DEATH by the RIVER
A New Kent Power, Detective, Story
THE VOID jarred painfully, broke, and a bell was ringing. Swinging with the suppressed ferocity of a sleeper rudely snatched from Morpheus, Kent Power caught up the table phone and exclaimed a curt:
It was the bright and early morning voice of Sergeant Jules Papineau that broke across the wires:
“ ’Allo, ’alio. You ’ave been sleeping, non?”
“No; rolling my hoop. So what?”
The Gallic voice at the other end left off its levity.
“I ’ave somet’ing important ’ere. I wish you will come immédiatement—eh?” 1
Power glanced at the little Swiss clock beside the telephone. Six-thirty. Outside the window a bird trilled its soul against the warm June languor.
“Okay,” he grunted ungraciously.
Three-quarters of an hour later, swinging into the postmortem room at police headquarters, he found Papineau and the little coroner, Dr. Morin, bent over a marble slab.
“ ’Allo,” Pap said, and then, pointing dramatically: “You recognize?”
Power glanced down at a once powerful figure; at a face that even in death betrayed ruthlessness and dissipation. “Crane Sutton !” he said, whistling.
"Oui. For sure. The river squad ’as picked ’im up this morning close to the bank on Bac River. He is floating below the surface.”
“But he has not drowned,” said Dr. Morin dryly.
“The alveoli of his lungs contain air. Regardez. If he has drowned they contain water, no?”
The early morning gruffness swept from Power’s features, was replaced by the quick glow of interest. And then the little coroner pointed to a mark in the centre of the forehead.
It was a fresh bruise with a slight amount of swelling. Power bent over with quick concentration.
“It is my feeling perhaps that he has dived into the water and struck his forehead on a rock,” said Dr. Morin. “He is stunned—voilà!” His hands went out in a quick gesture that carried explanation.
Pap made a clucking noise that bore the burden of a profound if somewhat bewildered scepticism.
“Per’aps,” he said. "Mais, regardez cette chose!” He held up a wet bathing suit. “He ’as wear this when they find ’im. But last night he attends a reception. He ’as leave this reception at midnight. Does he go bathing then to wash away his sins before his wedding, which would be this morning?”
WER swung on Papineau sharply.
“Sutton was getting married today?”
"Oui.” Pap smiled oddly. “It is strange, n’est ce pas, that he is found drowned on his wedding day. Oui, beaucoup! The good Dr. Morin ’as the mind of innocence, like a child. Il reste content that the explanation is so simple. Me, I do not.”
Power turned slowly back to the bruise. He extracted a small pocket lens from his vest and gazed through it earnestly, then, turning to the little coroner:
“I’d like to look at a section of that bruise through a microscope.”
The little coroner shrugged.
"Comme vous voulez,” he said, in the mode of a Pilate washing his hands.
They made a quick frozen section. Half an hour later, his eye glued to the mike, Power grunted:
“We’re the motherless child, a long way from home.” He swung on the two men. “That bruise antedated death by at least a quarter of an hour; maybe longer, but at least that. Figure it out for yourselves. If he struck his head on a rock, diving, and died, then there'd be no blood effused through the tissues, no swelling. In order to produce a
picture like that”—he pointed at the slide under the microscope—“he had to live and try to breathe for at least fifteen minutes. If he had lived that long under water, his lungs would have been full of water. They aren’t. Therefore, he got that clout on the head before he reached the water.”
Dr. Morin had glanced down through the mike. He turned slowly, the least disconcertedly.
“You are right,” he said; “you are quite right.”
"Sacre!” breathed Pap. “I smelt it. Me, I felt it in my bones.”
Power was striding from the room. Entering the postmortem theatre again, he gazed earnestly down at the figure of death. This time his quick, shrewd eye missed nothing. He said curtly to himself, as though the other two who had followed him were not there: “The hands are clenched.
That tautness of the muscles isn’t only rigor mortis—the pupils contracted, the expression tense.” He swung on Dr. Morin.
“What about the heart?”
“Contracted in a true spasm?”
“I thought so.”
“For why you t’ink so?” demanded Pap.
Power did not seem to have heard him. He said:
“Sutton lived on Bac River in a large house on the waterside. We’ll go out there. But first I’m trotting home for a spot of breakfast and some gossip.” He swung on Papineau. “Call around for me at nine.” Then his long, slim figure went swinging from the room.
IN THE TAXI an hour later, he said to Pap:
“Know anything about Crane Sutton?”
"Non! I do not travel wit’ the élite of Mo’real; not on my salary.”
“Perhaps you don’t miss so much. Sutton was what they call a man about town. Father left him money. Sat on the
boards of half a dozen corporations in the morning, and started liquoring up for the evening before lunch. Unsavory reputation with women. Was going to marry Burke Cadmon’s only daughter this morning.” “Mo’ dieu! You mean the Burke Cadmon who is president of the Colonial Bank?”
"No other. And here's another titbit. Cadmon fought against the marriage tooth and nail. Only gave in because he had never been able to refuse his daughter anything she really wanted. Seems she wanted Sutton—why, 1 don’t know. She’s only a kid, they say; one of the spoiled, pampered children of richesse. And here’s another thought: Cadmon’s estate is next door to Sutton's on the river.”
“So!” Pap sucked at the information as though its juice were luscious. "Mr. Burke Cadmon ’as ’ad a reason for—”
Power laughed suddenly, amusedly.
"If my information's right, he’s only one of a dozen. Sutton wasn’t a popular gent. There are several Montreal husbands who'll read the news this morning with a feeling that there is such a thing as divine justice.”
Dew still sparkled on the broad lawns as the taxi turned off the road and drove down a long, treeflanked driveway. Their knock on the doorway of the large Tudor house was answered by a man who, hearing their business, ushered them to a long drawing-room whose far windows opened on a vista of river. He was. he informed them, Crane Sutton’s gentleman’s gentleman. He had charge of the bachelor household.
Seated on the arm of an overstuffed divan, Power asked him:
“When did you see Mr. Sutton last?” “Last night, sir. shortly after twelve. He had just returned from the reception at the Cadmons’. Miss Cadmon, you know, sir, was his—”
“I know that. You were talking to him?”
“Saw him clearly?”
The servant looked a bit puzzled until Power added:
“Did you notice if he had a bruise on his forehead?”
“No, sir. I saw nothing like that.” “Would you have noticed it if he had had such a bruise?”
“I think so. sir. He was standing in the hall. There’s a good light out there. Yes, I’m sure I would.”
“What happened after he came in?” “He asked if there had been any phone message. I told him there hadn’t been. Then he said that he was going for a short stroll and added casually that I needn’t wait up for him.”
“He was expecting a message?” “Yes. sir, I think so. It was just then that the telephone rang.”
“You answered it?”
“No, sir. Mr. Sutton himself answered.”
“In the hall, sir.”
“Then you heard his end of the conversation?”
“What was the gist of it?”
THE SERVING MAN drew himself up the least bit stiffly. Fifty years of training lay behind that gesture of cold reticence. But Power said sharply:
“You might as well tell it to me as to the judge. When people die suddenly, private conversations belong to the law.”
The servant yielded.
“Someone evidently wished Mr. Sutton to meet him somewhere.”
was an argument?” “Yes; he seemed quite angry.”
“And then?” Pap
demanded curtly, “He agreed to go.”
“You have no idea
who the party on the other end of the wire was?” Power asked. Aorain reticence fell.
but only like a film appearing across the man’s cool eyes.
“No. sir. I haven’t.”
“Don’t know if it was a man or a woman?”
“And that was the last you saw of him?”
“Yes. sir; he went out immediately.”
“Did he carry wit’ him his bathing suit?” Pap asked.
“The bathing suits are kept down at the boathouse.” the
“You ’ave been there this morning?”
"Better show us the way down.” Power said.
They left the house and descended green sward to a small structure at the water’s edge. As they approached it. Power slackened his jiace. his keen eyes searching the ground avidly. Papineau was thus the first to enter the boathouse, and immediately he let out a sharp ejaculation. Following him in. Power saw a pile of clothes on a chair under one of the windows. Sutton’s servant breathed sharply. “His clothes!” and moved toward them. But Power caught him by the arm.
“Just a minute,” he said and, advancing first, stared at the heap of garments. Suddenly, swinging so that he hid them from the man, he said: "You’ve seen Mr. Sutton dress and undress?”
“Tell me exactly the order in which he took off his clothes. Think hard now. and get it straight.”
The servant described, perhaps a little haltingly, a technique. Power stood aside.
"Ever see him pile his clothes like that?”
Staring, the man shook his head.
“No. sir; never.”
“Note that in your book, Pap,” Power said. “Shirt and necktie lowest, then coat and vest, underwear, trousers, socks.” To the servant: “That’ll be all for now, thanks. You mav go.”
When a shadow had passed from the bright sunlight of the doorway Pap breathed with an ecstasy:
“Sacre, you miss not’ing. Kent Power! Me, I see everyt’ing now. Sutton ’as not undress ’imself. Someone else ’as do that and pile them so.”
“I reckon,” Power said grimly, “we’re about ready to step next door and see what the Cadmon ménage will bring forth.”
Climbing the low stone fence that separated the two estates, Power saw the gravelled path that led deviously along the river bank beneath the swaying birches. He stared along it a moment, frowning, then said:
“Let’s mosev this way.”
Pap followed with a shrug, and they came eventually to a boathouse, not dissimilar to Sutton’s, with the stone wall of yet another estate beyond it. A careful search of the boathouse revealed nothing. But, measuring the distance between it and the stone wall, an indent on the grass just above the path caught Power’s sharp eye. In a moment he was down on his hands and knees. # f
“Voilà!” Pap breathed heavily beside him. “You ave
somet’ing, non?” , , . .,
There were other similar indentations, and they led to tne stone wall. There, the soft sward revealed where at least two persons had stood for some time during the previous twelve hours. The marks were fresh. One set could be distinguished only with care—the heelmarks of a man s shoes. The other—smaller and mych more distinct—could have been made by nothing else than a woman’s high heels. But these were not all the guerdons of the search. Pap’s pudgy fingers shot out after two cigarette ends; Power’s for the third. Of these, two had simply been dropped to bum out; but the third, which lay some yards farther up, had been crushed, half-smoked, against the wall immediately above. Emptying the matches from a box into his pocket, Power placed the butts inside the box and leaped the wall. But the hard, firm lawn beyond revealed nothing.
He said to Pap: “Better go back and get one of Sutton’s shoes. Try the heels on those marks—may fit’em. I’ll go up to the house.”
“Oui. For sure.” Pap departed in haste.
THREE MEN were seated on the terrace of the large, imposing house above. Burke Cadmon, the banker, was a tall, thick-shouldered man who had come to St. James Street via the rugby fields of McGill University. He had been a handsome young giant before the ruthless game of finance gave him the brutish, driving look of the master of money. He eyed Power with a questioning arrogance, but his grey, bloodshot eyes became a blank mask when he heard Power’s business. He waved a curt hand toward his
“My neighbors; Mr. John Creevy, Mr. William Creevy.
The Creevys proved a quaint pair. The tall one, Mr. William, had a pair of huge, stooped shoulders, a large bald head with beetling brows, and looked a great bear of a fellow. Mr. John, on the other hand, was short and wiry, with a mop of unruly white hair and a pair of birdlike little eyes set in a cascade of wrinkles. It was he who said. “Dashed awkward situation, Mr. Power.”
Prtu/or tumeri to the banker.
“I have reason to believe, Mr. Cadmon, that Crane Sutton was murdered and his body thrown into the river.” The three men stared at him, wide-eyed. Cadmon growled suddenly:
“Impossible ! Who the dev—”
“Just the same. I believe he was murdered.” Power cut in quietly. “In order to complete my investigation, I must question every member of your household. You can either bring them out here or I'll see them inside.”
Arrogance swept back into the famous banker’s harsh features.
“I can assure you, young man,” he snapped, “that no member of my household knows anything about Sutton’s death. You’ll find no murderer here.” He flung an impatient hand out to include the full extent of his bounteous acres.
The big bear, William Creevy, grunted: “One of these young men in a hurry.”
“What’s the world coming to?” exclaimed the younger brother, throwing up his hands. “We wake up to this lovely hymeneal morning to find that Hymen will not sing; and then they come searching in our midst for murderers!” Power grinned. The brothers Creevy amused him. Somehow they seemed to belong more in a Dickens novel than in Mo’real; born fifty years too late. He said to the banker, grave again ;
“Have to trouble you, Mr. Cadmon.”
For another moment the banker hesitated, then stumix'd irritably into the house. Power turned to the Dickensy brothers.
"You gentlemen live next door?” He pointed beyond that distant stone wall, at whose environs he had found footprints and burned cigarette ends.
The bigger Creevy stared at him, wide-eyed beneath bushy brows.
"Huh,” he grunted to his brother. “Be investigating us next.” And then to Power: “Yes. Does that make us accomplices after the act?”
"I’ll answer that after I’ve investigated you, sir,” Power replied with a grin.
The little brother demanded, terrier-like:
“Tell me, young man. I know nothing, been told nothing. Nothing much. Sutton found drowned in the river. Bathing suit. Fool goes in swimming night before wedding. Midnight. Asking for trouble. What happened?”
But Burke Cadmon was marshalling his entourage. They came in a sort of line of precedence through the door, were introduced.
“My wife”—a hard, sleek, blonde woman of forty who must once have lacked that harsh veneer of sophistication and disillusionment. “My daughter,
Helen”—who should have been a bride this June morning; young, quick, with the taut assurance of her type; more effective than her mother, and in awe of no one. “Miss Craigie”—a tall, slender woman of thirty, with a grave oval face and two disciplined grey eyes, who moved with the quiet dignity of a grand duchess and immediately gripped Power’s imagination. “Higgins, my butler”—an imposing servant, ample, quiet, and with that lordly carriage of the English trained retainer. Two maids, a chauffeur, a Chinese cook.
The Creevy brothers, who had shaken hands with Mrs. Cadmon, her daughter and Miss Craigie and who made no attempt to conceal affection for the last two, now said :
“We’ll leave you, Burke. None of our business.”
An odd expression crossed the banker’s face; an expression that was not arrogance, that betrayed almost a desire for support.
"Better stay,” he said gruffly. “Be obliged if you would.”
THE WOMEN dropped into chairs that were pushed into place. Cadmon and the two Creevys also seated themselves. The servants made a half-moon to the left. Power faced these people across the narrow interval, his back against the oak table.
“I’m going to ask you a few questions.” he began gently. “Crane Sutton returned home last night a few minutes after twelve. At four o’clock this morning his body, clad in a bathing-suit, was found three miles down river by the police squad. I want particularly to know two things: what time he left here, and who saw him again after twelve o’clock.”
“I saw him just before he left.” the banker growled. “My daughter saw him. It was exactly midnight; I noticed the time.”
Power turned to the girl. He couldn't quite fathom her. She showed none of the ravages of grief, seemed in fact to be riding indifference as though it were a palanquin. But mouth and eyes were taut; a shade too taut.
“I said good night to him here,” she said, looking Power squarely in the eyes.
“You didn’t see him again, later?”
“I said. I said good night to him here,” she replied, and there was antagonism in her young eyes.
Power smiled gently.
“But you didn't say if you saw him later.”
There was the barest hesitation, then with a shrug:
“And nobody else saw him later?” Power’s eyes moved from face to face about the circle, but there was no affirmative. Again he turned to the girl :
“He said nothing to you about going for a dip?”
She shook her head, and again Power became aware of the unexpected in her manner. She had spoken the negative as though Crane Sutton no longer mattered in her life. And then he noticed something else: that Miss Craigie was watching her with a queer, almost tragic expression in which there seemed to be a plea as well as pity. He turned to the banker:
“I take it, the wedding presents are inside; that you had someone guarding them last night.”
Cadmon shot him a puzzled glance.
“Yes. My gardener, Blake, was patrolling the grounds.” “Where’s he now?”
“Sleeping. He occupies the small house at the gate.” Sergeant Papineau had come panting up the hill. He breathed in Power’s ear one word, “Oui,” and Power turned to the others:
“That’ll be all for now, thanks. If you don’t mind. Mr. Cadmon,” he said to the banker, “I’d like to look the house over. Your butler can show me.”
Followed by Papineau, Power entered the terrace dœr and was conducted by Higgins over the dwelling. It was not a real search of the place he made; merely a cursory stroll from room to room, his shrewd eyes taking in almost indifferently their details. Nor did he begin to question the butler until they got upstairs. Here certain bedrooms opened on the wide verandah above the terrace, upon which the group was breaking up. From its far end an outdoor staircase descended on the side toward the estate of the brothers Creevy. Four bedrooms o¡x'ned on this upper verandah, Higgins informed him—Cadmon’s, his wife’s, Miss Cadmon’s and Miss Craigie’s.
Later, at the gatehouse, Power and Papineau interviewed a sleepy gardener; a lean grizzled old Yorkshireman whose prominent Adam’s apple kept jerking up and down excitedly. Yes, he’d patrolled the house all night. He’d seen nowt o’ Mr. Crane Sutton, and he let it be understood without saying so that he didn’t care if he ever saw him. All he’d seen was t’ master strolling on t’ terrace, smoking aseegar. That’d be about a quarter past twelve. Next time he came around, t’ master had gone in. That was when he seed Miss ’Elen and Miss Craigie.
“Where you ’ave see them?” Pap snapped impetuously.
“I was just coomin’ round t’ corner. Fust I seed Miss Craigie coom down th’ outside stairs, then I seed Miss ’Elen.”
“Nay, lad. Miss Craigie were first an’ went down t’ th’ river. Miss ’Elen follered ’er ’arf a minute later.”
“Thanks,” said Power, “you’ve been a real help.” Then to Pap: “Let’s go.”
TWO HOURS later, in the small laboratory at the rear of his Drummond Street fiat. Power filled a small hvpodermic syringe and said to Papineau :
“This either conks the nigger or sends us out into the wilderness.”
Into two white mice, breathing gently under an anaesthetic on the experiment table. Power administered his potions. Around the plump belly of each was fastened a slick little air-belt, improvised by himself, which led off by fine tubing to the indicator on a revolving drum. On the blackened paper of the indicator, heart beats would be recorded. He watched them avidly.
“Look.” he said suddenly.
The little marks were slowing gradually.
“Watch the pupils of their eyes— contracting.”
“Oui. For sure.” breathed Pap.
There were two sharp, quick convulsions, and then: “Sacre! Ils sont morts!”
“Both of ’em, and from the identical poison. One from an extract of Crane Sutton’s blood serum; the other from something in that crushed cigarette we found this morning by the Creevys’ wall, something I very carefully separated from the tobacco alkaloids, something that wasn’t tobacco at all, Pap, and which volatilized in tobacco smoke without losing its ix)tency.” He swung on the bookcase behind him and abstracted from it a large German tome. “There’s a thing I want to check up.” He reached a page, read avidly for ten minutes. “As I thought—arecoline nitrate, the alkaloid of betel nut.”
“Betel nut!” breathed Pap awestruck. “Which the natives chew in the East?”
“The same. Someone doctored a cigarette with it. Crane Sutton smoked the cigarette. Collapsing, he struck his forehead against the stone wall and his heart went on beating for a few minutes more, just long enough to permit certain changes to take place in the bruised tissues.”
“And après the murderer ’as undress ’im, put on ’im a bathing suit, throw ’im in the river, and place ’is clothes in ’is own boathouse.”
“The murderer or someone else.”
“It was not necessarily the person who fed him the cigarette who disposed of his clothes—and his body.”
“Somebody rang Sutton up after he arrived home, someone he wasn’t particularly eager to meet. Was it Helen Cadmon? I don’t think he’d have been so loath to meet her. Pap. That brings us back to old Blake, the gardener. Blake saw Miss Craigie ‘coom’ down the outside staircase last night and disappear in the direction of the Cadmon boathouse. Sutton might not have been so anxious to meet her, eh? Did you notice that there was a telephone in all the bedrooms, and that a door communicates between her bedroom and the bride’s? Supposing it was La Craigie who rang Sutton up to make a rendezvous, and supposing the other girl overheard. Wouldn’t that explain why one followed the other into the murk?”
“Sacré nom d’un nom!” breathed Pap. But then, in the next breath: “But ’ow ’as she made to dispose of the body?” “That’s what I don’t know, old son,” Power replied shaking his head. “That’s the nigger in our woodpile. It’s obvious that no girl worked the rest of the business.” “Absolument,” Papineau agreed.
“That either infers male help or that we’re all wet.”
Pap kept staring at the dead mice on the table, and slowly his expression changed.
“Me,” he declared, “I have the hunch we are wet. It does not march wit’ me that this Miss Craigie is a murderer.”
“Who’d you suggest, then?” Power asked with an ironic smile.
“Mr. Burke Cadmon—who was smoking a cigar and did not wish that his daughter marry Crane Sutton.”
“What about the Creevy brothers?”
Pap’s eyes opened incredulously.
“Ces anciens? But for why?”
“Apparently you didn’t make all the enquiries,” Power answered with a grin. “You didn’t discover, for instance, that Sutton was married before, and that his first wife died of an accident while they were honeymooning in the Rockies. Fell over a cliff, in fact. She happened to be alone with Sutton at the time. Left him quite a bit of money at a time he needed it badly. She wasn’t a beauty they say—but she did happen to be the Creevy brothers’ niece.” “Mo' dieu!” The sergeant threw up his hands. “It thickens—the plot.”
“And here’s another thought for you, Pap. Miss Craigie happens to be the daughter of old Sandy Craigie, who was professor of botany at Queen’s until he died five years ago. She used to work with him. After his death, his old friend and classmate, Burke Cadmon, offered her the job of governess to his daughter. Too bad the telephone company weren’t able to trace that call Sutton got last night. It would have been a help. Guess there’s nothing for it but to take another dekko at the Cadmon ménage and its environs. Run along and get Hicks to buzz a taxi. I 11 be with you in a jiffy.”
When Pap had gone Power proceeded to gather certain implements into a small and business-like black handbag.
ON THE WAY to Bac River, Power changed his mind on the matter of approach and, halting the taxi at a gas station, went in to telephone. Coming out of the booth, he said to Papineau:
“We’ll go to the Creevy place first. They’re out this afternoon and it’s a good opportunity for us to look around.
The Creevy factotum, elderly and somewhat decrepit, admitted them to the large rambling house on the river, and showed them into the sort of living room that only two old bachelors could have habited. Old furniture, a certain austere bareness of walls and hangings, but comfort and a kx)k of use.
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Slar(s on pa~'e 20
“I’m sorry, gentlemen,” the servitor informed them for the second time, “but neither of the gentlemen is at 'ome."
“That’s all right,” Power said lightly, “just wanted to ask you a couple of questions. You were up and around at midnight last night?”
“Yes, sir,” the man answered doubtfully, his little wrinkled eyes wearing an asjxx't of puzzlement.
“Did Mr. William or Mr. John use the telephone around that hour?”
The servant shook his head stubbornly. “Not that 1 know, sir.”
“You would have known if they had?” “Er— yes, sir. 1 think so.”
“You’re not sure?”
“No, sir. They could ’ave used the ’all phone without my knowing; though I’d likely ’ave ’card them.” And then, uneasily: “If you don’t mind, I’d sooner not answer any more questions in their absence.”
“You,” declared Pap downrightly, “shall answer when you are ask’. 1 am Sergeant Papineau of the Mo’real police force.”
The old man paled and the muscles tightened about his wrinkled mouth. A shutter seemed to drop over his eyes.
“Very good, sir."
“What time did they go to bed?” Power tHjk a cigarette from the open box on the table against which he was leaning and stuck it in his mouth.
“Shortly after twelve, sir.”
“You’re sure of that?”
"Yes, sir. I waited in the ’all while they went upstairs, to put out the lights.”
“And then went to bed yourself?”
"Heard no stirring after that?”
“Where are your quarters? Better show as.”
The servants’ quarters were at the back of the house, upstairs, separated from the front oy a long narrow hallway with a door at each end. Both were shut.
“These doors are closed at night?”
“How would they get you if they wanted you? You couldn’t hear them call from here.”
“I ’ave a bell in my room,” the servant answered brusquely.
“Well, Pap,” Power said as the two men crossed the open lawn in the direction of the Cadmon estate, “for all yon poor old wreck, the Creevy brothers may have gone prowling after he saw them up the staircase. Just the same, I think he’d have heard ’em phoning. His pantry’s just around the comer from the telephone.”
“He could ’ave lie apropos celle chose." "Oui."
They were close to the wall between the two properties now. Suddenly Papineau stopped in his tracks and hissed:
"Quest que ça?”
Voices in the rose garden beyond the wall ! They crept nearer and, peering over the wall saw through the shrubbery two figures moving up and down—Miss Jane Craigie and the Cadmon butler. Higgins. It was Pap who breathed: "Mo' dieu!" And he breathed it because of a certain intimacy between those two now become apparent. For Higgins was not a servant now, he was a friend, a comforter. He had laid a hand on the distraught girl’s arm, was saying something to her in a low voice for all the world as if he had been a father.
"Voilà; her accomplice! It is M’sieu Tggins who ’as disposed of the body!” Power caught at his arm and Ic'd him down the slope toward the river. They bent low so as to remain hidden by the stone wall. Presently they crossed it. Power searched again the Cadmon boathouse but found nothing. And then, suddenly, he said to Pap:
“There’s something hidden from us in these grounds. I feel it in my bones. Let’s take a dekko along here.”
He led the way along the path that skirted the river. Suddenly, directly opposite the house above he halted and stoojied. At one edge of the path lay the butt of a cigar. “Tobacco Road!” he muttered, picking it up. Taking a small magnifying glass from
his vest pocket he inspected the find, then muttered something and said to Papineau: “Let’s go up.”
THEY FOUND Burke Cadmon seated with his daughter on the terrace. Father and daughter had been engaged in a conversation the heat of which still glowed passionately in their faces. The girl wore a stubborn, defiant look. Cadmon seemed to have aged since morning. He greeted the detective's curtly and without welcome. Power seated himself opposite them. “Sorry to keep troubling you,” he said, “but what can you tell me about your butler, 1 Iiggins.”
The banker stared at him hardly.
“What’s Higgins done?” he snapped through dry lips.
“1 don’t know; I’m here to learn more about him. Who is he? Whence came he?” “Came to me from an old friend,” growled Cadmon.
A light glimmered in Power’s shrewd eyes. “He was with Professor Sandy Craigie?” The banker stared at him, surprised.
“Yes; that’s right.”
Behind Power, Papineau let out a low ejaculation. And then the girl said with a bitter laugh:
“We Cadmons arc so indebted to the Craigies!”
“Another question. Mr. Cadmon: You
were smoking a cigar out here after the party broke up last night. Where did you go after that?”
The banker stared at him hard, wet his lips.
“Inside,” he muttered.
“Then how did your cigar-end get on the path below?” Power pointed toward the swaying birches, and held out the piece of evidence.
“Dad!” It came from the girl, who stopped suddenly and gaped at her father. But Cadmon was the president of the Colonial Bank now, had gathered the full forces of his strength about him.
“I’ve scattered cigar-ends from here to Timbuctoo. That doesn’t mean I was there last night.”
“But this cigar-end means you were down by the river path last night, Mr. Cadmon. It was smoked some time within the last fifteen hours. You’ll notice it has a certain freshness.”
“I was down there this morning.”
“But it’s had a night’s dewon it.orpart of a night’s dew. You were down by that path last night before you went to bed. I suggest that you met Crane Sutton there; that you had words with him.”
Some of the color had faded from the banker’s heavy features. He glared oddly into Power’s eyes. He was afraid of something, desperately afraid, although that fear was apparent only in the depths of his bloodshot eyes. Suddenly his daughter said in a hard little voice:
“If you think my father killed Crane Sutton, you’re a fool !”
“I leien !” Cadmon reached a hand for her arm agitatedly to restrain her. But she had the bit in her young, confident teeth. Facing Power defiantly, she said:
“I saw him after father did. Hewas alive.” “You and who else?” Power said sharply. “That’s my business,” she replied grimly. “And it’s going to stay my business.”
Power smiled at her gently, patiently. “Shall I tell you. Miss Cadmon?”
And then a voice said behind them startlingly:
“You don’t have to.”
They swung, all of them. Pap let out a sharp “Mo' dien!" Miss Jane Craigie, pale and starry-eyed, stood in the doorway behind them.
There was an odd, fixed smile on her face as she came down the steps and stood beside them.
“It was I she saw with Crane Sutton last night.”
“And you ’ave smoke’ a cigarette wit’ him down by the wall?” Pap asked, [xxnting below.
T)OWER looked at her quizzically. There Jwas a certain power in Miss Jane Craigie and a glory. She had strength of character— it was in the firm line of her still lovely face but she had more than that a rich, womanly jx'rsonalitv. He gave his head a quick shake, as though to evade the picture she made standing there. He said, speaking slowly at first:
“Last night, Miss Craigie, you went down to the river to meet Sutton. You were followed by Miss Cadmon. But Mr. Cadmon had also gone down. He met Sutton on his way to your rendezvous. On the way back later he saw Miss Cadmon returning from the neighborhood of the boathouse. I’m suggesting”—he turned to the banker— “that when you learned this morning that Sutton had been murdered you thought your daughter might have done it—and said nothing. Right?”
Cadmon nodded his head dazedly. Power turned to Miss Craigie.
“So it was you who rang Sutton up last night after he went home?”
She gave him a look of surprise, then shook her head:
“I didn’t ring him up. I’d already agreed to meet him before he left.”
“Sacre!” muttered Pap. “What is all this?”
“You’re sure of that, Miss Craigie?” Power’s eyes gripped her face.
“Quite,” the girl replied.
“Am I to understand that there was something between you and Sutton?”
11er lips curled disdainfully, but before she could reply Helen Cadmon broke in with her hard young voice:
“It was all staged for my benefit. Craigie never did want me to marry him. It was her last attempt at breaking”—and here irony bittered her words—“my beautiful romance. She told me she could prove he wouldn’t be faithful. I was fool enough not to believe her. She went down to meet him to show me; insisted that I follow and see for myself. I saw.” Again she gave her hard little laugh.
“If you must know all the sordid details,” Miss Craigie said in her gentle voice. “Crane Sutton once thought he was in love with me. I gave him no encouragement then. But about a week ago I felt I should—in order to save Helen from unhappiness. I was successful.”
Cadmon. with a sharp breath of relief, swung on his daughter.
“For heaven’s sake, child, why couldn’t you have told me all this?”
Miss Craigie put a hand on the girl’s shoulder affectionately.
“I think she was afraid I might be suspected of his death, Uncle Burke.”
For a moment Power stared at her with eyes that seemed to look through and beyond her. And then, lifting the little black bag from the ground by his feet, he placed it on the table in front of him. He said to the banker:
Maclean's Magazine, March 15, 1935
“I wonder if you could let me have a cigarette?”
Cadmon took a silver case from his vest pocket and snapped it open.
“Thanks,” Power said, and then to Papineau: “Get Higgins, will you?”
When the sergeant had gone he said to the other three:
“I wonder if I might work here for a moment undisturbed? I’ll let you know when I want you again.”
nPHEY LEFT him gazing wonderingly on the spread-out contents of the bag on the table. Presently, Papineau returned with the ample Higgins.
“You smoke?” Power asked him.
“I’d like to trouble you for one.”
The butler retrieved a package from the tail of his coat, opened it, held it out. “Match, sir?”
“No, thanks ... By the way, Higgins, I suppose you felt the same way Mr. Cadmon and Miss Craigie did about this match between Sutton and Miss Cadmon?”
Something blinked in the shrewd old eyes of the butler, a certain awareness glimmered in his now much more vague expression.
“I was not overly pleased with it, sir,” he replied. “I ’ave a deep affection for Miss ’Elen. Mr. Sutton, if I may say so—
“I get you, Higgins. That’ll be all. See you later.”
The butler moved toward the door with his usual suave impressiveness, but once through it he gave a swift backward glance which Papineau caught. It betrayed uneasiness, and Pap exclaimed fervently for the second time that day:
"Sucré nom d'un nom!"
Power was working busily at the table. He had set up a small microscope and was now engaged arranging various glass slides. Presently lie was down over the eye-piece, all attention.
Watching him, not without a certain exasperation, Papineau demanded:
“Qu’est que ce que vous cherchez—The Lost Chord?”
Finally Power turned. Ile was grinning. “Nature,” he declared, “can hide no secret from the stubborn searcher. I’ve got six slides here, Pap. Each one has a sliver or two of tobacco gummed to it. You remember we found three cigarettes down below this morning. Here they are—one, two, three. Two of ’em are the same brand. But the third, which contained the deadly arecoline, is different.”
"Comment?” Pap pricked up his ears. "Le microscope tells you that?”
“Look for yourself. About a month ago I had occasion to study the microscopic structure of wood in an arson case where a certain gent tried to collect some easy insurance. I learned then that different woods show differently under the old mike. Struck me this afternoon that the same ought to be true of lubuc. And it is.”
Pap glanced down the projector and whistled.
"Sucre! It makes true!”
“There are three other slides here,” Power went on. “They come from the coffin-nails you saw me abstract from Cadmon and Î Iiggins; and the one I abstracted so nonchalantly at the Creevys this afternoon.” "Mo’ dieu! Les anciens encore!"
“The old birds again! And regardez! Here are Cadmon’s and Higgins’s . . . Got ’em? . . . Then here’s the Creevy brand— and the fatal butt. L(X)k at this pair carefully; they deserve it.”
"La même, chose!"
“Identical! So it’s the brothers Creevy we want, Pap. It was they who rang Sutton up last night—which explains why he didn’t want to hold an appointment with them. But he did hold it—after he’d left Miss Craigie —and smoked one of their cigarettes. Which permitted the whimsical brothers to kill two birds with one stone—avenge their niece, and make certain there’d be no more cliff pushings.”