THE YELLOW STREAK

VALENTINE WILLIAMS December 1 1921

THE YELLOW STREAK

VALENTINE WILLIAMS December 1 1921

THE YELLOW STREAK

VALENTINE WILLIAMS

CHAPTER XXIV.

AS THE girl collapsed, the yellowfaced man, with an adroit movement.

whisked the handkerchief off her face and crammed it into his pocket.

Then, while he supported her with one arm, with the other he thrust at the door to close it. Without paying further attention to it he turned, and, bending down, lifted the girl without an effort off her feet and carried her across the room to the Chesterfield, upon which he laid her at full length. Then he seized her muff which dangled from her neck by a thin platinum chain.

Suddenly he heard the door behind him creak. In a flash he remembered that he had not heard the click of the lock as he had thrust the door to. He was springing erect when a firm hand gripped him by the back of the collar and pulled him away from the couch. He staggered back, striving to regain his balance, but then a savage shove flung him head foremost into the fireplace. He fell with a crash among the fire-irons. But he was on his feet again in an instant.

He saw a tall, athletic-looking young man standing at the couch. He had a remarkably square jaw: his eyes

were shining and he breathed heavily. He wore a blue serge suit which was heavily besmeared with white plaster and the trousers were rent across one knee.

Straight at his throat sprang the yellow-faced man. Something struck him half-wây. The young man had waited composedly for his coming but as his assailant advanced, had shot out his left hand. There was a sharp crack and the yellow-faced man, reeling, dropped face downwards on the carpet without a sound. In his fall his foot caught a small table on which a vase of chrysanthemums stood and the whole thing went over with a loud crash. He made a spasmodic effort to rise, hoiked himself on to his knees, swayed again and then collapsed full length on the floor where he lay motionless.

The sound of the fall seemed to awaken the girl. She stirred uneasily once or twice.

“What......what is it?” she muttered and was still

again.

Bending down, the young man gathered her up in his

WHAT’S HAPPENED SO FAR—Mary Treveri agrees lo marry Hartley Parrish, a soulless millionaire, though she loves Robin Greve, a young barrister. Parrish is killed by a pistolshot in his library just after Greve parted with Mary during a quarrel. Circumstantial evidence seems to prove that Greve was in the library when Parrish met his death, and it is discovered that Parrish had ! made provision in his will that all his property was \ to pass to Mary in event of his demise. InspectorDetective Manderton, who personally takes up the case, finally tells Mary he is satisfied that Parrish shot himself, but hints that Greve's presence in the library had something to do with driving him to the act. Jeekes, a shifty-eyed, nervous chief secretary for the dead man, discloses to Mary that Parrish kept a mysterious woman in France. Greve, continually shadowed by detectives, starts to work on a dim theory of his own, based on mysterious blue envelopes Parrish received through the mails periodically. Later disclosures indicate that two shots were fired, one of them from Parrish's pistol, equipped with a silencer, the other from a gun in the hands of the unknown murderer. Mary goes to Holland to investigate certain clues and there she is lured by forgeries to a chateau in the country and drugged. Greve arrives just in timeto see Mary enter the house of the yellou-faced man.

arms and bore her out through the door with the blue curtain, through a plainly furnished sort of office with high desks and stools and out by a side door into a paved yard. There an open car was standing. The fresh air seemed to revive the girl further. As the young man laid her on the seat she struggled up into a sitting position and

passed her hand across her forehead.

“What is the matter with me?” she said in a dazed voice. '1 feel so ill!"

Then catching sight of the young man as he peered into her face she exclaimed:

“Thank God you're all right, Mary," said Robin. “We’ve got not. a moment to lose We must get away from here quick!”

Lf E WAS at the front cranking up the car. But the -*• engine, chilled by the cold air. refused to start. As he was straining at tir» handle a man dashed suddenly into the yard by the office door.

It was Jeekes. The little secretary was a changed man. He till wore his pincenez. But his mild air had utterly forsaken him.* His face was livid, the eyes bulged horribly from his head, and his whole body was trembling with emotion. In his hand he held an automatic pistol.

He came so fast that he was at the car and had covered Robin with his weapon before the other had seen him.

Mr. Jeekes left Robin no time to act. He called out in a voice that rang like a pistol shot: “Hands up, Mr'.

Smartie! Quick, d’you hear? Put ’em up, damn you!”

Slowly, defiantly, the young man raised his arms ahove his head.

Mr. Jeekes stood close to the driver’s seat, having prudently put the car between himself and Robin. As he stood there, his automatic levelled at the young man, a remarkable thing happened. A black, soft surface suddenly fell over his face and was pulled back with a brisk tug. Mary Trevert, standing up in the back sea’ of the car had flung her fur over the secretary’s head from behind and caught him in a noose. Before Mr. Jeekes could disentangle himself Robin was at his throat and had borne him to the ground The pistol was knocked skilfully from his hand and fell clattering on the flags. Robin pounced down on it. Then for the first time he smiled, a sunny smile that lit up his blue eyes.

“Bravo, Mary!” he said. “That was an ideal Now then, Jeekes,” he ordered, “crank up that car And

be quick about it! (Ngt on now! Wo want to be off!

The little secretary tvas»a. lamentable sight. He was bleeding from a cut on the*forehead, his clothes were covered with dust and his glasses had been broken in his fall. Peering helplessly about him. he walked to the bonnet of the car and sullenly grasped the handle. The smile had left Robin’s fac> and Mary noticed that he looked several times anxiously at the office

And then suddenly the engine hit. Handing the pistol to the girl Robin warned hef to keep the secretary covered and leaping into the driving-seat turned the car into the avenue which curved round the house.

MR JEEKES made no further show of fight.

He remained standing in the centre of the courtyard, a ludicrous, rather pathetic figure.

As the tires of the car gritted on the gravel of the drive, the office door was flung open and the yellow-faced man ran out, brandishing a big revolver.

“Stop!" he shouted and levelled his weapon.

The car seemed to leap forward and took the sharp turn on two wheels just as the man fired. The bullet struck the wall of the house and sent up a shower of plaster. Before he could fire again the car was round the house and out of sight.

But as the car whizzed round the turn an instant before the yellow-faced man fired the girl heard a sharp cry from Jeekes:

“Don’t, Victor......!”

The rest of the sentence was lost in the roar of the engine as the car raced away down the drive.

They left the avenue in a splutter of wet gravel.

The gate stood open. They wheeled furiously into the side-road and regained the chaussee. As yet there was no sign of pursuit. The car rocked dangerously over the broken pave so Robin, after a glance behind, steadied her down to an easier pace. Mary, looking very pale and ill, was lying back on the back seat with her eyes closed.

They ran easily into Rotterdam, as, with a terrific jangle of tunes played jerkily on the chimes, the clocks were striking two. Robin slowed down as they approached the centre of the city.

“Where are you staying, Mary?” he asked.

He had to repeat the question several times before she gave him the address. Robin left Mary and the car in charge of the boy and went to the office and asked to see the manager. He had decided upon the story he must tell.

"Miss Trevert,” he said when the manager, a blonde and suave Swiss had presented himself, “has been to the dentist and has been rather upset by the gas. Would you get one of the maids to help her up to her room and in the meantime telephone for a doctor. If there is an English doctor in Rotterdam, I should prefer to have him!” The manager clicked in sympathy He despatched a lady typist and a chambermaid to help Mary out of the car.

“For a doctor,” he said, “it ees fortunate. We ’ave an English doctor staying in ze hotel now—a sheep’s doctor. He is in ze lounge. Eef you come herein.”

'TPHE “sheep’s doctor” proved to be a doctor off one of the big liners, a clean-shaven, red-faced, hearty sort of person who readily volunteered his Servicen As Robin was about to follow him into the lift the manager stopped him.

“Zere was a shentelman called to see Mees Trevert,” he said, “two or three time ’e been ’ere.... a Sherman shentleman. ’ E leave ’er a note. .. .will you take it?” Greatly puzzled Robin Greve balanced in his hands the letter which the manager produced from a pigeon-hole. Then he tor open the envelope.

“Dear Miss Trevert,” he read, “I was extremely sorry to miss you this morning. Directly I received your message I called at your hotel but, though I have been back twice, I have not found you in. Circumstances have arisen which make it imperative that I should see you as soon as possible. This is most urgent. I will come back at four o’clock as I cannot get away before. Do not leave the hotel on any pretext until you have seen me and Dulkinghorn’s letter as identification. You are in grave danger.”

The note was signed “W. Schulz.”

“H’m,” was Robin’s comment. “He writes like an Englishman anyway.”

He ascertained the number of Mary Trevert’s room and went up to her floor in the lift. He waited in (he corridor outside the room for the doctor to emerge and lit a cigarette to while away the time. It was not until he had nearly finished his second cigarette that the doctor appeared.

The doctor hesitated on seeing Robin. Then he stepped close up to him. Robin noticed that his red face was more flushed than usual and his eyes were troubled.

“W hat’s this cock-and-bull story about gas you’ve put up to the manager?” he said bluntly in a low voice. “The girl’s been doped with chloroform as well you know.

You’ll be good enough to come downstairs to the manager with me. ...”

Robin took out his note-case and produced a card. “That’s my name,” he said, “you’ll see that I’m a barrister......”

“Well?” said the doctor in a non-committal voice after he had read the card.

“I’m not surprised to hear you say that Miss Trevert had been doped,” Robin remarked. “I found her here in a house on the outskirts of Rotterdam in the hands of two men, one of whom is believed to be implicated in a mysterious case of suspected murder in England. Through the part he played this morning he has probably run his head in to the noose. But he’ll have it out again if we delay an instant. I told the manager that yarn about the dentist to avoid enquiries and waste of time. I have here a note from some man I don’t know, addressed to Miss Trevert warning her of a grave danger threatening her. It corroborates to some extent what I have told you. Here—read it for yourself!”

He handed the doctor the note signed “W. Schulz.” The doctor read it through carefully.

“What I would propose to you,” said Robin, “is that we two should go off at once to this Herr Schulz and ind out exactly what he knows. Then we can decide

what action there is to be taken.....”

He paused for the doctor’s reply. The latter searched Robin’s face with a glance.

“I’m your man,” he said shortly. “And, by the way, my name’s Collingwood—Robert Collingwood.”

“There’s a car downstairs,” said Robin, “and a guide to show us the way. Shall we go?”

FIVE MINUTES later under the newsboy’s expert guidance, the car drew up in front of the small clean house with the neat green door bearing the name of “Schulz.” Leaving the boy to mind the «ar they rang the bell. The door was opened by the fat woman in the pink print dress.

Robin gave the woman his card. On it he had written, “About Miss Trevert.” Speaking in German the woman bade them roughly to bide where they were and departed after closing the front door in their faces. She did not keep them waiting long, however, for in about a minute she returned. Herr Schulz would receive the gentlemen she said.

Up a narrow staircase, furnished in plain oil-cloth with brass stairrods, they went to a landing on the first floor. Here the woman motioned them back and bending her

head in a listening attitude, knocked firmly on the door. “ Herein!” cried a guttural German voice.

A man was sitting at a mahogany roll-top desk as they entered. The air in the room was thick with the fumes of t he cheap Dutch cigar he was smoking. He was a sturdily built fellow with blonde hair shaven so close to the skull that at a distance he seemed to be bald.

At the sound of their entrance he rose and faced them. When he stood erect the sturdiness of his build became accentuated and they saw he was a man of medium height but so muscular that he looked much shorter. A pair of large tortoise-shell spectacles straddled the big beak-like nose and he wore a heavyish blonde moustache with its points trained upwards and outwards rather after the fashion made famous in the Fatherland by William Hohenzollern. In his ill-cut suit of cheap-looking blue serge which he wore with a pea-green tie, Robin thought he looked altogether a typical specimen of the German of the non-commissioned offie' er class.

“You ask for me?” he said in deep guttural accents, looking at Robin. “I am Herr Schulz!” The German’s manner was cold and formal and Robin felt a little dashed. “My name is Greve,” he began rather hurriedly, “I understand you received a visit to-day from a young English lady, a Miss Trevert....”

The German let his eyes travel slowly from Robin to the doctor and back again. He did not offer them a chair and all three rema'ned standing.

“Ye—es and what if I did?”

Robin felt his temper rising. “You wrote a note to Miss Trevert at her hotel warning her that she was in danger. I want to know why you warned her. What led you to supposethat she was threatened?”

Herr Schulz made a little gesture of" the hand. “Wass I not right to warn her?”

“Indeed you were,” Rob’n asserted , with conviction. “She was spirited

away and drugged... . ”

The German started. A rowning pucker appeared just above the bridgeof his big spectacles and he raised his head quickly.

“Certainly,” said Robin. “This gentleman with me is a doctor.... Dr. Robert Collingwood, of the Red Lion Line. He has examined Miss Trevert and can corroborate my statement.”

“By Gad!” exclaimed Herr Schulz—and this time his English was faultless and fluent—“shut that door behind you, M’-. Greve, and shoot the bolt—that’s it just below the knob! Sit down, sit down and while I mix you a drink, you shall tell me about this!”

CHAPTER XXV

The Reading of The Riddle

IN UTTERING those words Herr Schulz seemed suddenly to become loose-limbed and easy. His plethoric rigidity of manner vanished and, though he spoke with a brisk air of authority, there was a jovial ring in his voicewhich instantly inspired confidence. With the change, the illusion supported by his appalling clothes was broken and he looked like a man dressed up for charades.

“Are you—English?” asked Robin in astonishment. “Only in this room,” was the dry reply, “and don’t you or your friend, the doctor here, forget it. You’ll both take whisky? Three fingers will do you good, Mr. Greve, for I see you’ve had a roughish time this morning. Say when!”

He spurted a siphon into three glasses.

“Before we go any farther,” he went on, “perhaps I had better identify myself—to save any further misunderstandings, don’t you know? Do either of you gentlemen happen to know a party called Dulkinghorn? You may have heard of him, Mr. Greve, for I can see you have been in the army____”

“Not Ernest Dulkinghorn of the war office?” asked Robin.

“I never met him,” said Robin. “But I was at the War Office for a bit before I was demobilised and I heard fellows speak of him. Counter-espionage, isn’t he?” “That’s right,” nodded Herr Schu'z. “You can read his letter to me introducing Miss Trevert.”

He handed a sheet of paper to Robin. “Dear Schulz,” it ran, “Victor Marbran’s push appear to be connected with Hartley Parrish who has just met his death under suspicious circumstances. You will have read about it in the English papers. Miss Trevert was engaged toH.P. and has a letter from Elias van der Spyck and Company which she found on Parrish’s desk after his death. I should say that the Marbran-Parrish connection would repay investigation. Yours, E. Dulkinghorn.

“P.S. The letter is, of course, in conventional code.

“P.P.S. Don’t frighten the life out of the Trevert girl, you unsympathetic brute!”

Robin read the letter through to the end.

“Then Mary Trevert has this letter from Rotterdam which we have been hunting for,” he cried. “Have you seen it?” >

Herr Schulz shook his head.

“Miss Trevert called here this morning,” he said, “when 1 was out. She gave her letter to Frau Wirth, my housekeeper, with her card and address. Frau Wirth was cleaning the plate on the front door and a moment after Miss Trevert had gone a feller appeared and said he was a friend of Miss Trevert who had made a mistake and left the wrong letter. My housekeeper is well trained and wouldn’t give the letter up. But she made the fatal mistake of telling the feller exactly what he wanted to know

and that was whom the letter was addressed to. ‘The letter is addressed to Herr Schulz,’ said this excellent woman, ‘and if there’s any mistake he will find it out when he opens it.’ And ,with that she told him to clear out. Which, having got all he wanted, he was glad enough to do.” “What was this chap like?” asked Robin.

The big man shrugged his shoulders.

“I can teach my servants discretion," he replied whimsically, “but I can’t teach ’em to use their eyes. Frau Wirth could remember nothing about this feller except

that he wasn’t tall and wore a brown overcoat......”

“Jeekes,” cried Robin, slapping his thigh. “He must have been actually coming away from your place when I met him......”

“And who,” asked the big man, reflectively contemplating the amber fluid in his glass, “who is Jeekes?”

In reply Robin told him the story of Hartley Parrish’s

death, his growing certain#» letters on slatey-blue paper and Jeekes1 enoeavour to burke the investigations by throwing on Robin the suspicion of having driven Parrish to suicide by threats. He told of his chance meeting with Jeekes in Rotterdam that morning, his adventure at the Villa Bergendal, his finding and rescue of Mary Trevert and their escape.

HERR SCHULZ listened attentively and without interruption until Robin had reached the end of his

“There’s one thing you haven’t explained,” he said, “and that’s how Miss Trevert came to walk into the hands

of these precious ruffians......”

“There, perhaps, I can help you,” sáid the doctor from behind one of Herr Schulz’s rank cigars. “I have it from Continued on Page 55

Continued from, page 31

Miss Trevert herself. Someone impersonating you Mr.—er—ahem—Schulz—telephoned her this morning, after she had left her letter of introduction here, asking her to come out to lunch at your country-house. She suspected nothing and went off in the car they sent for her. . ”

“By George!” said the big man thoughtfully, “I suspected some game of this kind when I heard of the attempt to get at that letter of introduction. If I only could have got hold of Marbran this morning. ...”

“Marbran!” said Robin, thoughtfully. “When I read Dulkinghorn’s letter just now I thought I had heard that name before. Of course—Victor Marbran! That was it! I remember now! He knew Hartley Parrish in the old days. Parrish once said that Marbran would do him an injury if he could. Who is Marbran?”

“Victor Marbran,” replied the big man, “is Elias van der Spyck and Co., a firm which made millions in the war by trading with the enemy. In every neutral country there were, of course, firms which specialised in importing contraband for the use of the Germans, but van der Spyck and Co. brought the evasion of the blockade to a fine art. They covered up their tracks, however, with such consummate art that we could never bring anything home to them. In fact, it was only after the armistice that we began to learn something of the immense scope of their operations. There was a master brain behind them. But it was never discovered. It strikes me, however, that we are on the right track at last....

“I wonder what this van der Spyck letter of Miss Trevert’s contained that made Victor Marbran and the secretary chap so desperately anxious to get hold

of it. For you understand don’t you?’’ he said briskly turning to Robin, “that they were after that and that alone. And they risked penal servitude in this country to get it. . . . ”

Robin nodded. “To save their necks in another,” he said.

“I have the letter here,” mildly remarked the doctor from his corner of the room. “Miss Trevert gave it to me!”

HE PRODUCED a white envelope and drew from it a folded square of slatey-blue paper. In great excitement Robin sprang forward.

“You’re a downy bird, Doctor, I must say,” he remarked, “fancy keeping it up your sleeve all this time!”

He eagerly took the letter, spread it out on the table and read it through whilst Herr Schulz looked over his shoulder.

“Code, eh?” commented the big man shaking his head humourously, “if it beats Dulkinghorn, it beats me!”

From his note-case Robin now drew a folded square of paper identical in colour with the letter spread out before them.

“I found this on the carpet beside Parrish’s body,” he said. “Look, it’s exactly the same paper ...”

Behind the tortoise-shell spectacles the big man’s eyes narrowed down to pinpoints as he caught sight of the sheet which Robin unfolded and its series of

“Aha!” he cried—and his voice rang out clear through the room—“the grill eh? Well, well, to think of that!”

He took the slotted sheet of paper from Robin’s hands and laid it over the letter so that it exactly covered it, edge to edge and corner to corner. In this way the greater part, of the typewriting in the letter was covered over and only the words ap-

pearing in the slots could be read. And thus it was that Robin Greve, Herr Schulz and Dr. Collingwood, leaning shoulder to shoulder, read the message that came to Hartley Parrish in the library at Harkings

“ ‘The last......warning, Robin

read out, “ ‘if you don’t......settle. . .

by Nov. 27 you----die......!”

He looked up. “Last Saturday,” he said, “was the 27th, the day that Parrish died ...”

“The grill,” remarked the big man authoritatively, “is one of the oldest dodges known to the Secret Service. It renders a conventional code absolutely undecipherable as long as it is skilfully worded as it is in this case. You send your conventional code by one route, your key by another. I make no doubt that this was the way in which van der Spyck & Co. transacted their business with Hartley Parrish. They simply posted their conventional code letters through the post in the ordinary way, confident that there was nothing in them to catch the eye of the censor’s department. The key might tie sent in half a dozen different ways—by hand, concealed in a newspaper, in a parcel. . . . ”

“So this,” said Robin, pointing at the letter, “was what caused Hartley Parrish to make his will. It would lead one to suppose that it was what induced him to commit suicide were not the presumption so strong that he was murdered. But who killed him? Was it Jeekes or Marbran?”

Herr Schulz pitched his cigar stump into an ash tray.

“That,” he said, “is the question which I am going to ask you gentlemen to help me answer. You will realise that legally we have not a leg to stand on. We are in a foreign country where, without first getting a warrant from London we can take no steps whatever to run these fellows in. To get the Dutch police to move against these gentry in the matter of the assault upon Miss Trevert would waste valuable time. And we have to move quickly,—before these two lads can get away. I therefore propose that we start this instant for the Villa Bergendal and try, if we are not too late, to force Marbran or Jeekes or both of them to a confession. That done we can hold them if possible until we can get the Dutch police to apprehend them at the instance of Miss Trevert. Then we can communicate with the English police. It’s all quite illegal of course! You have a car, I think Mr. Greve. You will come with us, Dr. Collingwood? Good! Then let us start at once!”

ROBIN intervened with a proposal that they should call en route at his hotel to see if there were any telegrams for him.

“Manderton knows I am in Rotterdam”, he explained, “and he promised to wire me the latest developments in the enquiry

he is conducting......”

“Miss Trevert should be fully recovered by this,” put in the doctor, “apart from a little sickness she is really none the worse for her disagreeable experience. If there was anything you wanted to ask her. ...” “There is,” said Robin promptly. “Her reply to one question,” he explained turning to Herr Schulz, “will give us the certainty that Parrish was murdered and did not commit suicide. It will not delay us more than five minutes to stop at her hotel in passing. We will then call in at my place. We should be at the Villa within half an hour from now....” “Gentlemen,” said Herr Schulz as they prepared to go. “I know my Mr. Victor Marbran. You should all he armed.” Robin produced the pistol he had taken from Jeekes. Herr Schulz slipped a Browning pistol into the breast pocket of his jacket and producing a long-barreled service revolver, gave it to the doctor.

‘‘There are three of them I gather, counting the chauffeur,” commented the big man pulling on his overcoat, “so we shall be equally matched. . . .”

Darkness had fallen upon Rotterdam and the lights from the houses made yellow streaks in the water of the canal as the car, piloted by Robin, drove the party to Mary Trevert’s hotel. They found the girl, pale and anxious, in the lounge.

“Well, now,” cried, the doctor breezily, “and how are you" feeling? Did you take my advice and have some tea?” “What has happened?” asked the girl. “I have been so anxious about you

Her words were addressed to the doctor but she looked at Robin.

“Mary,” said Robin, “we are very near the truth now. But there is one thing you can tell us. It is very important. When you heard the shot in the library at Harkings did you notice any other sound—before or after?...”

‘ ‘There was a sort of sharp cry and a thud......”

“I know. But was there anything else? Do try and remember. It’s so important!” The girl was silent for a moment. Then she said slowly:

"Yes, there was now I come to think of it. Just as I tried the door—it was locked, you know—there was a sort of hiss, harsh, and rather loud, from the room....”

“A sort of hiss, eh? Something like a sneeze?” .

“Yes. Only louder and. and. . harsher!” “Now answer me carefully! Was this before or after the shot?”

“Oh, before! Just as I was rattling the door handle. The shot broke in upon it. .. .”

ROBIN turned to Herr Schulz who stood with a grave face by his side.

“The silencer, you see, Sir!” he said Then to Mary he added:

“Mary, we are going off now. But we will be back within the hour and .” “Oh, Robin,” the girl broke in, “don’t leave me alone. I don’t feel safe in this place after this morning. I’d much rather come with you

“Mary, it’s quite impossible,” Robin began.

But the girl had turned to a table and taken from it her hat and fur.

“I don’t care,” she exclaimed wilfully, “I’m coming anyhow. I refuse to be left behind!”

She smiled at Herr Schulz as she spoke and that gentleman’s rather grim face relaxed as he looked at her.

“I’m not sure I wouldn’t say the same!” he remarked.

The upshot of it was that, despite Robin’s objections, Mary Trevert accompanied the party. She sat on the back seat, rather flushed and excited, between Herr Schulz and the doctor, while Robin took the wheel again. A few minutes drive took them to the big hotel where Robin had booked a room. They all waited in the car whilst he went to the office.

He was back in a "minute, an open telegram in his hand.

“I believe I’ve got in my pocket,” he cried, “the actual weapon with which Hartley Parrish was killed!”

And he read from the telegram: “Mastertons gunsmith sold last July pair of Browning automatics identical with that found on Parrish to Jeekes who paid with Parrishs cheque.”

The message was signed “Manderton.”

AT THAT moment a man wearing a black bowler that and a heavy frieze overcoat came hurrying out of the hotel.

“Mr. Greve!” he cried as Robin, who was back in the driving seat, was releasing the brake.

“Did you have the wire from the Yard saying I was coming?” he asked. “Probably I beat the telegraph, though. I came by air!”

Then he tipped his hat respectfully at Herr Schulz.

“This is Detective Inspector Manderton of Scotland Yard, Sir,” said Robin.

The big man beamed a smile of friendly recognition.

“Mr. Manderton and I are old friends, he said. “How are you Manderton? I didn’t expect you to recognise me in these duds......”

“I’d know you anywhere, Sir,’ said the detective with unwonted cordiality.

“Have you got your warrant, Manderton?” asked Herr Schulz.

“Aye, I have, Sir,” replied the detective, “and I’ve a colleague from the Dutch police who’s going along with me

to effect the arrest......”

njGGkGs eh?”

“That’s the party, Sir, charged with wilful murder ...This is Commissary Boomjes, of the Rotterdam Criminal Investigation Department!”

A tall man with a short black beard had approached the car. It was decided that the whole party should proceed to the Villa Bergendal immediately. Manderton sat next to Robin and the Dutch police officer perched himself on the footboard. ■ . , , .

“And where did you pick him up, I d like to know?” whispered Manderton in

Robin’s ear with a backward jerk of the head as they glided through the brightly lit streets.

“D’you mean the doctor?” asked Robin.

“No, your other friend!”

“Miss Trevert had a letter to him. Something in the Secret Service isn’t he!?”

Mr. Manderton snorted.

“ ‘Something in the Secret Service’ he repeated disdainfully. “Well, I should say he was. If you want to know, Mr. Greve, he’s the head!”

The Figure in the Doorway

THE rain was coming down in torrents and the night was black as pitch when, leaving the lights of Rotterdam behind, the car swung out on to the main road leading to the Villa Bergendal. Thanks to a powerful headlight Robin was able to get a good turn of speed out of her as soon as they were clear of the city. As they slowed down at the gate in the side road Herr Schulz tapped him on the shoulder.

“Better leave the car here and put the lights out,” he counselled. “And Miss Trevert should stay if the doctor here would remain to look after her. . . .”_ “You think there’ll be a scrap?” whispered the doctor.

“With a man like Marbran,” returned the Chief “you never know what may happen. . ...”

“Zere will be no faight,” commented the Dutch police officer in lugubrious accents, “my vriends, ve are too laite. ...” But the Chief insisted that Mary should stay behind and the doctor agreed to act as her escort. Then in single file the party proceeded up the drive, Robin in front, then the Dutchman, after him the Chief and Mr. Manderton in the rear.

They walked on the grass edging the avenue. On the wet turf their feet made no sound. When they came in view of the house they saw it was in darkness. No light shone in any window and the only sound to be heard was the melancholy patter of the rain drops on the laurel bushes. When they saw the porch bulking black before them they left the grass and stepped gently across the drive, the gravel crunching softly beneath their feet. Robin led the way boldly under the porch and laid a hand on the door knob. The door opened easily and the next moment the four men were in the hall.

As Robin moved to the wall to find the electric light switch, a torch was silently thrust into his hand.

“Better have this, Sir,” whispered Manderton. “I have my finger on the switch now but we’d best wait to put the light up until we know where they are. Where do we go first?”

“Into the sitting-room,” Robin returned. Switching the torch on and off only as he required it he crept silently over the heavy carpet to the door of the room in which that morning he had come upon Mary. Manderton remained at the switch in the hall while the other two men followed Robin through the door.

The room was in darkness. It struck chill; for the fire had gone out. The beam of the torch flitting from wall to wall showed the room to be empty.

“I don’t believe there’s a soul in the house,” whispered the Chief to Robin.

“Ve are too laite; I have said it!” muttered the Dutchman.

“There is another room leading out of this,” replied Robin turning the torch on to the blue curtain covering the door leading into the office. “We’ll have a look in there and then try upstairs. Manderton will give us warning if anybody comes down ...”

QO SAYING he drew the curtain aside kJ and pushed open the door. Instantly a gush of cold air blew the curtain back in his face. Before he could disentangle himself the door slammed to with a crash that shook the house.

“That’s done it!” muttered the Chief. The three men stood and listened. They heard the dripping of the rain, the soughing of the wind but no sound of human kind came to their ears.

“The place is empty,” whispered the

Chief. "They’ve cleared......”

“It is too laite; I have said it.” The Dutchman spoke in a hoarse bass.

“We’ll go in here anyway,” answered Robin lifting up the curtain again. “They

may have heard us and be hiding.....”

To be Concluded