of something unexpected happening; so I
continued to ply him with questions as our boat left the slip.
Presently a man came toward where we were sitting, a big burly man in
a light overcoat, carrying a black bag.
“Hello, Madden!” he greeted my companion, striding over to him with
outstretched hand. “Just got in and was trying to remember your phone
number,” he said, setting down his bag, as they shook hands warmly.
Madden Dexter turned to me.
“I want you to meet Mr. Smith,” he told me, and then gave my name to
the big man, adding, “he's with the Continental Detective Agency here.”
That tag—clearly a warning for Smith's benefit— brought me to my
feet, all watchfulness. But the ferry was crowded—a hundred persons
were within sight of us, all around us. I relaxed, smiled pleasantly,
and shook hands with Smith. Whoever Smith was, and whatever connection
he might have with the murder—and if he hadn't any, why should Dexter
have been in such a hurry to tip him off to my identity?—he couldn't
do anything here. The crowd around us was all to my advantage.
That was my second mistake of the day.
Smith's left hand had gone into his overcoat pocket —or rather,
through one of those vertical slits that certain styles of overcoats
have so that inside pockets may be reached without unbuttoning the
overcoat. His hand had gone through that slit, and his coat had fallen
away far enough for me to see a snub-nosed automatic in his
hand—shielded from everyone's sight but mine— pointing at my
“Shall we go on deck?” Smith asked—and it was an order.
I hesitated. I didn't like to leave all these people who were so
blindly standing and sitting around us. But Smith's face wasn't the
face of a cautious man. He had the look of one who might easily
disregard the presence of a hundred witnesses.
I turned around and walked through the crowd. His right hand lay
familiarly on my shoulder as he walked behind me; his left hand held
his gun, under the overcoat, against my spine.
The deck was deserted. A heavy fog, wet as rain— the fog of San
Francisco Bay's winter nights—lay over boat and water, and had driven
everyone else inside. It hung about us, thick and impenetrable; I
couldn't see so far as the end of the boat, in spite of the lights
Smith prodded me in the back.
“Farther away, where we can talk,” he rumbled in my ear.
I went on until I reached the rail.
The entire back of my head burned with sudden fire . . . tiny points
of light glittered in the blackness before me ... grew larger . . .
came rushing toward me. . . .
Semi-consciousness! I found myself mechanically keeping afloat
somehow and trying to get out of my overcoat. The back of my head
throbbed devilishly. My eyes burned. I felt heavy and logged, as if I
had swallowed gallons of water.
The fog hung low and thick on the water—there was nothing else to be
seen anywhere. By the time I had freed myself of the encumbering
overcoat my head had cleared somewhat, but with returning consciousness
came increased pain.
A light glimmered mistily off to my left, and then vanished. From out
of the misty blanket, from every direction, in a dozen different keys,
from near and far, fog-horns sounded. I stopped swimming and floated on
my back, trying to determine my whereabouts.
After a while I picked out the moaning, evenly spaced blasts of the
Alcatraz siren. But they told me nothing. They came to me out of the
fog without direction— seemed to beat down upon me from straight
I was somewhere in San Francisco Bay, and that was all I knew, though
I suspected the current was sweeping me out toward the Golden Gate.
A little while passed, and I knew that I had left the path of the
Oakland ferries—no boat had passed close to me for some time. I was
glad to be out of that track. In this fog a boat was a lot more likely
to run me down than to pick me up.
The water was chilling me, so I turned over and began swimming, just
vigorously enough to keep my blood circulating while I saved my
strength until I had a definite goal to try for.
A horn began to repeat its roaring note nearer and nearer, and
presently the lights of the boat upon which it was fixed came into
sight. One of the Sausalito ferries, I thought.
It came quite close to me, and I halloed until I was breathless and
my throat was raw. But the boat's siren, crying its warning, drowned my
The boat went on and the fog closed in behind it.
The current was stronger now, and my attempts to attract the
attention of the Sausalito ferry had left me weaker. I floated, letting
the water sweep me where it would, resting.
Another light appeared ahead of me suddenly—hung there for an
I began to yell, and worked my arms and legs madly, trying to drive
myself through the water to where it had been.
I never saw it again.
Weariness settled upon me, and a sense of futility. The water was no
longer cold. I was warm with a comfortable, soothing numbness. My head
stopped throbbing; there was no feeling at all in it now. No lights,
now, but the sound of fog-horns . . . fog-horns . . . fog-horns ahead
of me, behind me, to either side; annoying me, irritating me.
But for the moaning horns I would have ceased all effort. They had
become the only disagreeable detail of my situation—the water was
pleasant, fatigue was pleasant. But the horns tormented me. I cursed
them petulantly and decided to swim until I could no longer hear them,
and then, in the quiet of the friendly fog, go to sleep....
Now and then I would doze, to be goaded into wakefulness by the
wailing voice of a siren.
“Those damned horns! Those damned horns!” I complained aloud, again
One of them, I found presently, was bearing down upon me from behind,
growing louder and stronger. I turned and waited. Lights, dun and
steaming, came into view.
With exaggerated caution to avoid making the least splash, I swam off
to one side. When this nuisance was past I could go to sleep. I
sniggered softly to myself as the lights drew abreast, feeling a
foolish triumph in my cleverness in eluding the boat. Those damned
Life—the hunger for life—all at once surged back into my being.
I screamed at the passing boat, and with every iota of my being
struggled toward it. Between strokes I tilted up my head and screamed.
. . .
When I returned to consciousness for the second time that evening, I
was lying on my back on a baggage truck, which was moving. Men and
women were crowding around, walking beside the truck, staring at me
with curious eyes. I sat up.
“Where are we?” I asked.
A little red-faced man in uniform answered my question.
“Just landing in Sausalito. Lay still. We'll take you over to the
I looked around.
“How long before this boat goes back to San Francisco?”
“Leaves right away.”
I slid off the truck and started back aboard the boat.
“I'm going with it,” I said.
Half an hour later, shivering and shaking in my wet clothes, keeping
my mouth clamped tight so that my teeth wouldn't sound like a
dice-game, I climbed into a taxi at the Ferry Building and went to my
There, I swallowed half a pint of whisky, rubbed myself with a coarse
towel until my skin was sore, and, except for an enormous weariness and
a worse headache, I felt almost human again.
I reached O'Gar by phone, asked him to come up to my flat right away,
and then called up Charles Gantvoort.
“Have you seen Madden Dexter yet?” I asked him. “No, but I talked to
him over the phone. He called me up as soon as he got in. I asked him
to meet me in Mr. Abernathy's office in the morning, so we could go
over that business he transacted for Father.”
“Can you call him up now and tell him that you have been called out
of town—will have to leave early in the morning—and that you'd like
to run over to his apartment and see him tonight?”
“Why yes, if you wish.”
“Good! Do that. I'll call for you in a little while and go over to
see him with you.”
“I'll tell you about it when I see you,” I cut him off.
O'Gar arrived as I was finishing dressing.
“So he told you something?” he asked, knowing of my plan to meet
Dexter on the train and question him.
“Yes,” I said with sour sarcasm, “but I came near forgetting what it
was. I grilled him all the way from Sacramento to Oakland, and couldn't
get a whisper out of him. On the ferry coining over he introduces me to
a man he calls Mr. Smith, and he tells Mr. Smith that I'm a gum-shoe.
This, mind you, all happens in the middle of a crowded ferry! Mr. Smith
puts a gun in my belly, marches me out on deck, raps me across the back
of the head, and dumps me into the bay.”
“You have a lot of fun, don't you?” O'Gar grinned, and then wrinkled
his forehead. “Looks like Smith would be the man we want then—the
buddy who turned the Gantvoort trick. But what the hell did he want to
give himself away by chucking you overboard for?”
“Too hard for me,” I confessed, while trying to find which of my hats
and caps would sit least heavily upon my bruised head. “Dexter knew I
was hunting for one of his sister's former lovers, of course. And he
must have thought I knew a whole lot more than I do, or he wouldn't
have made that raw play—tipping my mitt to Smith right in front of me.
“It may be that after Dexter lost his head and made that break on the
ferry, Smith figured that I'd be on to him soon, if not right away; and
so he'd take a desperate chance on putting me out of the way. But we'll
know all about it in a little while,” I said, as we went down to the
waiting taxi and set out for Gantvoort's.
“You ain't counting on Smith being in sight, are you?” the
“No. He'll be holed up somewhere until he sees how things are going.
But Madden Dexter will have to be out in the open to protect himself.
He has an alibi, so he's in the clear so far as the actual killing is
concerned. And with me supposed to be dead, the more he stays in the
open, the safer he is. But it's a cinch that he knows what this is all
about, though he wasn't necessarily involved in it. As near as I could
see, he didn't go out on deck with Smith and me tonight. Anyway he'll
be home. And this time he's going to talk— he's going to tell his
Charles Gantvoort was standing on his front steps when we reached his
house. He climbed into our taxi and we headed for the Dexters'
apartment. We didn't have time to answer any of the questions that
Gantvoort was firing at us with every turning of the wheels.
“He's home and expecting you?” I asked him.
Then we left the taxi and went into the apartment building.
“Mr. Gantvoort to see Mr. Dexter,” he told the Philippine boy at the
The boy spoke into the phone.
“Go right up,” he told us.
At the Dexters' door I stepped past Gantvoort and pressed the button.
Creda Dexter opened the door. Her amber eyes widened and her smile
faded as I stepped past her into the apartment.
I walked swiftly down the little hallway and turned into the first
room through whose open door a light showed.
And came face to face with Smith!
We were both surprised, but his astonishment was a lot more profound
than mine. Neither of us had expected to see the other; but I had known
he was still alive, while he had every reason for thinking me at the
bottom of the bay.
I took advantage of his greater bewilderment to the extent of two
steps toward him before he went into action.
One of his hands swept down.
I threw my right fist at his face—threw it with every ounce of my
180 pounds behind it, re-enforced by the memory of every second I had
spent in the water, and every throb of my battered head.
His hand, already darting down for his pistol, came back up too late
to fend off my punch.
Something clicked in my hand as it smashed into his face, and my hand
But he went down—and lay where he fell.
I jumped across his body to a door on the opposite side of the room,
pulling my gun loose with my left hand.
“Dexter's somewhere around!” I called over my shoulder to O'Gar, who
with Gantvoort and Creda, was coming through the door by which I had
entered. “Keep your eyes open!”
I dashed through the four other rooms of the apartment, pulling
closet doors open, looking everywhere— and I found nobody.
Then I returned to where Creda Dexter was trying to revive Smith,
with the assistance of O'Gar and Gantvoort.
The detective-sergeant looked over his shoulder at me.
“Who do you think this joker is?” he asked.
“My friend Mr. Smith.”
“Gantvoort says he's Madden Dexter.”
I looked at Charles Gantvoort, who nodded his head.
“This is Madden Dexter,” he said.
We worked upon Dexter for nearly ten minutes before he opened his
As soon as he sat up we began to shoot questions and accusations at
him, hoping to get a confession out of him before he recovered from his
shakiness—but he wasn't that shaky.
All we could get out of him was:
“Take me in if you want to. If I've got anything to say I'll say it
to my lawyer, and to nobody eke.”
Creda Dexter, who had stepped back after her brother came to, and was
standing a little way off, watching us, suddenly came forward and
caught me by the arm.
“What have you got on him?” she demanded, imperatively.
“I wouldn't want to say,” I countered, “but I don't mind telling you
this much. We're going to give him a chance in a nice modern
court-room to prove that he didn't kill Leopold Gantvoort.”
“He was in New York!”
“He was not! He had a friend who went to New York as Madden Dexter
and looked after Gantvoort's business under that name. But if this is
the real Madden Dexter then the closest he got to New York was when he
met his friend on the ferry to get from him the papers connected with
the B. F. & F. Iron Corporation transaction; and learned that I had
stumbled upon the truth about his alibi—even if I didn't know it
myself at the time.”
She jerked around to face her brother.
“Is that on the level?” she asked him.
He sneered at her, and went on feeling with the fingers of one hand
the spot on his jaw where my fist had landed.
“I'll say all I've got to say to my lawyer,” he repeated.
“You will?” she shot back at him. “Well, I'll say what I've got to
say right now!”
She flung around to face me again.
“Madden is not my brother at all! My name is Ives. Madden and I met
in St. Louis about four years ago, drifted around together for a year
or so, and then came to Frisco. He was a con man—still is. He made Mr.
Gantvoort's acquaintance six or seven months ago, and was getting him
all ribbed up to unload a fake invention on him. He brought him here a
couple of times, and introduced me to him as his sister. We usually
posed as brother and sister.
“Then, after Mr. Gantvoort had been here a couple times, Madden
decided to change his game. He thought Mr. Gantvoort liked me, and that
we could get more money out of him by working a fancy sort of
badger-game on him. I was to lead the old man on until I had him
wrapped around my finger—until we had him tied up so tight he couldn't
get away—had something on him—something good and strong. Then we were
going to shake him down for plenty of money.
“Everything went along fine for a while. He fell for me—fell hard.
And finally he asked me to marry him. We had never figured on that.
Blackmail was our game. But when he asked me to marry bun I tried to
call Madden off. I admit the old man's money had something to do with
it—it influenced me—but I had come to like him a little for himself.
He was mighty fine in lots of ways—nicer than anybody I had ever
“So I told Madden all about it, and suggested that we drop the other
plan, and that I marry Gantvoort. I promised to see that Madden was
kept supplied with money—I knew I could get whatever I wanted from Mr.
Gantvoort. And I was on the level with Madden. I liked Mr. Gantvoort,
but Madden had found him and brought him around to me; and so I wasn't
going to run out on Madden. I was willing to do all I could for him.
“But Madden wouldn't hear of it. He'd have got more money in the long
run by doing as I suggested— but he wanted his little handful right
away. And to make him more unreasonable he got one of his jealous
streaks. He beat me one night!
“That settled it. I made up my mind to ditch him. I told Mr.
Gantvoort that my brother was bitterly opposed to our marrying, and he
could see that Madden was carrying a grouch. So he arranged to send
Madden East on that steel business, to get him out of the way until we
were off on our wedding trip. And we thought Madden was completely
deceived—but I should have known that he would see through our scheme.
We planned to be gone about a year, and by that time I thought Madden
would have forgotten me—or I'd be fixed to handle him if he tried to
make any trouble.
“As soon as I heard that Mr. Gantvoort had been killed I had a hunch
that Madden had done it. But then it seemed like a certainty that he
was in New York the next day, and I thought I had done him an
injustice. And I was glad he was out of it. But now—”
She whirled around to her erstwhile confederate.
“Now I hope you swing, you big sap!”
She spun around to me again. No sleek kitten, this, but a furious,
spitting cat, with claws and teeth bared.
“What kind of looking fellow was the one who went to New York for
I described the man I had talked to on the train.
“Evan Felter,” she said, after a moment of thought. “He used to work
with Madden. You'll probably find him hiding in Los Angeles. Put the
screws on bun and he'll spill all he knows—he's a weak sister! The
chances are he didn't know what Madden's game was until it was all
“How do you like that?” she spat at Madden Dexter. “How do you like
that for a starter? You messed up my little party, did you? Well, I'm
going to spend every minute of my time from now until they pop you off
helping them pop you!”
And she did, too—with her assistance it was no trick at all to
gather up the rest of the evidence we needed to hang him. And I don't
believe her enjoyment of her three-quarters of a million dollars is
spoiled a bit by any qualms over what she did to Madden. She's a very
respectable woman now, and glad to be free of the con man.