CARROLL HAS A VISITOR
Carroll gazed intently upon the face
of the dead man. There was a half quizzical light
in the detective’s eyes as he spoke, apparently
to no one.
“I’ve often thought,”
he said, “in a case like this, how much simpler
things would be if the murdered man could talk.”
“H-m!” rejoined the practical
Leverage. “If he could, he wouldn’t
“Perhaps you’re right.
And following that to a logical conclusion, if he
were not dead we wouldn’t be particularly
interested in what he had to say.”
“All of which ain’t got
a heap to do with the fact that your work is cut out
for you, Carroll. You’re dead sure about
that ticket dope, ain’t you? I ain’t
used to traveling in drawing-rooms myself.”
“It’s straight enough,
Leverage. The railroad company won’t allow
a single passenger to occupy a drawing-room that
is, they demand two tickets. If you, for instance,
were traveling alone, and desired a drawing-room,
you’d be compelled to have two tickets for yourself.
That being so, it is plain that Warren there didn’t
intend making this trip to New York alone. If
he had, he would have had the two tickets along with
the drawing-room check. I am certain that two
tickets were bought, because the railroad men won’t
sell a drawing-room with a single ticket. It
is obvious, then, that he bought two tickets and gave
the other one to the person who was to make the trip
“The woman, of course!”
“The woman in the fur coat the one
who got into the taxicab.”
“Perhaps; but she came in on
the accommodation train after the New York train was
due to leave. The fast train was late.”
“So was the accommodation. They are due
to make connection.”
“That’s true. If we can find that
“We’ll have found the woman, and when
we find her the case will end.”
The door opened, and Sergeant O’Leary entered.
“The coroner, sorr him an’
a reporter from each av the mornin’ papers.”
“Show the coroner in first,”
ordered Carroll. “Let the newspapermen
“Yis, sorr. They seem a
bit impatient, sorr. They say they’re holdin’
up the city edition for the news, sorr.”
“Very good. Tell them Chief
Leverage says the story is worth waiting for.”
The coroner a short, thick-set
man entered and heard the story from Leverage’s
lips. He made a cursory examination and nodded
“Inquest in the morning, Mr.
Carroll. Meanwhile, I reckon you want to let
them newspapermen in.”
The two reporters entered and listened
popeyed to the story. They telephoned a bulletin
to their offices, and were assured of an hour’s
leeway in phoning in the balance of the story.
They were quivering with excitement over what promised
to be, from a newspaper standpoint, the juiciest morsel
of sensational copy with which the city had been blessed
for some time.
To them Carroll recounted the story
as he knew it, concealing nothing.
“This is a great space-eating
story,” he told them in their own language the
jargon of the fourth estate “and the
more it eats the better it’ll be for me.
We want publicity on this case all you can
hand out big chunks of it. We want to know who
that woman was. The way I figure it, this city
is going to get a jolt at breakfast. Every one
is going to be comparing notes. Out of that mass
of gossip we may get some valuable information.
“We do. Space in the morning
edition will be limited, but by evening, and the next
morning oh, baby!”
They took voluminous notes and telephoned
in enough additional information to keep the city
rooms busy. When they would have gone, Carroll
“Either of you chaps know anything
of Warren’s personal history?”
The elder of the two nodded.
“I do. Know him personally,
in fact. I’ve played golf with him.
Pretty nice sort.”
“Rich, isn’t he?”
“Reputed to be. Never works;
spends freely not ostentatiously, but liberally.
Pretty fine sort of a chap. It’s a damned
“How about his relations with women?”
The reporter hesitated and glanced guiltily at the
“That’s rather strong ”
“It’s not going beyond
here, unless I find it necessary. I’ve played
clean with you boys. Suppose you do the same with
“We-e-ell” reluctantly “he
was rather much of a rounder. Nothing coarse
about him, but he never was one to resist a woman.
Rather the reverse, in fact.”
“Ever been mixed up in a scandal?”
“Not publicly. He’s
friendly with a good many men and with their
wives. A dozen, I guess; but the husbands invite
him to their homes, so I don’t suppose there
could be anything in the gossip. You see, folks
are always too eager to talk about a man in his position
and whatever woman he happens to be friendly with.
And anyway, there hasn’t been nearly so much
talk about him since his engagement was announced.”
“He is engaged?”
“To a girl in this city!”
“Sure! I thought you knew
that. Dandy girl Hazel Gresham.
You’ve heard of Garry Gresham? It’s
his kid sister.”
“So-o! How long has this engagement been
“Couple of months. Pretty
soft on both sides; he’s got money and so has
she. She’s a good scout, too, even if she
is a kid.”
“Hardly more than twenty; but
her family seemed to welcome the match. Warren
and Garry Gresham were pretty good friends. Warren
was about thirty-three or thirty-four, you know.
Gossip had it that the family was going to object
because of the difference in ages, but they didn’t.”
Carroll was silent for a moment.
“Nothing else about him you think might prove
“And your idea of the murderer, after what you’ve
“The woman in the taxicab killed him.”
“When did he get in?”
The reporter threw back his head and laughed.
“What is this a game?
If I knew that I’d have your job, Mr. Carroll.
The dame killed him, all right; and when we find out
how she did it, and when, and how he got in and she
got out, we’ll have a whale of a story!”
“No theories as to the identity of this woman,
“Nary one. A chap like
Warren bachelor, unencumbered is
liable to know a heap of ’em. From what
you tell me of the tickets from the fact
that she was going away with him, I sort of figure
you might do a little social investigating and discover
what woman might have been going off with him.”
Eric Leverage had been listening intently.
His mind, never swift to work, yet worked surely.
His big voice boomed into the conversation:
“This young fellow says Miss
Gresham’s family didn’t have no objections
to the marriage. It just occurred to me to ask
him is he sure?”
The reporter flushed.
“Why, no, chief; not sure.
You never can be sure about things like that; but
so far as the public knew ”
“That’s it, exactly.
How do we know, though, but what they were sore as
a pup over it, and just kept their traps closed because
they didn’t want any gossip? S’posin’
they were trying to break things off, an’ makin’
it pretty uncomfortable for the girl? S’pose
“Yes,” argued the reporter.
“Suppose all of that. Where does it get
“It gets you just here” Leverage
talked slowly, heavily, tapping his spatulate fingers
on the table to emphasize his points “we
know this bird was going to elope with some skirt.
All right! Now I ask this why go all
around the block, looking for some one he might have
been mixed up with, when the woman a man is most likely
to elope with is the girl he’s engaged to marry?”
Silence several seconds of it. Carroll
“Miss Gresham, you mean?”
“Sure, David sure!
I’m not sayin’ she was the woman, mind
you. I’m not sayin’ anything except
that if I’m right in thinkin’ that maybe
her folks weren’t as crazy about this guy Warren
as they seemed if I’m right in that,
maybe they was plannin’ to take matters in their
own hands and elope.”
“Sure, it’s possible, and ”
“But, chief,” interrupted
the reporter who had done most of the talking, “why
should Miss Gresham kill Warren?”
“I didn’t say she did, did I?”
“If she was the woman in the taxi ”
“If! Sure if!
All I mentioned that for was to show you we might as
well start thinking close to home before we go to beatin’
through the bushes to follow a cold trail.”
The reporters left, and Carroll smiled at Leverage.
“Good idea, Eric about Miss Gresham.”
“’Tain’t a hunch,” said Leverage.
“It just made good talkin’.”
“I’m glad you did it, anyway.”
“What is thare about it that you like?”
“Those newspaper chaps will
play it up. Maybe they won’t intend to,
but they’ll play it up, just the same; and it
won’t take us long either to connect Miss Gresham
with the crime or to link up an iron-clad alibi for
“H-m! Not bad! You
know, Carroll” and Leverage smiled
frankly “I’m always makin’
these fine suggestions an’ pullin’ good
stunts, an’ never knowin’ whether they’re
good or not until somebody tells me.”
“A good many folks are like
that, Eric, but they don’t admit it afterward.”
“Neither do I publicly.”
Leverage rose and yawned.
“It’s me for the hay,
Carroll. I’m played out; and I have a hunch
that to-morrow I’m going to be busy as seven
little queen bees and you, too.”
Carroll reached for his overcoat.
“A little bit of thinking things
over isn’t going to hurt me, either. Good
Thirty minutes later Carroll reached
his apartment, and a half-hour after that he was sleeping
soundly. The following morning he waked “all
over,” as was his habit, and turned his eyes
to gaze through the window.
During the night the sleety drizzle
had ceased, and the sun streamed with brilliant coldness
upon a city which shone in a glare of ice. Leafless
trees stretched their ice-covered tentacles into the
cold, penetrating air; pedestrians and horses slipped
on the glassy pavements; automobiles either skidded
dangerously or set up an incessant rattle with their
Carroll glanced at his watch.
It showed nine o’clock. He started with
surprise. Then he reached for the newspapers on
the table at the side of his bed, and spread open
the front pages.
They had evidently been made up anew
with the breaking of the Warren murder story.
Eight-column streamers shrieked at him from both front
pages. He read the stories through, and smiled
with satisfaction. Just as he had anticipated,
both reporters, hungry for some definite clue upon
which to work, had seized upon the possibility of Hazel
Gresham being the mysterious woman in the taxicab.
Not that they said so openly, but they said enough
to make the public know that the detectives in charge
of the case were likely to investigate her movements
on the previous night.
Carroll stepped into a shower, then
dressed quickly and ate a light breakfast served him
by his maid, Freda. Before he finished, the doorbell
rang, and Freda announced that there was a lady to
“She ain’t bane nothin’
but a girl, sir, Mr. Carroll just a little
“Show her in.”
In two minutes Freda returned, and
behind her came the visitor. Carroll concealed
a smile at sight of her. She was a little thing sixteen
or seventeen years old, he judged a fluffy,
blond girl quivering with vivacity; the type of girl
who is desperately reaching for maturity, entirely
forgetful of the charms of her adolescence. He
rose and bowed in a serious, courtly manner.
“You wish to see me?”
“Yes, sir, I do. Is this
Mr. Carroll the famous detective?”
“I am David Carroll yes.”
She inspected him with frank approval.
“Why, you don’t look any
more than a boy! I thought you were old and had
whiskers and and everything
“I’m glad you’re pleasantly surprised.
What can I do for you?”
“Oh, it isn’t what you can do for me it’s
what I can do for you!”
“And that is?”
“I came to tell you all about this terrible
Warren murder case.”
“You came to tell me about it?”
“Why, yes,” she retorted
smilingly. “You see, I know just heaps
about the whole thing!”