FICTION

The Case of the PAINTED GIRL

The Tiger is traced to his lair and a glimmer of light falls on a profound mystery

FRANK KING April 15 1932
FICTION

The Case of the PAINTED GIRL

The Tiger is traced to his lair and a glimmer of light falls on a profound mystery

FRANK KING April 15 1932

The Case of the PAINTED GIRL

The Tiger is traced to his lair and a glimmer of light falls on a profound mystery

FRANK KING

The story: While motoring from London to Scotland at night, Jimmy Harrison is halted at a lonely house by a scream. He enters by a window and finds a recently murdered man; also a girl, her face curiously covered with paint, lying unconscious. Recovering, she states that she is Myra Livingstone, a London shop girl; that she was drugged and kidnapped for an unbunvn reason.

Jimmy is slightly wounded by a dagger thrown through the window. Leaving the room to search the house, he returns to find Myra gone. A pseudo constable, "Sergeant Grimes,” enters and knocks Jimmy unconscious for a few minutes; then a real constable, Fothergiil, arrives and states that the dead man is Gregory Walker, who was supposed to have been recently buried. Walker’s grave is found empty.

Myra Livingstone, frightened out of the house when Jimmy left her, hides in his car and is driven to the village of Soyland, where Jimmy is detained by the police. She hides in a barn loft there, fires at a midnight intruder who escapes. Later a body is discovered in the loft.

Inspector Gloom from Scotland Yard finds that the body is that of Black Ferguson, which was buried, because the face was burned away, as Gregory Walker’s. Walker, who really was killed in the big house, was a mysterious local resident. His body is stolen from a mortuary. Gloom thinks that boh■ Ferguson and Walker were members of a lawless gang headed by “The Tiger.” Why they were killed, and why Myra Livingstone was kidnapped, remains a mystery.

Myra is kidnapped again! A local visitor, posing as an antiquarian named Topp, spirits her away in a car. Topp is really the dreaded Tiger.

Creeping into another lonesome house where he has reason to believe that Myra is held, Jimmy narrowly escapes death from the Tiger’s gang. Myra is spirited away to London, atul Jimmy and Gloom trace her to a place there. Jimmy learns that Gregory Walker was once mixed up with gangsters in Chicago and eloped from there with one Irma Fredoni, daughter of a gangster.

Besieged by Gloom and his men in the London house, the Tiger’s gang nevertheless escape, and in a room Jimmy finds Myra, murdered -at least he thinks it is she.

Jimmy is informed by two American underworld characters named Tiny Bancroft and Lena Cadomo who break into his apartment that he was seen with Irma Fredoni. After binding him, they leave. Reasoning that Irma Fredoni and Myra Livingstone must look alike, Jimmy, after releasing himself, dashes back to Bancroft’s flat with Gloom and finds there the body of Gregory Walker. It is wrapped like a mummy and lies in a box addressed to a New York museum.

Jimmy and Gloom hear the grating of a key in the door lock.

WHEN Tiny Bancroft and Lena Cadomo left Jimmy Harrison’s flat after depositing him in the cupboard, they had no idea that they were being followed. They did not see Inspector Gloom in the car behind them. They were too absorbed in the difficulty of the task which faced them to worry about much else.

"Queer business, Lena,” muttered Tiny when they were held up in a traffic block, “not knowin’ whether Irma's dead or whether this Tiger guy has got her.”

“It’s a tough proposition,” agreed the woman thoughtfully. “If she’s dead, the cops have charge of her, and we’ve a heck of a chance of pinchin’ her. If she’s not dead—well, the Tiger’s evidently fitted her into some racket, and he’ll not give her up on your say so. I guess we’d best ship Walker olf and get back to Chicago while the goin’s good.”

“We can’t do that, Lena. AÍ wouldn’t stand for it.” “He’s loco.”

“I know he is. Makes it all the worse. He’ll give us the works if we don’t do what he said.”

“It’s a crazy notion, anyhow.”

“Course it is. But we’ve gotta do it. And we’ve gotta work quick now. That guy Harrison’s seen our mugs. We can’t stay long in London.”

“You should have bumped him off.”

“You give me a pain. What good would that do? Besides, he may be useful. If these two frails are so much alike, how are we goin’ to know which is which? Especially if one is dead and the other drugged?”

Lena Cadomo shrugged her shoulders impatiently.

“Well, what are we goin’ to do?”

“We’d better take a look at this place where the girl was found stabbed.”

“Know where it is?”

“There’s a map at the flat, isn’t there? We can trace out a route. No need to ask anybody a question.”

“And when we get there?”

“How do I know? Keep our eyes and ears open to begin with. Somethin’ may turn up. It didn’t look so easy to get Walker, did it? But we got him. Maybe they’ve identified the body by now. If it is Irma, we may get a chance of doin’ somethin’.”

The woman shrugged again.

“Okay with me,” she said briefly. “But I’d just as soon be gettin’ a steamboat ticket, and I don’t mean maybe.”

At the flat in Fitzgerald Square they looked up a large scale map of London, and made careful notes of the route to be taken to reach Grundy’s Wharf in Wapping. When they came out to the car again, they had no suspicion that the two men chatting by the curb were detectives posted there by Gloom. Nor did they notice the taxi that followed their somewhat circuitous course to Wrapping.

A few streets away from Grundy’s Wharf, Tiny Bancroft stopped the car.

“We’ll walk on,” he said, lighting a cigarette, “and give the place the once over. Maybe the body’s not been moved away yet. If we can get the right dope on where it’s goin’, we might make a plan for snafflin’ it.”

“We don’t know that it’s Irma yet,” objected Lena. “Might be that Livingstone girl.”

“We’ll have to risk that. If there’s a chance, we must take it No harm done if it turns out later that we haven’t got Irma.”

They found the street of warehouses behind Grundy’s Wharf without any difficulty, and soon discovered the little house squeezed in among them. As they strolled along on the opposite side, they noticed a police constable wandering about in the yard.

“The dicks are still busy,” observed Bancroft, a puzzled frown on his broad, fleshy face. “No chance of gettin’ in just now. What do you think, Lena?”

“How’d it be if I talked to the cop?”

“You can’t vamp ’em like that.”

“I’m not goin’ to vamp anyone. Lissen, bonehead. That guy, Harrison, thought it was his girl that had been stabbed. He knew nothin’ about Irma. That means the cops think the same—that the corpse is Myra Livingstone. Suppose I’m a friend of hers, told about the tragedy by Hamson. They’ll tell me what they can, won’t they? Might even let me see her.”

“By heck, you’re right, Lena! They can’t know who Harrison’s told about it.”

Tiny Bancroft glanced along the grimy street to which their stroll had brought them. There was a public house at the end, just opening.

“I’ll wait for you in the speakeasy?” he suggested.

“Okay. I’ll pull this better on my own. And I’ll need a drink after doin’ a weep.”

I ENA CADORNO retraced her steps, screwing up J her eyes to bring tears to them. After watching her for a moment with a satisfied grin. Tiny Bancroft lounged down the street and entered the public house.

He was not at all anxious. Lena was a good worker. She knew how to look after herself. He ordered a whisky and soda, and sat down in the empty bar parlor to wait.

He had hardly finished his drink when she appeared. He knew at once from the frown on her hard-featured face that something was wrong. He rang the bell and ordered two more whiskies.

“Well?” he asked eagerly when the landlord had set the glasses before them. “What’s happened?”

“We’ve got all balled up, Tiny. Best take those steamboat tickets.”

“No one got wise to you?”

Lena shook her peroxided head disdainfully.

“No, the cop fell for me all right. He gave me all the dope. We’re too late, Tiny. The corpse has vanished already.”

“Vanished?”

“Yeah. Stolen!”

Tiny Bancroft’s jaw dropped as his companion told him of the theft of the painted girl’s body from the police ambulance.

“Well, I’m blowed!” he muttered, swallowing his drink. “Who could—it must have been that Tiger guy.” “Looks like it. But why should he want the body?” “Ask me another. And after killin’ her too. He’s got ’em both now—the live girl and the corpse.” “That’s how it seems, Tiny. But maybe we’ve got it all wrong. We don’t know which girl is killed, we don’t know who killed her. We don’t even know what’s become of either of ’em. There isn’t much chance of doin’ anythin’ more, so far as I can see. Looks like we’ve bitten too big a mouthful.”

“It’s a rotten proposition, anyway.”

They were sombrely discussing the problem when a man entered the bar parlor. He was a quiet, unassuming kind of individual, middle-aged, with jet black hair, very dark eyebrows and short side whiskers. After a courteous “Good morning,” he sat down in a comer and ordered a drink.

Tiny Bancroft watched him casually while continuing the conversation, but in a moment he broke off a sentence with a muffled exclamation of astonishment. The man had raised his glass and there was a curious twist to his little finger as he did so. While drinking he turned to look directly at the other two occupants.

That curious twist of the finger was a sign by which members of the Fredoni organization in Chicago indicated a desire to communicate with fellow members in circumstances which did not allow of open approach. In this instance, of course, it might be an accident. But Tiny raised his glass and his own finger assumed the same twist. The stranger immediately left the comer and crossed the room.

“Good morning,” he said again, taking the empty chair next to Lena. “I thought you were two of Al’s folks.”

“AÍ?” queried Tiny as though he did not understand. The stranger raised his dark eyebrows.

“Isn’t the sign enough?” he asked irritably. “My name's Morcutt. I’m Al’s chief representative in England. Liquor, you know. You’re the two he sent over to get Gregory Walker and Irma, aren't you?”

“Yeah,” said Tiny cautiously. “And suppose we are? Where do you come in?”

“I happened to be passing while the young lady was talking to the policeman.”

"I saw you,” agreed Lena. “I was just wonderin’ where I’d seen you before.”

“As a matter of fact, I was trying to pick up some information,” Morcutt went on. “I overheard the constable telling you that the body of the stabbed girl had been stolen, and I guessed what you were after. I followed you along here, and as soon as I saw the two of you together I knew my guess was right.”

“And what’s the racket?” asked Tiny, his fleshy, white face puzzled. “I don’t get what you—”

“My job’s to help you. I got a cable from AÍ yesterday. He’s getting impatient. Thinks you’ve been too long.”

“We’ve got Walker,” protested Lena.

“I know you have. And probably AÍ doesn’t appreciate the difficulties of working over here. Anyhow he asked me to take a hand.” Morcutt smiled slightly. “I don’t usually touch anything outside my own particular line, but in this case there were reasons— Never mind! I knew from the papers that you’d got Walker. My first job was to locate Irma.”

j^JORCUTT rang the bell and ordered another round of

“I had an extraordinary stroke of luck,” he continued when the landlord had gone. "I have dealings, which do not concern us at the moment, with this man called the Tiger. As a matter of fact, he’s butting in a little. I went to the house on Grundy’s Wharf early this morning, taking one or two friends with me, quite ignorant of the fact that the Tiger was mixed up in this other business. I found the place swarming with police—one of them well known to me. From him I learned that the place had been raided, and that the Tiger had escaped, leaving behind a dead girl called Myra Livingstone whom he had kidnapped. I also learned that this girl had her face heavily painted, and at once I thought of Irma. It was impossible to get a look at her, so I decided I’d better risk it. Once the body was removed to the mortuary, there’d be mighty little chance of getting it. We held up the ambulance on its way and—well, you can collect Irma as soon as you want.”

Tiny Bancroft stared at the speaker with startled eyes. “You’ve got her? I say, Morcutt! Are you—are you sure it’s her?”

“Quite sure.”

“There are two of ’em. Dead ringers.”

“That’s curious.” Morcutt listened with surprise to the news that there were actually two girls concerned. “I thought Irma had been calling herself Livingstone for some reason. Evidently the 1 iger s playing a deep game which takes some understanding. Well, you’d better come and have a look at what I’ve got. You’ll be able to tell whether she s Irma or not.”

“I don’t know. I couldn’t spot the difference in a photograph. Still, we’d better come, hadn t we, Lena?”

“Sure. Where is she, Mr. Morcutt?”

“I’ll take you straight to her now.” Morcutt finished his drink and rose to his feet. “Got a car about?”

“Parked a few streets away.”

“Right. Come along.”

They left the public house and walked through the dingy streets. They talked about Gregory Walker, and Bancroft told how they proposed to smuggle the body into America in the guise of a mummy.

“A great idea,” laughed Morcutt. ‘ Where is he now?”

“At the flat in Fitzgerald Square."

“You’ll do the same with Irma, 1 suppose?”

“Yeah," agreed Tiny. “If it is Irma.”

Under Morcutt’s expert guidance, he drove the car deeper into the mazes of dockland, through squalid streets full of squalling children. As they made their way farther east, he noticed that the children began to look different. Their faces were rounder and yellower, their eyes curiously oblique. "Chinks, aren't they?” he asked.

“Yes,” replied Morcutt. "We’re in Limehouse now. First to the right, then second to the left.”

They stopped eventually before a greasy looking building which was obviously a restaurant. The signboard above it announced, in both Chinese and English lettering, that it was “The Palace of a Thousand Savors,” and that it was the property of one Chang Luey Foy. Through the steamed windows of its dingy front could be seen many Chinamen seated round small tables.

"Safe to ride up in a car?” asked Tiny Bancroft.

“Lord, yes!” replied Morcutt. "The street will be blocked with them in half an hour. Chang’s restaurant is one of the show places of London’s Chinatown.”

He led the way along a narrow passage that flanked the building, and through a small glass door at the end. Beyond it was darkness. But a bell attached to the door tinkled as it opened, and almost immediately a light was switched on. They found themselves on a narrow landing, with stairs leading both up and down.

A Chinaman in a gorgeous flowing robe and flapping slippers descended from the floor above and approached them. As his beady, glittering eyes rested on Morcutt, he bowed low. Then he turned without a word and disappeared up the stairs again.

"Chang’s a good friend of mine,” laughed Morcutt. “Notice that he didn’t see you? Never even looked at you; so obviously it would be impossible for him to recognize you again. Cautious fellows, these Chinks. Come on. The girl’s downstairs.”

Again he led the way down a flight of stone stairs and along a short damp corridor, flashing an electric torch which he had picked up from a niche at the top of the stairs. At the turn of the corridor he paused before a heavy wooden door, and took a key from a nail on the wall close by.

“It’ll be a queer mixup if you can’t identify her,” he said, unlocking the door and pushing it open. He pressed a hidden switch, and a light flared up inside the room. “I hope my trouble this morning wasn’t wasted.” lie held the door open, allowing the others to enter. As Tiny Bancroft crossed the threshold, a rope noose fell round his neck and dragged him, kicking furiously, from his feet. He had just time to see that I^ena Cadomo had suffered similar treatment before consciousness left him.

AT THE first sound of the key in the outer door of the flat in Fitzgerald Square, Gloom had looked round the tiny kitchen in search of a possible hiding place. Another door leading into a cramped bathroom offered the only prospect.

"It can’t be Bancroft and the woman.” he muttered, pushing Jimmy through the door, “or we’d have been warned by the signal we arranged. Better lie low until we see who it is.”

He pulled the door to behind them, leaving a half-inch crack through which they could watch the kitchen. They could hear someone moving about in the room beyond as though searching it. For quite a while they waited, motionless, scarcely daring to breathe. Eventually footsteps approached and a man came into view, halting abruptly at sight of the gruesome contents of the case on the table.

He was a stranger to both of them, middle-aged, with jet black hair, very dark eyebrows and short side whiskers. He stared at the livid features of the dead man in the box in perfectly natural surprise. Then a flicker of doubt crossed his face and he turned away.

Gloom drew a long breath.

“Wait a minute, you !” Darting from the bathroom, he placed himself between the stranger and the door, barring the way out. "A very unpleasant spectacle, isn’t it?” he continued lugubriously.

The other’s dark eyebrows lifted, but he showed no flurry or perturbation at the inspector’s sudden appearance.

“It is," he agreed. “Very unpleasant, indeed.”

“So unpleasant that you were going to hurry away?” “Naturally. To call the police.”

"No need for that.” Gloom shook his tonsured head slowly. “Even the police can’t bring back life to a dead man." He sighed as though his heart were breaking. “Would you mind telling us your business here?”

“I should object most emphatically until I know your authority to ask.”

“I’m Inspector Gloom, of Scotland Yard. Hateful though the task is, I have to investigate the murder of this man here.”

The stranger emitted a low whistle.

"That’s a relief,” he said fervently. "I was frightened that you and your friend—er—might have been responsible for this”—with a gesture toward the mummy case—"and that inadvertently I had walked into a pretty tight comer.” “A comer is alvrays tight,” murmured Gloom moodily, “if you’re far enough in it. Perhaps you won’t mind answering my question now?”

“Not at all. My name is Morcutt. I am agent for the Fitzgerald estate, and so have to deal with the letting and supervision of these flats. Just over a month ago, I let this particular flat to an American gentleman and his wife. As they had no references, being over here on a short visit only, they paid four weeks’ rent in advance. Just before the end of the month, I called to see if they intended staying longer. I have called several times since, but never once have I been able to catch them in. The caretaker could tell me nothing much about them, so I decided I’d better take a look round the flat and see if I could pick up any information about them. I seem to have stumbled into quite a lot.”

“A very unsavory business,” agreed Gloom mournfully. "I’m sorry to tell you that these two Americans are desperate criminals. I believe they are responsible for this murder, and I am trying to trap them. When I heard your key in the lock I thought it was them returning.”

He went on to speak of the difficulties the house agent is up against, of the curious people he must meet in the course of his work. Jimmy found a breathless excitement growing up in him. There was something in the air that he did not understand. Gloom was lying shamelessly to Morcutt. Quite evidently he did not believe the man’s story. He was playing with him, awaiting an opportunity for—what?

"Now that you’re here, perhaps you’ll give us your help in our investigations?” the inspector continued. “Your knowledge of this building may be useful.”

“Certainly,” said Mr. Morcutt readily. “Anything that I can do—”

“For a beginning, I want to lift this case to the floor. It’s rather heavy.”

“I’ll give you a hand with pleasure.”

Morcutt reached for one end of the case. As his arms extended there was a sudden jingle and a snap. Handcuffs glittered coldly round his wrists.

“What the—” he cried, straightening. “What is the meaning—”

“It means the game’s up.” said Gloom. “So far up that it’s busted entirely.” He ran skilful fingers over his prisoner’s clothes. “Dear me,” he went on sorrowfully, bringing an automatic from a hip pocket and another from under the left arm. “You seem to have caught the American craze for firearms, too. I should hardly have thought an estate agent’s job was so dangerous.”

FOR a moment Morcutt’s eyes blazed furiously and he strained at the handcuffs. Then his tense muscles relaxed.

“I’m afraid I’ve rather underrated you, inspector,” he said, forcing a smile. "Your pessimism is most misleading. And you don’t waste much time, do you? I guessed you were around as soon as I saw that the wrappings had been cut from the—er—mummy; but you didn’t give me a chance to get away.”

Gloom’s corpselike face showed no sign of exultation. “No,” he agreed solemnly. “I never do if I can help it. I hope you won’t be foolish enough to make any further attempt to escape. If you do, I shall shoot you with your own gun, regulations or no regulations.”

Jimmy was listening in amazement. He had been just as surprised as Morcutt by the sudden handcuffing.

“Who is this man?” he asked.

“I think,” said Gloom slowly, “that he must be our old friend the Tiger.”

“The Tiger!” gasped Jimmy, incredulous. Surely it was impossible that they had captured their enemy so easily and unexpectedly. "You really believe he’s the Tiger?”

“I think so,” repeated Gloom. “I noticed that the lower end of one of his side whiskers was not very closely attached to the skin. A man who comes here in disguise, lying about his reason for coming, is almost bound to be the Tiger. We’ll make sure.”

He caught one of Morcutt’s side whiskers and pulled. It came away in his hand. Its fellow followed quickly; and when the dark eyebrows had been removed Jimmy could easily recognize the placid features of Mr. Topp, the Tiger.

They had got him at last ! Handcuffed and helpless. The whole horrible business was over. In a few moments they would know whether Myra was alive or dead.

“There’s a very excellent wig as well,” Gloom went on, removing his captive’s hat and fingering the hair. “Extraordinarily natural.” He pulled at the hair and the wig came away, disclosing the familiar bald head, its polished smoothness now marred by a piece of sticking plaster. "Some day. perhaps, you’ll tell me where you—”

He broke off, choking. A tiny glass capsule came away with the wig and broke into tinkling fragments on the floor. From it rose a thick cloud of yellowish gas which spread instantaneously through the room.

Jimmy’s heart stopped beating. He felt a terrible pressure round his throat. His muscles utterly refused to function. His legs collapsed beneath him and he crumpled up on the floor in a helpless heap.

Gloom dropped beside him. The Tiger approached through the yellow fog. holding his breath. Fumbling in the inspector’s waistcoat pocket, he found the key and unlocked the handcuffs, then placed the key in his pocket. With them he quickly fastened Jimmy’s right ankle and Gloom's left wrist together. Then he dashed to the

window, opened it, and took a deep breath of fresh air.

“Sorry you found my booby trap, inspector,” he sneered, returning to pick up his hat and the automatics. “But you must admit that you looked for it.”

A moment later he had disappeared down the fire escape, leaving the window open.

It seemed an age, though it wás probably not more than a minute, before the pressure round Jimmy’s throat relaxed and some life returned to his limbs. After its first complete suspension, his heart had started beating with tremendous rapidity. It now began to slow down to a more normal rate.

He rolled slowly over and looked at Gloom. The inspector, talking at the time the glass capsule broke, had inhaled a larger dose of the gas. His face was still livid, his mouth open and gasping. But as Jimmy edged toward him he began to recover. Before the yellow fog had completely vanished from the room he was able to sit up.

After a while they managed to crawl crablike into the living room of the flat, to open the window and beckon the detective in the square to come up.

With a master key, the latter unlocked the handcuffs and released Gloom and Jimmy, his eyes wide with surprise.

“Seen anything of a bald-headed man in a grey trilby and blue suit with pinstripes?” snapped Gloom.

“No, sir.”

“He went down this fire escape. There’s a hundred pounds reward if he’s caught.”

“A thousand!” corrected Jimmy.

WITHOUT waiting to hear more, the detective vanished ** down the escape. Gloom staggered to the telephone and spoke into it curtly for a while. Then he dropped on to the settee beside Jimmy.

It did not take long for the effects of the gas to dissipate. But by the time the two victims felt capable of moving, police had arrived to remove the body of Gregory Walker, and Bloomsbury was swarming with plainclothes men searching for the Tiger.

“We can’t do anything more ourselves,” said Gloom wearily. “We’ll get back to the Yard. Perhaps something has turned up.”

The fresh air banished the last traces of dizziness. Physically, Jimmy now felt no worse for the adventure. But a cold despondency had gripped him. The Tiger had escaped them once more. They would never catch him. They would never see Myra again.

As they drove through the sunny streets Gloom laid a hand on his knee.

“I’m sorry, son,” he said, breaking a long silence.

“It’s damnable!” muttered Jimmy between clenched teeth. “But you’re not to blame.”

"I had him, son. And I let him go.”

“So did I. It wasn’t our fault. Whoever would think of a poison gas bomb hidden under a wig?”

“I ought to have been prepared for anything. I knew who I was up against.”

“But you couldn’t possibly anticipate such a thing. He must have carried it there in readiness for just such an emergency.”

“Yes. He knew that if he was caught someone would pull his wig off. I was the booby.”

Gloom lapsed into sombre silence again and did not speak until they reached Scotland Yard.

Here several negative reports were waiting for him, and one more positive. Detective Bond had telephoned to ask for help. He had traced the man and woman from Fitzgerald Square to a Chinese restaurant in Limehouse. There were several ways of entering and leaving the place, and four men would be required to watch it efficiently. The help had been sent, and Bond had telephoned again to report that his quarry had not left yet. v

“May be something there,” commented Gloom. "We’ll go down shortly. They’ll be all right for a while with Bond in charge of them. I’ve got an idea that wants thinking out. Send down for some coffee and sandwiches, Saunders. It’s too late for lunen.“

“No other news? asked Jimmy as the confidential clerk left the office.

"No. No word of Slick Stevens. No sign cf the Tiger or his men. No anything.”

The inspector paced restlessly round his office, shoulders hunched and tonsured head thrust forward in the vulturelike attitude Jimmy knew so well. He paused occasionally to bite at a sandwich and swallow a mouthful of coffee.

“Why do you think the Tiger came after Gregory Walker’s body?” he asked suddenly.

“Í can’t imagine,” replied Jimmy.

“I think I can. But never mind that now. The thing that’s been worrying me is this. It’s pretty obvious, up to a point, why Miss Livingstone was kidnapped in the first place, isn’t it?”

“I’m afraid I can’t see—”

“Oh, yes, you can, Mr. Harrison. Here’s a bedridden girl in the Tiger’s care. Miss Livingstone is her double. Surely it’s obvious that the Tiger intended Miss Livingstone to impersonate Irma Fredoni?”

“But why—”

"Oh. I don’t know that. It’s a detail to be considered

Continued on page 47

Continued from page 22

later. What I want is to spoil the Tiger’s game. There’s only one reason why he should have taken the risk of stealing the stabbed girl’s body—to prevent someone learning that she was dead. Clearly you can’t carry out an impersonation if the person concerned is known to be dead.”

“By Jove, yes! That looks as though Myra—”

“Don’t bank on it too much, son. The probabilities are that she’s still alive. You noticed that the Tiger had a fresh piece of sticking plaster on his head. That’s rather significant in view of the shot we heard before breaking into the house. I’m inclined to think that it was Irma Fredoni who was stabbed. But we can’t be sure. What I’ve decided to do is this: You’ve got a recent photograph of Miss Livingstone, haven’t you?”

“Yes. It’s at the flat.”

“We’ll publish it. But we’ll label it as a photograph of Irma Fredoni who was found murdered at Grundy’s Wharf this morning. That someone whom the Tiger is planning to deceive will see it, and will have no doubt that she is dead. The whole scheme of impersonation will fall to the ground. Eh?”

“But suppose Myra isn’t dead? Won’t the Tiger—”

“I’m afraid we’ll have to risk that, Mr. Harrison. After all, we don’t know what the Tiger intends to do with her. It may be something very terrible. We can’t afford to neglect any opportunity of stopping him. Don’t you agree?”

"I—-I think so,” said Jimmy doubtfully.

“Come along, then. ' We’ll collect the photograph and get it into the newspaper ofiices*as quickly as possible. With a bit of luck we should manage the evening editions. Then we’ll see if Tiny Bancroft and his friend can tell us anything.”

XJO MORE than a few minutes was occupied in driving to Jimmy’s flat and sending Sergeant Saunders back to headquarters with Myra’s photograph. Then Gloom turned the car east toward Limehouse.

He knew the Palace of a Thousand Savors quite well, and wasted no time in getting there. As the car drew up in the narrow street, a man who was leaning against the wall reading a newspaper strolled across to it.

Detective Bond was on the small side, with the open, guileless face of a ploughboy. But he had a stout heart, and his features belied his intelligence.

“Everything’s okay, sir, I think,” he reported. “They’re still inside.”

"We’ll want some more help then,” said Gloom, alighting. “I’m going to raid the place as a suspected opium den. Running no risks of anyone getting away this time. Saunders got a warrant as soon as you phoned, in case we needed it. We’d better have a dozen uniformed men, I think. If you’ll send one of the boys to the station, you can tell me what you know while we’re waiting.”

Having dispatched one of the plainclothes men to summon help from the nearest police station, Detective Bond told his story.

He had followed Tiny Bancroft and Lena Cadomo from Fitzgerald Square in a taxi. He had watched Lena talking to the policeman at Grundy’s Wharf, and had waited outside the public house into which she had hurried. Very soon she and Bancroft had emerged with another man.

"Know him?” asked Gloom.

"No, sir. He was a very dark man, with side whiskers.”

“And a grey trilby hat and a blue pinstripe suit, I’ll bet. Go on.”

Bond had followed the three in their car to the Palace of a Thousand Savors. They had gone along the passage at the side of the restaurant and disappeared through a door at the end of it. Before long the dark man had come out alone. He had driven off

in the car, and Bond had not seen him since. He had considered it necessary to phone for help in watching all the exits, and he was quite confident that both the man and the woman were still inside.

“That’s pretty good work, Bond,’’ approved Gloom. “All the same, you missed a thousand pounds when you let your dark friend drive away.”

The uniformed constables arrived one by one, and were posted near the various exits of the Palace of a Thousand Savors.

“I’m going in by the side entrance,” the inspector instructed them individually. “Your job is to see that no one leaves without my permission.”

When all the men were posted, he walked briskly along the narrow passage with Bond. Having no instructions to the contrary, Jimmy followed.

They passed through the door at the end into darkness. The bell on the door tinkled and a light was switched on. Chang Luey Foy, gorgeous in his flowing Oriental robe, flapped down the stairs. He stood mute and expressionless, gazing at them enquiringly.

“We’re looking for Tiny Bancroft and Lena Cadomo,” explained Gloom.

“Not know them,” said the Chinaman, in a curious sing-song voice.

“Bancroft’s a very big man,’’ added Gloom patiently.

“Not see them,” intoned Chang Luey Foy.

“They came in by this door, and they have not left yet.”

“Not see them,” repeated the Chinaman without emotion.

“Very well. I’m going to search your place.”

“You have a wallant for bleaking in?”

“Yes, I have a warrant,” replied Gloom, showing his authority. “And if you know enough about English law to want that, you probably realize what you’re in for. I should advise you to remember what you know about the English language. You'll need it all before we’ve finished. Come along, now. You can walk round with us and see that we don’t do any damage.”

Chang Luey Foy bowed low.

“Will show evelything in my poor lestaulant,” he said gravely.

HE LED the way through a short, dark passage into the main room of the restaurant. The midday rush was over and only a few tables were occupied by about a dozen Chinamen, solemnly plying their chopsticks and paying no attention to the two plainclothes men who had come in by the main entrance.

Gloom scanned the impassive yellow faces critically. They all looked genuine Orientals.

“Go over each one separately,” he told the detectives. "Let ’em go if you’re satisfied, but make sure there’s no one in disguise.”

As he turned away, a revolver somewhere close at hand cracked viciously. Chang Luey F.oy dropped to the floor and lay motionless.

As though the shot had been a signal, pandemonium broke loose in the room. The yellow men jumped to their feet and knives flashed in their hands.

“Keep out!” roared Gloom when a uniformed constable appeared in the doorway. “Look after your own job. We’ll take care of this little lot.”

With fists flying he sailed into the Chinamen. Jimmy and Bond were not slow to follow his example. The resistance was strangely half-hearted. In a remarkably short time peace was restored.

But there was now no sign of Chang Luey Foy.

“A ruse to distract our attention,” grunted Gloom. ‘That bird’s scared of what's coming to him. Anyhow, he can’t get away. He’s probably gone to ground somewhere. We’ll find him as we go through the place.” The Palace of a Thousand Savors proved to be a veritable rabbit warren with many

intercommunicating rooms and unexpected passages. It was necessary to conduct the search systematically. Starting at the top of the building, the detectives gradually worked their way down. There was no indication that any part of the premises had been used for opium smoking, and no glimpse of Chang Lucy Foy was caught.

“Nevertheless, he’s somewhere on the premises,” persisted Gloom. “He was scared because he’s something to hide. We’ve only to search long enough and we shall find both him and his secret.”

They reached the cellars eventually, and found their progress barred by a heavy wooden door. The key was hanging on a nail beside it, and in a moment they were flashing torches into a stone walled cell.

“Here they are, sir!” cried Bond immediately. “These are the two I followed.”

In a corner of the cell lay Tiny Bancroft and Lena Cadorno. Both were securely bound.

“Well, well,” said Gloom. “Here’s something the Chinaman might wish to hide.”

The two American crooks were unfastened, and at once placed under arrest. Lena Cadorno refused to speak at all, but Bancroft had plenty to say.

“I hope you’ve got that guy Morcutt,” he exploded. “The dirty bum. He doublecrossed us.”

“Tell us about it,” suggested Gloom.

“Don’t you squeal,” snapped the woman.

Bancroft turned on her furiously.

“You never did use your head, Lena. Can’t you see they’ve got us cold? If we don’t come clean they’ll fix us for the murder of Gregory Walker.”

“The presence of that corpse in your fiat will certainly need some explanation,” commented Gloom drily.

“So you’ve found that! We didn’t bump him off.”

“Didn’t you? Well, I can’t force you to talk, but if you’ve anything to say I’m ready to listen.”

“Here and now?”

“Here and now.”

“I’m goin’ to get it off my chest.” Bancroft glanced defiantly at Lena Cadorno. ‘Tm no candidate for the hot squat or the long drop.”

“You’d rather AÍ put you on the spot?” j sneered the woman.

“Talk sense, Lena. Fven if we get out of ! this mess with our necks, we can’t go back to Chicago. You know what AÍ is. We’d get the works anyhow, and I’m not riskin’—”

“Pardon me interrupting,” said Gloom. “But time presses. I f you didn’t kill Gregory i Walker, who did?”

“I don’t know anythin’ about that. We j pinched his dead body, that’s all.”

“It sounds rather weak told that way.

■ Hadn’t you better start at the beginning?”

OKAY, chief. I’ll give you all the dope.

It’s not squealin’, because I'm not lettin’ anyone in except that dirty bum Morcutt. We got word from Al—”

“You mean AÍ Fredoni?”

“Yeah. He runs the North Side. Everyone knows AÍ in Chicago. He owns it. He’s got the pull. He’s the most powerful —” “He’s mad,’’ put in Lena suddenly. “Maybe you’re right at that,” agreed Bancroft. “You see, chief, he was all worked up about this Walker guy—”

“When he ran away with Irma?”

“Yeah. I’ve never seen AÍ like that liefere. Wouldn’t lissen to reason. Daughter or no daughter, they were both on the black list now. They'd doublecrossed him, and he’d get ’em sooner or later.

“After a while, he got word that they’d come over here to England. He sent Lena and me after ’em. We were to take ’em back, alivefif possible. If we had to croak ’em first, he wanted the stiffs as proof that we’d done the job properly.”

“He's mad,” said the woman again. “That didn’t make any difference to us. did it? You see how we were fixed, chief? If we didn’t do as AÍ said, we’d get the works. And we couldn’t go back to Chicago without Irma and Walker.

“We crossed over more than a month ago.

We thought maybe we’d be able to find those two, and persuade ’em to go back without trouble. But we couldn’t get a line on Irma at all. And it wasn’t until last week that we heard about this house of Walker’s in Yorkshire.

“Well, we hired a car and went up there. First thing we heard was that Walker was bein’ buried that afternoon. I located his solicitor and had a talk with him. It didn’t take long to see that Jacobs could be bought.

I bought him.

“He wouldn’t let us stay in his house, but he put us wise to that disused loft at the Dog and Gun. I guess Harrison has told you how we dug up the guy with the burned face and found he wasn’t Walker, and how we saw the frail in the loft and thought she was Irma?”

“Yes, I know about that,” nodded Gloom. “Go on.”

“We had to leave the loft, and we found a broken-down shack on the moors. We’d tumbled to the fact that Walker must have heard of us somehow, and had arranged the death of the guy with the burned face to put us off. We decided to lie low a while and see what happened.

“Then we heard that Walker had been stabbed at his house. We didn’t know who’d croaked him or why, and we didn’t intend to enquire too closely. That wasn’t our job. But somehow we had to get hold of his body. You’d set a close watch on all the roads, and wre couldn’t think out a way. We went in to have another talk with Jacobs.

“In the town Lena was recognized by the guy at the shop where she’d bought some grub. We knew then that you’d been makin’ enquiries about us and that things were gettin’ tight.

“Jacobs let us stay at his dump that day, and we made a plan. I was smuggled out to a farm on the moor under a load of rubbish, and Jacobs took his wrife for a drive, with Lena in the back under a rug, ready to slip out as soon as it was safe. The idea was that Lena should get the car from the garage and pick me up next mornin’ outside the area you were watchin’.

“Durin’ the night, I crawled the few hundred yards to the deadhouse, knocked out a guard, and dragged Walker’s body back to the farm. Early in the mornin’, the farmer drove the two of us to the place where I’d arranged to meet Lena. Everythin’ was jake. When we’d got goin’ on the road we swapped into another car we pinched, and brought Walker to London.

“Lena’d thought out a scheme for gettin’ him over to Chicago as a mummy. I scouted round and found a man at a medical school who was willin’ to do the necessary. So that was that. We got on to Irma’s track through Harrison—but you know all about that.”

THE one thing you haven't mentioned yet,” said Gloom softly, “is your relationship to the Tiger.”

“Don’t know him, chief,” said Bancroft. “Never met him.”

“Come, come! He brought you here.” “Morcutt! He the Tiger? The dirty bum! We met him for the first time this mornin’.” Bancroft told the story of the meeting. “I can’t reckon up yet how he knew the gang sign and all about us.”

“Can’t you?” Gloom’s thin lips drew back from his prominent teeth. “I think I can.” He turned to Jimmy. “And I can see why he came after Gregory Walker’s body j this morning. He was hanging round near Grundy’s Wharf to find out what we were doing, when these two appeared. He guessed who they were—he saw those footprints in the hut, you remember—and verified his guess. They were a potential source of danger to him because they were after Irma Fredoni, so he decided to put them hors de combat. The body of a murderer’s victim is always a danger to him. There was an opportunity here of stealing it and getting rid of it. He didn’t know, of course, tliat we were so close on the trail.”

“It’s all very interesting,” muttered Jimmy rather bitterly. He was disappointed that the two crooks could tell no more. “But we haven’t got much farther after the

Tiger, have we? And we don’t even know whether Myra is alive.”

“We haven’t finished yet, son.” Gloom turned back to Bancroft. “What do you know of Chang Luey Foy?” '

“Nothin’, chief. Except that he’s a pal of Morcutt, the Tiger.”

“How do you make that out?”

“Well, it was evident when they met. Besides, it must have been the Chink who arranged the little party for us. Morcutt had no chance. He was with us all the

time.”

“What happened exactly?”

“We were half strangled. As soon as we

put our heads in this dump, someone dropped ropes down—”

“From above?”

“Yeah!”

“Well, how the—” Gloom looked up at the ceiling. Someone had found the switch and the little cellar was brilliantly illuminated. The heavy wooden planks which formed the ceiling showed no sign of any opening. “There must be a way through. Give me a leg up, Bond.”

Close inspection quickly showed that two of the planks had been carefully sawn through to form a trapdoor, the edges of which were quite invisible from below. Gloom pushed at the trapdoor. It opened easily, and there was a flurry of movement from above.

The inspector scrambled through and Bond jumped after him. A short sharp struggle in the darkness above ensued. Then two slippered feet appeared in the opening, followed by a gorgeous flowered robe, as Chang Luey Foy was lowered into the eager hands of the detectives waiting below.

Gloom and Bond jumped down, and straightened their disarranged clothing.

“A little hidden room,” explained Gloom. “With a secret opening into another room upstairs, I expect. We’d missed it in our search.”

He turned to Chang Luey Foy, who stood motionless with hands folded in his capacious sleeves.

“You’ve probably heard all that has happened, my friend,” he said. “You will be arrested as an accessory to murder. Anything to say?”

The Chinaman’s yellow face was expressionless. The fatalism of his race kept him unmoved.

“You are making a mistake, inspector,” he replied in perfect English. “I know nothing of any murder. Nor of the young ladies who have been mentioned. I will tell you all I do know.”

THE statement of Chang Luey Foy, though given very readily and earnestly, did not carry things much farther. Whether he was holding back more than he pretended or not, he told his listeners very little that they did not already know.

He had been associated with the Tiger, whom he knew as Morcutt, for over a year. Their association had been very simple, their activities confined to events in this underground cell. The Tiger brought certain persons here, Chang and his men did the rest. No one had ever been seriously injured in the cell. The process consisted merely of half-strangling the unsuspecting victims, and trussing them up. During the following night the Tiger would remove them. What happened to them eventually Chang could not say.

“You’ve a pretty good idea all the same, haven’t you?” said Gloom grimly. “You can make a guess at what would have happened to these two,” indicating Tiny Bancroft and Lena Cadomo, “when the Tiger took ’em away?”

“Mr. Morcutt did not tell me, inspector,” replied the Chinaman smoothly.

“He never told you anything, did he?” “Being a wise man, he talks little.” “Quite so. If you are wise you will talk a little more. Where are his headquarters?” “From what I have heard him say, 1 believe he has a house near the docks at Wapping.”

“Splendid,” murmured Gloom. “We are getting some real information now. Any other hide-out?”

“He also has a large place in the countrynear Pelworth in Hertfordshire.”

“Better and better. It’s so kind of you to tell us all this. Can I persuade you to go a little farther?”

“I know nothing more about him,” said Chang Luey Foy gravely.

Gloom wasted no time in bluster. If the

Chinaman could tell more he did not intend to do so. Perhaps he would change his mind in the cells. Gloom had seen this happen before.

“Get the van,” he ordered, “and take

these three to the station. Take good care of

them, too. You know what the charge is.”

He stared sombrely at the trapdoor in the ceiling while the prisoners were being removed. Then he turned to Jimmy.

“We don’t have a great amount of luck, Mr. Harrison,” he commented.

“It’s hopeless,” said Jimmy bitterly. “The Tiger seems to be able to vanish at will.” “Oh, that—there’s nothing very clever about it. Walk into a shop and buy overalls and a cap and put them on, and our men can look for a pinstripe suit and a trilby hat all day. The trouble is that he’s got a secure retreat and we can’t locate it. It’s not so far away, either, or he couldn’t have been loitering round Grundy’s Wharf when Bancroft and the woman went there.”

“I’m sure that Chink knows something. Isn’t there any way of making him talk?” “Ssh, Mr. Harrison. Surely you are aware that the English law frowns very severely on any attempt at a third degree? Still, one never knows. He may talk in time. Give me a leg-up through this hole again. I want to look round that little secret room.”

Jimmy followed through the trapdoor. He found himself in a small oblong room with no apparent exit except the hole in the floor. The searching light of an electric torch showed a switch on one of the walls. Gloom snapped this down, and a powerful bulb over a work bench lit up.

“The entrance will be somewhere near the switch,” he murmured, passing sensitive fingers over the woodwork. “There’ll be a spring of some kind.”

He found it almost immediately. A panel slid aside revealing the interior of a cupboard, seen from the back. The door of the cupboard had been left open during the search of the house; and through it they could see into Chang Luey Foy’s private office in the rear of the restaurant.

“That’s how he gave us the slip when the Chinks kicked up their rumpus,” said Gloom. “I doubt that we’d have found him if it hadn’t been for Bancroft and the woman. Wonder what he played at in here?”

THE work bench was littered with delicate engineering tools, micrometers and gauges. But there was nothing to indicate for what they were used.

Gloom poked among them, muttering to himself. A brown paper parcel below the bench caught his eye. He lifted it up and opened it, disclosing a clock.

“Well, well!” he exclaimed, staring hard at the clock, “I wonder if that explains it.” “Explains what?” asked Jimmy.

“You can see what this is, can’t you?’ “It’s a clock.”

“Quite so. But it’s not just an ordinary clock. It’s a chronometer, a ship’s clock.” “Well, I don’t see—”

“Neither do I. But I’m groping. I’ve got an idea. Suppose the Tiger and his men never did land from that boat when they escaped from the house on Grundy’s Wharf? It puzzled us to guess how they managed to bring the helpless girl ashore without being seen. Suppose they didn’t bring her ashore? Suppose they just transferred her to a ship in the river?”

“But surely the river police—”

“Look at that clock again, Mr. Harrison. Notice the silver face, the artistic design of it. That’s not come out of any tramp. It’s come out of a luxury vessel; a liner or a private yacht. There’d be no liners near Grundy’s Wharf, but a yacht might easily have been anchored close by. And why In the

mist a small boat could be hauled aboard without anyone being the wiser.”

“It’s a possibility,” mused Jimmy. “But we don’t know—”

“Of course, we don’t. There's nothing to show that this chronometer has anything to do with the Tiger. But it’s just possible that he knew Chang I.uey Foy’s mechanical cleverness, and brougnt the clock to him for repair or adjustment. Anyhow, it’s made me think. The idea had not occurred to me before. But can you imagine a better place for a crook's headquarters? Moving about; never in the same spot long together; with every opportunity for coming and going unobserved. Private yachts are not subject to the same rules and regulations as ordinary shipping; there is practically no control over them except Customs and quarantine. By Jove, I shouldn’t be a bit surprised if we’ve hit on something at last.” Gloom’s unusual enthusiasm infected Jimmy.

“It would certainly explain how they got away from that house,” he admitted. "As you said, the Tiger must have a safe retreat somewhere quite near, and it might quite easily be a yacht. Anyhow I should think it’s worth investigating.”

“We’ve nothing else to investigate at the moment, son,” said Gloom, remembering his pessimism. “We’re rather like drowning men clutching straws. But we might as well lie doing this as wait for a plank to come floating along.”

They drove back to Scotland Yard and the inspector set the official machinery in motion.

“It will take some time to get these enquiries through. Mr. Harrison,” he said, glancing rapidly through his reports. “There’s nothing else here. If you take my advice, you'll go home and have a sleep. I’ll let you know when anything turns up.” “The telephone at my flat is cut,” objected Jimmy. “Besides, I couldn't sleep. But 1 think I ought to let Lily Fortune know what is happening. If she sees Myra’s photograph in the evening paper she’ll be worried to death, even though it is labelled Irma Fredoni.”

“All right,” agreed Gloom. "I’d forgotten about the red-haired lassie. She’ll certainly be anxious. What are you going to tell her about Miss Livingstone?”

“What I believe,” said Jimmy emphatic-

ally. “That she is still a prisoner in the hands of the Tiger.”

He took a taxi to the flat in Alexandra Road, and found Lily at tea. Seeing the weariness in his eyes, she would not let him speak until he had eaten some toast and drunk some tea. Then she listened carefully to his story of what had happened since their last meeting.

“You’ve had a rotten time. Jimmy.” she commented when he had finished. "And I can guess how you are feeling. But I’m sure, somehow, that Myra isn’t dead. It’s the other pr girl who was stabbed. I can’t reason it out, but I feel quite certain about it.”

After discussing their plans for a while, Jimmy drove back to Scotland Yard feeling considerably more cheerful because Lily’s faith had strengthened his own. He stopped on the way to buy an evening paper. Myra’s photograph was prominently displayed, with a notice stating that the police would welcome any information about the girl who had been stabbed, and whose name alone— Irma Fredoni— was known to them.

His eyes grew misty as he looked at the beloved features. Would he ever see them again? Myra loved him; she had kissed him! It was absurd to think that she might be dead. But better dead, perhaps, than in the Tiger’s power, drugged, gradually losing her reason and identity, a pawn in some devilish scheme. The uncertainty and the anxiety were nerve-racking, but there was hope. If only Gloom’s idea proved correct! If only they could rescue her before it was too late !

IN HIS office at the Yard, Inspector Gloom was still impatiently awaiting news. “You might as well sit down, Mr. Harrison,” he said when Jimmy had told him of the interview with Lily Fortune. “I’m expecting something to turn up any minute. I’ve got the Thames Division on the job, and they’re pretty good fellows.” Almost immediately the telephone rang, and the first item of information came through. A private steam yacht, the Avalon, had been undergoing slight repairs in the Royal Victoria dock just below Grundy’s Wharf. It had moved out two days ago, and anchored in the river close by.

“Gosh!” muttered Gloom, replacing the receiver and staring hard at Jimmy. “Have we really struck something at last?”

It was surely more than a coincidence. The atmosphere of the office became tense and strained. Jimmy’s fingers were trembling as he lit a cigarette.

The next message, which came quickly on the heels of the first, was from Inspector Perkins, who had been in charge of the search on the river that morning. I íe remembered seeing the Avalon at anchor just above Grundy’s Wharf. He had, indeed, hailed the watchman to enquire if he had seen anything of the fugitives, and had received a negative reply. Yes, he would find out if it was still there.

“It would be so easy,” said Gloom, fidgetting in his chair, "for the crooks to be taken aboard a yacht in the mist. Why didn’t I think of it before? If the Avalon’s gone, I’ll never forgive myself.”

His fears were soon dissipated. Perkins telephoned again to say that the yacht was still anchored in the same position, but there were signs that she was getting ready to sail. He would keep an unobtrusive watch on her, and report any further developments. Another message from the enquiry office stated that the Avalon was registered in Hull, and was the property of Sir Walter Prescott, the art dealer and critic.

Gloom’s cadaverous face lengthened at the last item.

“Sir Walter Prescott has an international reputation,” he muttered. “He surely can’t be mixed up with the Tiger.”

“Perhaps the yacht has been stolen,” suggested Jimmy.

“I don’t think the Tiger would do that. It could be traced so easily. Before we do anything else, we’d better see what we can find out about Prescott.”

There was no information available at the Records Office.

“We’ll find a photograph of him anyhow,” said Gloom, ordering a car. “One of these firms that supply photographs to the press is sure to have him on file.”

A well known establishment in Bond Street felt sure they could supply the required photograph if the inspector and his friend would sit down for a moment. Their optimism was well founded. In a very short time the assistant returned with three unfinished proofs of portraits which had appeared in The Studio, The Connoisseur and The Art World respectively.

“So this is Sir Walter Prescott,” murmured Gloom, carefully studying the keen, yet kindly face with its monocle, short military mustache and neatly brushed silver hair.

“Yes, sir,” said the assistant. “They were taken about eighteen months ago.”

“I see. Well, I want you to do a little rapid retouching for me. Blot out the monocle, the mustache and the hair. Quite roughly, of course. You can do this?”

“Very easily, sir.”

Gloom sat down again, staring thoughtfully at the pattern of the carpet. In less than five minutes the assistant was back with a retouched photograph. Gloom gave it a single glance, then passed it to Jimmy. And Jimmy jumped to his feet as he recognized at once the somewhat mutilated features of Mr. Topp.

“Come on!” he cried. “Let’s go!”

“That just about settles it,” said Gloom as they hurried out of the shop. “Gosh! The man must be a marvel. Living a double life like that. Takes some brains to keep it up.”

Jimmy was not the least bit interested in Sir Walter Prescott’s double life.

“How are we going to get to the yacht?” he asked excitedly.

“Steady, son.” Gloom motioned the chauffeur to wait, and opened the door of the car. “We’ve got to think this thing out carefully. If we go into it like a bull in a china shop, we’re liable to cause serious trouble. The Tiger’s quite capable of killing a prisoner to remove evidence against himself. If Miss Livingstone is still alive, she’ll be in a very dangerous position unless we can manage the whole business so that it’s a complete surprise. I think we’d better have a talk with Perkins. We shan’t be wasting any time because we’ll need his held later, and his experience might be very useful to us.”

“All right.” Jimmy tried to curb his impatience. “So long as the Avalon doesn’t get away.”.

“She won’t get away. And we’ll have this thing planned so that no one else gets away, either.”

Gloom gave a curt order to the chauffeur. The next moment they were picking their way eastward through the evening crush in Piccadilly.

To be Concluded