Chapter 162354981

See chapter in newspaper

Chapter NumberVII
Chapter TitleEVIDENCE AT THE INQUEST.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article162354981
Full Date1899-01-28
Page Number38
Corrections0
Word Count1842
IllustratedY
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleAdelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)
Trove TitleThe Red-Headed Man
article text

THE NOVELIST.

THE RED-HEADED MAN.

BY FERGUS HUME,

Author-of "The -Mystery of a Hansom Cab," "The Clock Struck One," "The "Bain

bow Feather," "Madame Midas," "Monsieur Judas," &c.

"bobbejiy!" gasped tiie secretary robberyt

CHAPTER VII.—EVIDENCE AT THE

INQUEST.

As may be guessed, the double tragedy

caused a great sorisatiou in London. That 1 a respected banker should be murdered by an unknown woman, and she in her turn should be assassinated by an unknown man, was such an unusual occurrence that for quite a week nothing else was talked of. The newspapers had leading articles on the subject, pointing out how negligent the police nqist be, when such terrible events could happen in the heart of the most civilized capital in the world. People of the busy-body type wrote letters to dif ferent editors suggesting various courses to be adopted to discover aud capture the un known assassin; and in street, drawing room, and club discussion on the same sub ject waxed hot and furious. , However, nothing tangible resulted from this storm in the teapot.

The inquest was held on the two bodies on Tuesday afternoon, three days after the committal of the crime. Torry, as ' having the conduct of the case in hand, had summoned the three cabmen as wit nesses;--also he had called upon Darrel to tell his story, had subpoenaed Leighbournc to identify the body; and had requested Vass to give evidence relative to the doings of the deceased before his final departure from the Fleet-street^ Office. In fact, the detective did aril he could to reveal the truth to the Jury, but iu spite of every effort the assassin of the unknown woman could not he discovered, or even indi cated. ever was there so mysterious a

ease.

The most important piece of evidence brought forward at the inquest was the production of the weapon with which the crime had been committed. On the steps of Cleopatra's Needle a long, cruel-looking Spanish kjiife — the blade of which was kept open by a strong spring in the handle —for the more effectual delivery of the blow, had been found by the tramp who had discovered the body. At first he had kept the weapon to himself; but on the chance of making some money out of it, he had taken the knife to Torry, who gave him ton shillings for it; and later on it figured before the eyes of an intelligent Jury, along with the clothes of the victim, and the two Green linages.

These last excited a great deal of curio sity, as they lifted the murders from a com monplace tragedy up to the level of ro mance. All sorts of wild ideas were afloat as to the reasons for their presence about the bodies of the victims; but not one per son was able to give a feasible explana tion. On the whole, all the evidence col lected was sparse and unsatisfactory; so that the Jury, directed by the Coroner, were only able to arrive at the common place verdict that the dead man and woman had been killed by some person or persons unknown. The public and the Press were both furious at this tame, ver dict, but on consideration confessed that they could think of no better one. After wards the arrival of an Eastern potentate in London attracted the notice of the fickle public, and the Green Mummy Case was quite forgotten. After the inquest, people said that the truth would never be known, and tacitly relegated the double crimes. The mystery which had begun

in Mortality-lane was a greater mystery-)

than ever.

"You might as well look for a needle in a haystack as try to find out the truth of this affair," grumbled Darrel, when matters were in this position.

"If that is your opinion, sir, you had better climb down," replied Torry, drily. "You came into the case at your own re quest, so it is quite reasonable for you to withdraw if you feel inclined."

"Do you intend to go on with the mat ter?" asked Frank, surveying the little man with amazement.

"Of course. It is not play wit-li me as it is with you, but work; and 1 have to earn my bread and butter. Guided by the evi

dence we have in hand, I intend to proceed j immediately. The victims are deal bus ! buried; but the, truth about them is not known. It is my duty to find out and punish the wrongdoers."

"The wrongdoer, you mean," said Darrel, speaking in the singular. "We know who

killed Mr. Grent.J1 I

"Pardon me, Mr. Darrel, but that is just j

what we do not know. I have altered my opinion on that point-."

"The woman who was murdered"

"Did not loll the banker. No, I am miry of it. A female of her slight build would not have had the muscular energy to drive a weapon through cloth and wool straight into the heart of a strong man so as to kill him at the first stroke. A pistol, yes, for that weapon is as fatal in the hands of a woman as in those of a man; but a strong, long, steady stroke, involving unusual mus cular exertion—to say nothing of the nerve power necessary. No, Mr. Darrel, I de cline to believe the woman guilty. Depend upon it, she was a victim not an. assassin."

"Well,""said Darrel, quietly, "victim or net, she was certainly an accomplice, else she would- not have emerged from Mor tality-lane with that man. You must admit that he must have killed Grent."

"Of course," assented Torry calmly. "I thought as much from, the time I lizard tht evidence of the third cabman. But I wish to learn why the man required the woman to be present; and why did he permit her to interview her murderer by lierseii?"

"How do you intend to obtain an answer to these questions?"

"By finding out the name oi'-.the dead

woman."

"That is impossible," declared Darrel, em phatically.

"By no means," replied Torry, coaly. "In fact, I have done something already towards discovering the name; and my discovery narrows still more the ground which we are exploring. To be precise, Mr. Darrel, every thing points to the motive for the crime being discovered in Wray House."

"hi what way?" aslred Frank, much as

tonished.

"I'll answer your question by asking another, sir. Do you remember how we traced the name of Great by means or the initials on his shirt?"

"Yes. I. remember quite well."

"1 resolved to apply that method to dis cover the dead woman's name."

"But there were no marks 011 her linen," cried Darrel.

"i know that," said Tony, rubbing his plump hands together, "but there was the name of a fashionable milliner stamped on the lining of the hat the dead woman wore. I went to see that milliner—Madame Vert, of Regent-street—and I discovered tihat the hat was made for Miss Sandoval."

"For Donna Maria," said Dane]; then, on receiving a nod from the detective, he asked ?—"How did her hat come to be worn by tlie dead woman?"

"i must enquire that from the lady her self," replied Torry; "but you can see for yourself that this discovery connects Wray House with the crime."

"What about his agitated demeanour?"

"Pooh, pcoh!" cried Torry briskly. "Of course, the man was agitated on hearing of Grent's terrible death. You can't judge a man in such circumstances. Now, to my mind, the fainting of Vass at the sight of llie mummy is more suspicious."

"I thought he explained that?"

"He docs—and in a way likely to upset-) my theory. Yass declares that he saw the Green Image 011 Grent's table; and it was the sight of it again, in connection with the crime, which made him faint. The explana tion is rather feeble. Still, if Grent had the mummy in his possession, he could not have received it from his assassin; and, if he did not, how was it found beside his dead body?"

"1 can't fay," admitted Darrel thought fully; "hut of one thing 1 am certain—that the mummy is the clue to the \vhole mys tery. What .about Captain Manuel?"

"Why do you mention him?" asked Tony abruptly.

"Well," said Frank slowly, ''it seems to me that the double tragedy has to do with Peru. F.veiywhere we turn we are met by Pern. In the first place, the mummy is a tomb image from the sepulchre of some Inca of Peru. In the second^ the knife discover ed is a Spanish-American bowie, which could only have eo-me from the-Ndw World. In the third, Grent's wife and adopted child are Spanish ladies from Lima. Finally, Captain Manuel is from Peru, and is the confidential friend of the dead man. What do you make of all this?"

"'That Grent was murdered by Manuel," sneered Tony.

"No; but that ? we must look in South

America—in Peru—in Lima, for the motive of the crime. Grent was there many years ago. He brought home a Spanish wife; so who knows but what he might have made some enemies there who swore to kill him, and accomplished thte tragedy of the other .night."

"That might explain Grent's death," said ! Torry, nursing his chin in his hand, "but; it does not reveal why this unknown woman

should have been killed. Yet I arn sure]

that the same motive will account for both 1 deaths. Oli!" cried the detective, in de-1 spair, "if I could only find out that mo-! fave. j

"Question Donna Inez," suggested Darrel. j "She, if anv one, can explain the reason,"

"MTiy go?"

"Because if my theory is correct she may remember if her husband made enemies in |

Peru."

"Peru! Peru! You have Peru on the brain. No," said Torry, "I may see Donna Inez latery but first I intend to ? search j

the rooms of Grent."

"The chambers in Duke-street?"

"Yes. Leighbouroe intends to meet me j there this afternoon, and we shall search |

amonst Grent's private papers for a pos sible clue."

"I wonder you did not search there be fore."

"There was no time," replied Torry,. tartly. "I have had a lot to do in getting evidence for the inquest. Now that is over and the victims are buried I can go for

ward."

"It- is a week sinee the murder," said Frank, "and some one may have - been in

Grant's chambers to remove all incrimi nating papers."",: . ?'

"The assassin you mean?" "Possibly."

"Well," said the detective, "there is some thing in that; but 1 doubt it, as the butler who keeps the. rooms would not be likely to let amy one into them during the absence'* at his tenant. However, I'll see. Will you

come?"

"No, tliauk-you," replied DarraL "I find my detective fever has passed away."

Torry'uttered a prophecy. "On the first discovery of any note you'll get that tevei again," said he.