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First published in Detective Fiction Weekly, 12 March 1938
First e-book edition: Roy Glashan's Library, 2023©
Version Date: 2023-01-08

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Detective Fiction Weekly, 12 March 1938, with "Murder Buried Deep"


Janet's eyes were glistening dark pools, her white
lips moved stiffly: "He—moved. He—he moved!"

It's a long step from investigating ancient Egyptian tombs to
solving a 20th century murder—but not for the "Tomb Detective."


IT WAS just after four o'clock, but already the day was beginning to assume the quiet grayness of winter dusk. The corridor was dim and shadowy, and brass door knobs made cold golden gleams as Abel March walked along past them toward the stairs at the front of the building.

He was a big man, gaunt and tall and slightly stooped. He walked with a steady, effortless plodding step that could, and had, carried him over an amazing amount of ground in a short time. His hair was grayish at the temples, and his eyes were a deep blue, alert and kindly and understanding.

There was a sharp turn in the corridor at the head of the stairs, and he was almost there when he heard voices. The first was masculine, and it ended a sentence on a questioning note as March stopped, hesitating.

"... dance tonight?"

A girl's voice said reluctantly: "I can't, Bob. You know how much I'd like to, but I can't. Uncle was so angry last week. I just—just can't face it again."

March still hesitated, not wanting to listen but not wanting to disturb them, either.

The masculine voice said, suddenly angry and resentful: "How much longer are we going to have to put up with that?"

"Oh, Bob! Not much longer. Uncle doesn't understand. He's so—so set in his ways, and he's old. He's—done so much for me. He's never begrudged me anything I wanted. Please don't make it any harder."

"Okay. Forget the dance. Can I walk home with you?"

There was a little rustle of movement, and their heels clicked in receding echoes, going down the short flight of stairs.

March waited for a second, and then on a sudden impulse he turned around and walked back along the corridor. He turned to the right, went up a broad stairway, came out into another corridor. Coming to a door that had "English" written in the lower left hand corner of its frosted glass panel in neat gold lettering, he opened it and looked in.

It was a large square office with steel filing-cases looming high against the walls. There were four desks, none of them occupied, and another closed door to March's right. He tapped gently with his fingers on the glass panel.

"Riller," he said. "Professor Riller."

No one answered, and March turned the knob. The door was unlocked. March opened it and looked inside.

Riller was standing in front of the room's one high, narrow window. He was staring out into the twilight, his thin shoulders hunched forward tensely and his hands clenched into knobby fists behind his back.

"Hello, Professor," March said.

Riller whirled around with a sudden start, his glasses making a quick bright glint. He was an elderly man, thin and bald and dried up. He was the head of the English Department at Greys University, and he was keenly conscious of his own position and scholastic importance. He had always been careful to be polite to March because March had a reputation as a scholar and scientist so far in advance of his that there was no comparison.

March was an internationally famous archeologist, renowned for his explorations in a score of different countries. In addition to that he had a wide popular reputation as a radio lecturer on archeology. Advertised as the "Tomb Detective," he gave short talks on his own experiences and the things he found as a result of them. He had an amazing ability to reconstruct the life and time and customs of ancient peoples and to so explain them that men and women whose bones had long since disintegrated to dust became once more living, human, interesting and understandable.

"You startled me, Professor," Riller said, shakily.

"I knocked, but you didn't hear me."

"Come in," Riller said.

HE TURNED and looked out the window again. His back was stiffly rigid, and March could hear him breathing. March walked over and stood beside him.

Below them the campus was a white blanket criss-crossed in a pattern of black, straight lines that were cleared walks, surrounded on all sides by Gothic buildings that were tall and gray and haggard in the dusk and strangely like tipsily dignified old women with their white snow-caps set at jaunty angles.

Riller was watching two hurrying figures, walking close together along one of the paths.

"Isn't that Janet—your niece?" March asked.

"Yes," Riller said tightly.

"There's someone with her."

Riller made a strangled, furious sound in his throat. "That—Ames. I told her not to go around with him. I've warned her a dozen times."

"You don't approve of him?" March inquired.

"Approve of him. Approve! That stupid fool. He's nothing but a hired athlete. A paid performer on our football team. And he's here on a scholarship. Giving him a scholarship."

"Well, why not?" said March. "He certainly works for his education a great deal harder than most of our students. Football isn't an easy job. And his scholarship isn't paid for by the school. It's offered by a group of alumni."

The two hurrying figures outside were gone now, and Riller turned slowly to look at March.

"Did you ever play football?"

"Yes," March admitted.

"I thought so. You're prejudiced. Football is commercial athletics. It has no place in a college. It puts emphasis on brawn and thick skulls, not on brains."

"It takes some brains, too," March said.

"Bah! I'm sorry, Professor, but I don't care to talk about it any more. Frankly, this affair between Janet and Ames is driving me out of my mind. I won't have it. I won't! I've raised Janet since her mother and father died. I've given her the best education possible. She has a wonderful brain and wonderful opportunities. I won't have her throw herself away on that fool!"

March smiled. "I think you're taking it too seriously. Young people will fall in love, you know. It's been going on for several thousand years, and it would be a pretty difficult custom to change. Come on and drop over to the Faculty Club with me."

Riller shook his head. "No. I'm sorry. I want to go home. I want to see Janet. I have a few things to tell her."

"I wouldn't say anything to her," March said. "After all, there's no harm in walking across the campus..."

Riller went to the door, held it open. "Thank you, Professor. I'm quite capable of taking care of my own affairs."

MARCH lived and boarded at Peg-Leg Smith's Snug Haven. It was a big, square house just over the western boundary of the campus, looking fantastically modern now with snow drifted white and thick around the cupolas that were twin bulging eyes staring over the steep slant of the porch roof.

March's feet creaked coldly on the porch, and he fumbled in the shadows for the door catch. Warm air came out at him with a rush, pleasantly loaded with the odors of cooking food and hot rum. March shouldered the door shut, shed his overcoat and hat in the narrow entry hall, and went into the big, long living room.

"Ho!" said Peg-Leg Smith. "Tupper, roll out the rum keg, you swab! Here's the first mate comin' off his watch. And bring me another."

He was sitting in front of the fireplace, tilted back in an enormous leather chair with his peg leg braced against the wall. He was a short, incredibly round little man with a red face and a voice like a sea lion. During his career he had been cook on half a hundred freighters that had sailed the seven seas from one end to the other.

"Thanks," March said. "It would taste good."

He warmed his hands at the fire that was a red, glowing mass of coals. It was always good to get back to the Snug Haven again. It had an atmosphere that was unique.

This room Peg-Leg called "The Hold," and with good reason. It was loaded with one of the strangest cargoes ever accumulated, the fruits of Peg-Leg's raids on many an exotic port. There were oriental lamps and rugs in great profusion and Japanese hangings and a weird looking Chinese table made of teak and in-laid with ivory and a camel's pack saddle and, brooding bitterly in the shadows of one corner, a stuffed penguin whose name was Aunt Sue and who had been Peg-Leg's inseparable companion until, one time in Barcelona, it had eaten three cans of sardines without waiting for Peg-Leg to remove them from the cans which contained them.

The house itself always reminded March of some fantastic galleon, home from its travels now, and stranded grotesquely in the middle of the staid and sober college town. The impression was intensified at night when the halls were dimly narrow passageways with the wood-work gleaming dark and lustrous, and the cold snapped and groaned in the old timbers, and the wind creaked in the tree limbs around the roof.

Peg-Leg was holding a tin mug in his hands, and he hammered it emphatically on the stone mantel of the fireplace. "Tupper! Step lively!"

Tupper came hurrying through the dining room, carefully holding a small tray with two steaming mugs on it. He was a thin youth with an owlishly serious expression that was emphasized by his thick horn-rimmed glasses. He was a student at the University. He helped Peg-Leg around the Snug Haven in return for his room and board. He always looked pallidly unhealthy, worried, nervous.

MARCH took one of the mugs.

"Hello, Tupper. How are you coming along with the calculus?"

"A little better, I think, sir."

"If you're not busy tonight, bring it up to my room, and I'll see if I can't give you a hand."

"Thank you, sir," said Tupper.

"No!" said Peg-Leg emphatically. "Tupper, you go to the picture show tonight. I'll give you some money if you're short."

"No, sir," said Tupper. "I can't. I've—got to study." He hurried back into the kitchen.

"Damn and blazes!" Peg-Leg exclaimed. "That kid's got too much buzzin' around in his bean already. He hadn't ought to be at them books all the time. Don't do any good. I never studied and look how smart I am."

"I've noticed," March told him. He sipped at the hot rum, frowning thoughtfully. "Peg-Leg, do you know anything about love?"

"Me?" said Peg-Leg. "Why, hell yes. Everything. Why, I mind the time I was in Istanbul alookin' around to see what I could see and just by accident-like, I stumbled into this sultan's harem. Five hundred wives, he had. Or maybe, six hundred. I lost track pretty quick. Why, I was near smothered in the rush. They chased me around that palace like a rabbit. I couldn't get away from 'em."

"Did you try?" March asked, a faint smile tugging at his lips.

"Not very hard," Peg-Leg admitted. "Until the old man came home. Then you shoulda seen me. I hurdled a twelve-foot wall without missin' a stride. I run ten blocks in ten seconds flat. I run so fast I was on the boat ten minutes before my shadow caught up with me."

March smiled absently. "I was thinking of Bob Ames and Janet Riller—and Professor Riller."

Peg-Leg spat in the fire. "That crazy old coot! Somebody ought to keel-haul him and—"

The door bell shrilled once and then again. Before either of them could move, the door crashed back against the wall, and Janet Riller was standing there looking at them with eyes that were all dilated black pupil, holding on to the drape to support herself, shuddering uncontrollably.

"Old Nick and forty screaming demons," Peg-Leg said blankly. "What—what—"

She was a small girl with even, delicately-sensitive features and hair that was a deep, smooth black framing the small oval of her face. She was wearing a blue dressing gown that was short enough to show the smoothly rounded calves of her legs. She wore blue bedroom slippers that were damp, water-soaked. Her lips were pinched with cold.

"Dead," she said. "My uncle—is dead."

She swayed forward, and March jumped toward her, caught her as she fell. His cup of rum dropped, spattering hissing liquor on the fire. Peg-Leg came out of his big chair like a jack-in-the-box, astonishingly agile in spite of his wooden leg.

"Here! Put her here!" He pushed the chair even closer to the hearth. "Why, she's nigh froze! Why, she ain't got hardly nothing on!"

MARCH lowered her gently into the chair. Peg-Leg jerked a robe from the couch, wrapped it expertly around her. Her eyes were closed, and she breathed in long drawn gasps.

Peg-Leg presented his tin mug. "Drink this. It's hot. Do you good. Tupper always makes 'em hotter than hell-fire."

She swallowed some of the strong liquor, gasped.

"More," Peg-Leg urged. "Take a good pull at it."

She swallowed again, choking a little. Her lips regained some of their normal color. Her hand in March's grasp was icy cold, trembling. She opened her eyes slowly, staring up at him.

"I killed—my uncle."

"Blow me down!" Peg-Leg exclaimed.

March smiled at her. "Just rest a moment. You can tell us when you feel better."

"No! I've got—to tell you now. I came home early. I was changing my clothes when Uncle came in. He called to me, and when I answered he started upstairs. I could tell he was angry from the sound of his voice. I put on this robe and went into the hall..." She stopped, breathing hard.

"And then?" March inquired.

"We argued—there in the hall at the head of the stairs. He was terribly angry—because he had seen me with Bob Ames. He said awful things about Bob—about me. I couldn't stand it. I started down the stairs. I meant to go away—get out of the house. He started after me. He caught me by the shoulder. I jerked to get away from him. I—I didn't know what I was doing. He slipped and fell—rolling all the way down the stairs, bumping..." She put her hands over her face. "He's dead. Lying there. I ran—ran—"

"Suicide," said Peg-Leg stoutly. "Suicide and nothing else, that's what. Why, I mind the time I was on the Lucy C. and the third mate passed a remark about my coffee. I slung a skillet at him, and it cracked his head like an egg. Ephriam Royer was the skipper on that old tub. He drank three quarts of rum every day and his nose was so red we didn't need any portside lights when he was on the bridge. Suicide was what he called it, and he wrote it down in the log just that way. He said if a man had a papier maché skull he should either refrain from making smart remarks or else learn how to duck. And that's—"

"Enough," March finished.

"Oh," said Peg-Leg, blinking. "Well—all right."

There was a quick light step in the hall, and a woman stopped in the doorway of the living room, staring in at them in silent surprise.

"Miss Diola," March said, "will you come here, please?"

She was a small woman, competent and quick-moving, with a dark, faintly foreign air about her. Her hair was jet black, piled high on her head. Her eyes were a deep and sympathetic brown. She taught courses in both Italian and French at the University. At the moment she was Peg-Leg's only feminine boarder.

She came forward quickly now and said: "What is it, please?"

"This is Miss Janet Riller," March said.

"Yes, yes. I know Miss Riller. But what is the trouble?"

"Miss Riller's uncle, Professor Riller, has had an accident. I am going over to his house at once. Will you stay with her, please?"

"Of course." Miss Diola knelt down beside Janet and put her arm comfortingly around the girl's shoulders.

March nodded to Peg-Leg. "You call a doctor. Tell him to come over to Riller's."

"Aye, aye, sir!" said Peg-Leg. He hurried out into the hall with March, helped him on with his coat. He looked back into the living room cautiously and then put his mouth close to March's ear. "That old cuss ain't gonna need a doctor, I'll bet you a chaw off my best plug. Love is like a locomotive goin' ninety miles an hour. Sometimes you can flag it down, but it ain't healthy to stand in the middle of the track when you try it."


THE night had fallen now, and the wind had a bleakly bitter chill. It brought stinging tears to March's eyes as he hurried across lots following Janet Riller's wavering tracks in the deep, crusted snow. He came out into South Street, and the University was stretched down in the valley below him. Now, outlined by its lights, it looked like a square tilted a little with the sweep of the ground, pushing against the much larger oblong that was the city behind it.

Windows beckoned warmly cheerful on both sides as he went quickly along, and he felt once more the pleasant and comfortable charm of these surroundings, and at the same time he wondered if he weren't going toward something that would spoil all that and over-lay everything with a tragedy and all the more horrible because it was so useless.

The campus and the residential district around it seemed an isolated little corner of the world where life was dignified and leisurely and contemplative and where the harder, cruder things were pushed back and away. But all that could change—so quickly.

Riller's house was on the corner, set back away from the street. The iron picket fence around it made a slanting ladder of shadow on the lawn. The gate was open. March's feet crunched coldly on the sidewalk.

He went unhesitatingly up on the porch. The front door was open wide, pushed back against the wall, and March was within three paces of it when he saw the vague, formless movement in the dark shadows of the hall. He stopped short, feeling a little crawling chill along the back of his neck.

"Who's there?" he said sharply.

The movement was closer to the door, and a man's form took shape out of the shadow. "Ames, sir," a voice said in a tone that was thick with uncertainty and shock.

"Ames!" March exclaimed. "What are you doing here? Where's Professor Riller?"

Ames was big, almost as tall as March and much broader. He had the heavy-set shoulders and deep chest of an athlete. His face was attractive in a battered, homely way normally, but now it was drawn and stunned, and a muscle at the corner of his mouth twitched spasmodically.

"He—he's hurt."

"Where?" March demanded. "Show me."

He pushed into the dark hallway, fumbled for the light switch, flipped it over. At the blaze of lights, he turned his head automatically to look toward the staircase at his left. The staircase was empty, and there was nothing at its foot. There was no sign of Riller.

"Where is he?" he asked.

The skin on Ames' face looked white and shiny and taut. "In the dining room. He—he's dead, sir."

March pushed through the drapes that masked the square doorway. He felt along the wall, snapped another switch, and the bright light gleamed on the polished mahogany of a round center table. Riller was lying on his face, half hidden under it. His arms were flung wide in front of him, as though he had tried to check the force of his fall.

March knelt beside him. Again he felt that crawling chill along the back of his neck that was like the congealing touch of icy fingers. Riller was dead. There could be no doubt of it. His head was a horrible welter of blood and broken bone. His skull had been smashed.

DRAWING a deep, steadying breath, March stood up. "Yes," he said to Ames. "He's dead. How did you come to be here?"

Footsteps pounded loudly and suddenly up the walk, across the porch. Two men burst into the hall and stopped short in the doorway of the dining room.

"Ah!" said the first one, heavily triumphant. "So here we are!" He was short and widely thick-set with long, heavy arms and thick legs that were bowed a little. He wore a black hat with the brim snapped down over his eyes. His cheeks were red from the bite of the wind, spotted with little purple clusters that were broken veins. He held a stub of a cigar in the corner of his mouth. He jerked his head now at the man with him. "Outside, Murph. Take the back."

The second man was a uniformed policeman, solid and bulky looking in his blue greatcoat. He nodded silently at the order and went back along the hall toward the rear of the house.

"Lieutenant Burke," the first man said, jerking his thumb to indicate his own chest. "Who're you two?"

"This is Bob Ames," March said. "My name is Abel March."

Burke squinted at him. "March, huh? You the guy they call the 'Tomb Detective?'"


Burke shrugged. "Well, this ain't no tomb, although it looks like somebody's been tryin' to make it one. Is that Riller on the floor?"

March said: "Yes. May I ask just how you came to be here?"

"I was just gonna ask you that," said Burke. "But seein' you got it in first, I'll answer it. Some guy called up headquarters. Wouldn't give his name. Just said that Professor Riller's niece had just killed the old man."

Ames drew in his breath in a strangled gasp. "No!"

Burke looked at him. "No, what?"

"She didn't. I tell you, she didn't!"

"How do you know she didn't?" Burke asked. "Did you do it?"

The question hit Ames with the force of a physical blow, and he winced under it. "No," he whispered thickly. "No."

"Well, where is this niece?" Burke demanded.

"She's at my boarding house at present," March informed him.

Burke nodded. "Okay. Now what do you know about this? The guy that called us said that this niece pushed the old man down the stairs and cracked his noggin for him."

Ames' breath whistled through his nostrils, and he said something in an incoherent mumble.

"That's absurd," March said promptly. "Professor Riller slipped and fell down the stairs. The fall merely knocked him unconscious momentarily. Janet Riller, his niece, was frightened and ran over to my house to get aid."

"Huh!" said Burke. "It sounds nice, but you ain't tryin' to claim he's unconscious now, are you? He looks pretty dead to me."

"He's dead," March admitted. "But the fall downstairs didn't kill him."

"No?" said Burke.

"No. In the first place, there's nothing on the stairway or near it that could produce the wound on the back of his head. In the second place, he couldn't possibly have gotten up and walked in here after receiving such a wound."

"Ummm," Burke said thoughtfully. "That head don't look like he could get it from just fallin' down stairs, at that."

"He couldn't," March agreed. "I only examined the wound very superficially, but it looks to me as though he had been struck repeatedly with some blunt, heavy weapon."

"Yeah," said Burke. He nodded at Ames. "You're Ames, the football guy, huh? What're you doin' here?"

AMES swallowed with an effort. "I—I came over to talk to Professor Riller."

"What about?"

Ames put one hand up to his head. "I came to talk to him about Janet. Professor Riller objected to her going with me."


"Because I'm a football player."

"Huh?" said Burke. "Are you tryin' to boob me?"

"It's true," March put in. "Professor Riller hated all forms of organized athletics. I don't know why. But he was really a fanatic on the subject. He hated football and anyone that participated in it particularly, I suppose because it is the most popular and publicized of organized games. He couldn't talk reasonably about it. He flew into a rage whenever anyone mentioned the game. It amounted to a mania with him."

"If you ask me," said Burke, "all professors are a little on the screwy side." He nodded meaningly at March.

"All right, Ames. Go ahead. He didn't want you to go with his niece, so you came over here to talk to him about it."

"Yes," Ames agreed dully. "Janet and I love each other. We want—to be married. I didn't want to always be— hiding, sneaking, when I went out with her. After all, it was so stupid. To object to me just because I played football. He and I had argued about it before, but we had gotten no place. This time I intended for us to come to a final understanding."

"Oh," said Burke, looking sideways at Riller's body. "A final understanding, huh? Well, go ahead."

"When I came up on the porch," Ames said, "I saw that the door was open. I couldn't understand that—in this cold weather. I knocked, and then I heard something moving—"

"Where?" Burke demanded, instantly alert.

Ames shook his head blankly, "Somewhere in the back of the house. Quiet, stealthy movement. I called. No one answered. I thought of burglars..."

"Uh-huh," said Burke, nodding sarcastically. "You thought of burglars—so what did you do?"

"I came inside. The back door squeaked, as though someone had closed it carefully. I went through the hall toward it. It was dark, and I don't know the house well. I fell over a chair. Then I went into the kitchen. There was no one in sight. I looked out the back door. I couldn't see anybody."

"I can believe that last, all right," said Burke.

"Then I came back through the dining room, and—and I saw Professor Riller lying here..."

Burke made a flat, cutting gesture with his hand. "That's enough." He came two steps closer, suddenly shot out his hand and caught Ames by the lapel of his coat. "You killed him!"

"No," Ames said uncertainly. "No, I—"

"You lie! You come in here after the girl scrammed, or maybe before, for all I know. The old boy had just taken his tumble down the stairs. He was groggy, half knocked out. He come staggerin' in the dining room, here, and you come running after him and hit him—"

"With what?" March asked quietly.

Burke jerked his head around. "Huh?"

"Hit him with what? Ames was here when I got here. He hadn't left. There's no weapon here. If Ames hit him—what did he hit him with?"

A foot-fall sounded in the hall, and the policeman loomed in the doorway. He was holding a short, heavy piece of lead pipe, dangling it carefully in front of him, gripped between his gloved forefinger and thumb. The pipe was crusted with something black and thick near its end.

"Look," the policeman said. "I found this just outside the back door. I seen the hole in the snow. Somebody slung it..."

Burke grinned gloatingly at March. "There's your answer, Professor. Right out of the back of the book."


IT WAS very late when March got back to Snug Haven again. Peg-Leg was still sitting in front of the hearth. Professor Lacey, one of the boarders, sat opposite him. Peg-Leg was still drinking rum. He had consumed quite a lot. March could tell that instantly, because the more rum Peg-Leg drank the closer he moved to the fireplace. He was now practically inside it, with his wooden leg so close to the bed of gleaming coals that it was in momentary danger of catching fire.

There was a murderous looking butcher knife sticking in the floor beside his chair, the long blade glinting coldly.

"Hi!" he said fuzzily, waving the mug of rum at March. "Greetings, mate. Have a drink?"

"No, thanks," March said. His gaunt face was drawn and tired and worried. "Good evening, Lacey."

Lacey nodded and said: "Hello, Professor." He was sitting in the chair opposite Peg-Leg. He was a short man, partially bald, with a precise, slow way of speaking. He was plump, and his face should have been ruddy, but it had a drawn, gray pallor. His eyes looked tired, and he slumped a little sitting in the chair. He taught several Political Science courses at the University.

"Did the police come here to question Janet?" March asked.

Peg-Leg nodded carefully. "They did, but they didn't."

"Didn't what?"

"Question her," said Peg-Leg. "I was a sittin' here whittlin' on my wooden leg with this here butcher knife when a lemon by the name of Burke put his sour puss inside the door. He wanted to ask her questions, and I said no. We had an argument, and it seems I got excited and started gesturin', all forgetful about the knife in my hand. First thing I know, this Burke went out of the door so fast a cat could have sat on his coat tails. He ain't been back since."

"Where's Janet now?"

"Upstairs. Miss Diola is stayin' with her."

March nodded. "That's best. She's been under enough strain today without having police question her."

"I heard they arrested Ames," Lacey said. "Is that true?"

"Yes. I went down to the police station with him."

"Do they have any case against him?"

"Yes," said March. "And a pretty good one. The whole set-up makes him a logical suspect. Did you explain to Janet that the fall didn't kill her uncle, Peg-Leg?"

"Yup," Peg-Leg answered. "I told her as soon as you called me. That cheered her up some, but then I had to tell her about Ames gettin' pinched, and that made her worse again."

March was frowning. "There's something else behind this. The police got an anonymous telephone call, saying that Janet had killed her uncle. How did the person who called know anything about it? Who was it that called?"

"The police will find out, probably," Lacey suggested.

March shook his head. "I don't like to depend on that. They're not very interested. They think Ames did it, and they've got Ames." He moved his gaunt shoulders. "I'm worried about it. I like both of those young people a great deal. This is the sort of thing that can tear them to pieces. It will spoil their whole lives."

He stopped, looking curiously at Lacey. He wasn't slumped down in the chair now. He was sitting bolt upright with his hands clenched on the chair arms until the knuckles were white with strain. His eyes stared at something behind March with a glassily horrified sheen.

MARCH turned around. There was a window behind him, but as he looked at it he could see nothing but the smooth blackness of the glass.

"What was it?" he demanded. "What did you see?"

Lacey put his hand up to his throat. "A face," he said thickly. "There was a face—looking in at us..."

Peg-Leg blew out his breath in a sudden whoosh. "Old Nick!" he exclaimed. "Old Nick and his red hot pinchers. You seen it too, then. I thought I was gettin' the screamin' megrims." He took a long enthusiastic swallow of rum. "Whew!"

"It was yellowish," Lacey said in a whisper. "It was just—a face. Blank. Like a mask. There was no expression in it. Only—it wasn't a mask."

March started for the door. "Come on. We'll look."

"Not me," said Peg-Leg. "It's outside, and I'm inside. That's the way I like it."

Lacey got up heavily and followed March through the hall and out the front door. It was warmer now than it had been earlier in the evening. The air had lost some of its bitterly cold bite. And snow was falling softly, gently, thickly, in big wet flakes that glittered like monstrous individual jewels whenever the light touched them.

March went quickly down the steps. "Go to the right," he said to Lacey. "I'll go the other way. We'll meet in back. Call out if you see anything."

March went around the front porch, walking cautiously, hearing his feet crunch in the old snow under the layer made by the new fall. The big flakes touched his face with wet, soft fingers, and the night seemed still and heavy around him.

He turned the corner and went along the side of the house. The window through which Lacey and Peg-Leg had seen the face was on this side, and March saw tracks, going along close to the house wall the same as he was doing. They were smaller than his own tracks, shapeless holes in the snow, already filling with the falling white flakes.

For some reason March had never thought that the face, if there had actually been a face, might mean any personal danger to him, or to anyone else. It didn't occur to him—until now.

The tracks did it. Mute, mysterious traces in the snow. He stopped, and his throat felt thick suddenly. He was utterly alone in the shadow of the house, and he had no weapon. The person or thing that made those tracks could have heard him coming very easily, could be watching him now.

It was watching him. March saw it move, now that he had stopped. It wasn't far away. It was a vague blot against the formless background of the snow.

"Hello," March said. His voice sounded small and shrill in his own ears. He repeated the word: "Hello."

The vague form was a man—a small, wiry man with gray hair tumbled loosely down over his forehead. He wore no coat, no hat. He didn't answer March. He stood watching, with his head queerly canted to one side, as though he were listening like an animal listens—with a sort of wary curiosity.

March's face was stiff. "Who are you?" he asked. He kept his voice low and steady.

There was no answer. The man came two long steps closer. March could see him more plainly now, and he understood what Lacey had been trying to tell him. There was something the matter with the man's face. It had an animal-like vacancy. There was no expression, no feeling, no human intelligence....

MARCH swallowed with an effort. He had the answer. The man was insane. "Who—are you?" he asked again.

The man shook his head in a knowing, childish sly way.

March took a deep breath. "You can't stay out here without a coat or hat. You'll catch cold. Come in the house with me."

The man shook his head again in the same quick, sly way.

Lacey called suddenly from the back of the house. "March! March! Where are you?"

The small man spun around instantly and started to run. He was amazingly quick and light on his feet. March went after him. The small man ran toward the back of the house and the sound of Lacey's voice.

"Lacey!" March shouted. "He's coming! Head him off!"

Vaguely through the shadowy white slant of the snow, March saw Lacey's bulky form plow around the corner of the house. Lacey saw the small man coming and stopped and braced himself. They met right at the corner and blended into a kicking, struggling blur.

There was an incoherent shout, and then Lacey staggered sideways, bumped hard against the side of the house, slumped down into the snow. The small man whipped around the corner and disappeared. March got there seconds later, but he could see nothing in back of the house but the slow silent fall of the snow. Tracks went on a slant across the back yard toward the gate in the white-draped hedge that masked the alley.

March knelt down beside Lacey. "Are you hurt?"

Lacey shook his head. "N-no. Breath—knocked out." He put his fingers slowly up to his cheek and then looked at them in a dazed way. They were smeared with blood. "He scratched me. Like—like an animal."

"He's insane," March said.

Lacey stared up at him. "What! Insane? How do you know?"

"If you had gotten a good look at his face, you wouldn't need to ask. It's perfectly obvious."

"Oh," said Lacey. He heaved himself clumsily to his feet. "Well, let's look for him. We can follow his tracks..."

"No," said March. "He went into the alley. He'll go on out into the street. We couldn't follow him any distance. The snow is falling too fast."

"Then what will we do?" Lacey asked.

"Report it to the police. They'll keep a look-out for him. I don't think he's dangerous at all, if he's left alone. He fought with you because he didn't want to be caught."

"I don't know about that," Lacey said, touching his cheek. "He felt pretty dangerous. I wonder why he was looking in our window?"

"That's what I'm wondering," said March. His voice was seriously concerned, and he was frowning. "I wish we had caught him. I have a queer feeling about it—a hunch, perhaps. If I had only stopped to think... But I really supposed you had just seen some reflection in the glass. I wasn't prepared..."


LACEY and Peg-Leg were eating breakfast at the big, round table in the dining room when March came downstairs the next morning. Lacey had twin strips of adhesive tape covering the scratches on his cheek. The white of the bandage made his grayish pallor more noticeable. He greeted March absently. Peg-Leg waved a fork, his mouth full of toast.

Tupper came in from the kitchen with a tall glass of tomato juice and put it down in front of March.

"Thanks, Tupper," March said. "I'm sorry we didn't get together on the calculus last night."

"That's all right, sir," Tupper told him diffidently. "I'm beginning to understand it better, I think."

He started to go back into the kitchen, and the door bell rang once and then again. Tupper went into the front hall to answer it.

Peg-Leg swallowed another mouthful. "Now who the blazes is callin' at this hour?"

Tupper came back in. "A policeman..."

"Hello," said Burke heartily. "Good morning, everybody. Eating breakfast, eh? Looks mighty good, too. I didn't have a chance to eat yet. I've been busy."

"All right," Peg-Leg said in a disgusted tone. "Tupper, get him a cup of coffee and some toast. Mind you don't put much butter on the toast, either. I'm not feedin' the whole police department."

"Are you making any progress?" March asked.

Burke pulled up a chair and sat down at the table. "You bet. Lots of it. I'd like to talk to Miss Riller. But no hurry. No hurry at all. Just whenever she feels up to it."

Tupper brought in a cup of coffee and some fresh toast. Burke attacked them hungrily.

"Did you find any fingerprints on that pipe?" March asked.

Burke shook his head cheerfully. "Nope. Ames wiped it off, or else he was wearin' gloves. Found plenty of his prints around the place though."

"That doesn't prove anything. You found him on the scene."

"Sure," said Burke in a knowing way. "Oh, by the way, I got some more news for you. Remember the looney you reported peekin' in your window last night?"

"Yes," said March.

"Well, I figured from the looks of Peg-Leg here, the last time I seen him, that the guy was probably ridin' a team of pink elephants and leadin' a green dragon..."

PEG-LEG put his knife and fork down carefully and leaned across the table. "Are you insinuatin' that I was drunk and seein' things?"

"No, no," said Burke. "I was wrong about it. I admit it. You did see the guy lookin' at you, because the boys picked him up."

"Where?" March asked.

"Clear out on the other side of town —about dawn this mornin'. One of the prowl cars spotted him walkin' along the road. They corraled him and took him to the hospital."

March nodded. "That's the best place for him."

"It is," Burke agreed. "He's not only looney, he's a mighty sick man. He'd evidently been walkin' around all night without no hat or coat, wearin' nothin' but a light suit. He's got pneumonia, and he's gonna be lucky if he pulls through it. The doc was tellin' me he ain't dangerously insane. He's just childish, sort of. Got a mind like a little kid. We know who he is now."

"Who?" March inquired.

"Name of Jackson. He's been an inmate of one of the state asylums in Michigan for a long time. He got away a couple weeks back. I don't know how in the devil he got this far..."

Lacey's fork hit his plate with a sudden clatter. "You said—" His voice sounded thick and choked. His grayish pallor had deepened, and his face looked old and sick and shrunken. "You said—Jackson?"

"Yeah," said Burke, surprised.


"Sure," Burke said.

Lacey's breath sounded nosily ragged. "Excuse me—please. I have a—phone call ..." He was making a tremendous effort to control himself, but his hands were shaking, and he had to hold on to the back of the chair for a moment before he was steady enough to walk to the doorway into the hall.

"Well, what's eatin' him?" Burke demanded.

March shrugged in a puzzled way, and Peg-Leg grunted indifferently. From the hall they could hear the click as Lacey picked up the receiver of the telephone, and then his voice said: "Greys two-two-three-one, please."

Burke took another bite of his toast. "People sure act funny in this joint."

Peg-Leg glared at him. "A lot of funny people come here, that's one reason."

Tupper came in from the kitchen with March's cereal and a cup of coffee. He picked up the glass that had held the tomato juice and started back with it.

"Say," said Burke. "How about some more coffee for me?"

"If you get it, you pay for it," Peg-Leg told him. "This here saloon don't serve free lunches."

HEELS made a quick, light tap-tap-tap coming down the stairs into the hallway. They stopped suddenly, and then there was a scream, shrill and high and unbelievably terrorized.


Heels made a quick, light tap-tap-tap coming down the stairs into
the hallway. They stopped suddenly, and then there was a scream.

Burke had taken the last swallow out of his cup, and he blew it across the table in a coughing spray. The glass in Tupper's hand dropped and shattered on the floor. March kicked his chair back, and he reached the door into the hall a scant foot ahead of Burke. Tupper and Peg-Leg were right behind them.

Janet Riller was standing at the foot of the stairs, both hands gripping the rail. Her eyes were glistening dark pools, and her white lips moved stiffly, fumbling with the words.

"He—moved. He—he moved!"

The telephone was on a stand back under the stairway, and Lacey was lying there in the shadows beside it. He was on his side, sprawled loosely, and a wan bar of sunlight touched his face and glistened redly in the blood that spread sluggishly under his shoulders. A long butcher knife with the blade stained a dark red lay beside him.

March knelt beside him, touched him gently. There were three jagged cuts, in the shape of a rough triangle, in the dark cloth of his coat between his shoulder blades.

Burke swept the telephone off the stand, jiggled frantically at the receiver hook. "Ambulance!" he shouted into the mouthpiece "Three-forty-two Berkeley Street! Emergency!"

"I'm afraid it's too late," March said softly. "He's not breathing. Any one of those three wounds would be fatal."

Burke slapped the receiver on its hook. "All right." He pointed his finger at Janet Riller. "Now, what've you got to say?"

She touched her white lips with trembling, uncertain fingers. "I—stayed with Miss Diola last night. She kept awake almost all night—trying to comfort me. I finally went to sleep. When I awoke, she was sleeping. I didn't want—to awaken her. I came down...I thought if I had a cup of coffee... He was lying there, just like he is. I thought—thought he moved..."

"Where'd that knife come from?"

"It's mine," said Peg-Leg.

Burke spun around. "Yours, huh?"

"Yeah. I keep a lot of 'em around—to carve policemen with."

Burke snarled incoherently. "You—you— Watch your step, mister. You'll get plenty of trouble, without lookin' for any." He whirled toward Janet. "I got it now, and it works out just about like I figured. You killed your uncle. That guy Ames is coverin' for you. He told the truth as far as he went. He did hear somebody. Only he saw 'em, too. It was you! You ran out the back door and slung that pipe away as you went. Then you hooked that butcher knife from Peg-Leg's kitchen and stabbed Lacey with it just now."

"Why?" March asked.

"Mister," said Burke, "I'm sick of your phoney questions. I don't know why yet, but I'll find out. And while I'm doin' it, she's goin' to jail, where she can't murder anybody else!"

"All right," March agreed amiably. "You don't want me to stay here, do you? I have some business to attend to."

"Go ahead," Burke jeered. "Maybe you'll find a tomb to sniff around in."

March nodded. "Maybe I will."

THERE was a drug store on Oak Street, three blocks from the Snug Haven. March entered it, got some change, and shut himself in the telephone booth at the back of the store. He deposited a nickel, and when the operator answered, said: "Greys two-two-three-one, please."

He remembered that those were the last words Lacey had ever uttered, and in spite of the cold he could feel the perspiration moist and clammy on his forehead. He took a deep breath, steadying himself. He had the connection now, and the bell at the other end made a regularly spaced buzzing in his ear.

There was a click finally, and a masculine voice said: "Yes?"

"This is Professor Abel March," March said evenly. "To whom am I speaking, please?"

"This is Foster, March. How are you?"

March drew in his breath slowly. "Professor Foster?"

"Why, yes. Of course."

"I see," March said. "Could I speak to you for a moment immediately—in private?"

"Certainly. I have no classes until eleven. Can you come up to the house?"

"Yes," said March. "I'll be there very shortly."

Foster was the senior professor in the Psychology Department at Greys University. He was a widower, and he lived alone—except for a nondescript character by the name of Jones who served him as a combination chef, chauffeur, butler, and general handy man—on the North side of the campus. The house was small and neat and compact, comfortably banked in the white of the snow piled deep around it.

Foster received March at the door and ushered him into the study, a man's room with a big stone fireplace and shiny, deeply comfortable leather chairs and a flat desk that was piled a foot high with examination papers.

"I'm glad you called," Foster told March. "I heard you were accidentally mixed in with poor Riller's death, and I wanted to ask you more about it."

Foster was a big man, powerfully and heavily built. He had thick, silvery gray hair, and his face was still tanned from his summer golfing. He had blue eyes and a cheerfully open smile.

"I don't know a great deal about it—yet," March said.

"I read in the paper that they arrested Ames."

"Yes. They suspect both him and Janet Riller."

Foster shook his head, scowling. "Bad, that. I know both of those kids, and I like them."

"Do you know why Riller objected so violently to organized athletics—especially football?" March asked.

"YES," Foster said. "It's not hard to understand when you know the man's history. I do. I went to school with him. That was at Ledder, back in New England. It was a small college, and they went in very heavily for athletics. They prided themselves on being a tough bunch. It wasn't co-educational—no girls there. The college habitually played games with colleges that had a much larger student body, and in order to get teams that could compete with these bigger colleges, all the students at Ledder had to cooperate. Everybody went out for some team—or for several. Why, I used to turn out for four or five sports every year, and I wasn't any great shakes as an athlete, either."

March nodded. "I know the type of school. Heavy on athletics—light on scholarship."

"That's it," Foster agreed. "The school had a big athletic reputation to uphold, and they were bound to do it. Riller should never have come to the place. He wasn't the type. He had always been physically weak, sickly, never taken part in any kid games, even. You can imagine how out of things he was. One thing I still remember about him—he threw a baseball like a girl does. He had absolutely no interest in athletics of any kind."

"I see," said March.

"Well, the result was, the rest of the students made life miserable for him. None of them could understand him, and they rode him constantly. He was the perfect butt for jokes. He had no sense of humor. He always bit on every gag, no matter how silly. Stooge—is what he'd be called these days."

"I understand, now," March said.

"He took four years of incessant riding," Foster continued. "And four years is a lifetime when you're young. He never got over it. He hated athletics and athletes with a venom that was almost incredible. It was a phobia with him, plainly enough. He wouldn't make any attempt to overcome it, because he would never admit that it existed."

"Did Lacey attend that school, too?" March asked.

"Why, yes. He did. Not while either Riller or I were there. He came after we graduated."

"Lacey was murdered this morning," March said.

"Murdered?" Foster repeated blankly. He stared at March. "You—you're not serious?"

"Yes. Janet Riller has been arrested. The police suspect that she killed him."

"Good God!" said Foster explosively. "What utter nonsense! What reason would she have? She hardly knew the man. Lacey had been to Riller's house occasionally, I know, and she'd met him, certainly. But murder him. It's absurd."

"I think so," March agreed. "But there's no use in merely saying so. I'm trying to prove it."

Foster's face was pallid under the tan. "Lacey—murdered. It's—hard to believe. He was a decent chap, and I liked him. A good man in his field, too. Serious and competent. He wasn't a man to make enemies. Why anyone should murder him..."

"Why should anyone murder you?" March asked.

Foster's big shoulders jerked. "Me?"

"Yes," said March. "Lacey was attempting to call you just before he died. I heard him give your number. That's why I called you. I think Lacey was trying to tell you something—warn you of something. And I think that's why he was killed."

Foster moistened his lips. "But—but no one would want to murder me! Man, it's fantastic. You must be mistaken."

"No," March said. "Just before he died, Lacey had heard that a man named Jackson had escaped from a mental institution in Michigan."

Foster's shoulders slumped. "Jackson," he said slowly.

"Yes. Do you know him?"

Foster nodded. "Of course. He went to school with Riller and me, graduated with us. Riller and he and I all went into the teaching game, and seven years after we had graduated, just by sheer coincidence, we got jobs in a small school in Michigan. We hadn't seen or heard of each other from the time we graduated. The thing happened there in Michigan."


"Jackson went mad. He had been married since he had graduated—very happily married. His wife died suddenly and tragically, and it shook him all to pieces mentally. I saw it coming first. That's an angle of my business. But there was nothing I could do. His mind just simply disintegrated. Riller and I took charge, since we had known him before, and had him committed to an institution where he could be cared for. He escaped, you say?"

"Yes. I think his escape is behind the deaths of Riller and Lacey."

Foster smiled wryly. "No, no. Lacey, you see, didn't even know Jackson. He'd heard about it through Riller, I suppose. When he heard about Jackson's escape, he was startled. But that could have no connection with his murder."

"Why not?"

"Because of the type of mental illness Jackson had. So many people think when a man's mind goes, he's crazy, and because he's crazy, he's dangerous. That isn't so. Particularly not in Jackson's case. In the first place, he's incapable of planning any set course of action. He couldn't concentrate. He'd forget it all in five minutes. His mind is so affected that almost all its efficiency is impaired. The shock of his wife's death simply slipped him back into his childhood mentally. He's utterly harmless. Of course, if you attacked him, he might strike back in instinctive self defense, but that's the limit."

"You're positive of that?" March asked.

Foster nodded. "Absolutely. I'd stake my life on it."

"You may be doing just that," March told him.

Foster laughed. "No, no! He's harmless—completely so. His escape does worry me, though. He's incapable of taking care of himself—helpless as a baby."

"You're right there," March agreed. "He's in the City Hospital now—with pneumonia."

"They found him, then," said Foster. "Poor devil. I'll go and see him—although I can assure you he won't recognize me. He won't remember. I'm sorry, March. You're away off the track on this matter. Jackson had nothing to do with any murders. He simply couldn't have."

"I think he did," said March. "But I'll be going now. I have some other business to attend to."


MARCH went down Foster's walk and turned to the right along the narrow street. At the first corner he stopped and looked back. Foster's house was hidden now by other houses and intervening shrubbery and the trees that lined the street.

March went to the right again. He stopped midway in the block at the mouth of a small alley that ran back in the direction he had come, lined on either side by the bulging walls of high hedges, the blank faces of garage doors. He hesitated thoughtfully, staring down at the snow.

One or two autos had come out of the alley, going slow, making deep, firm tread marks. There was a foot path along one side, already packed by the shoes of delivery boys, servants, tradesmen. March followed it.

Houses were backed closely against the alley on both sides, but there was no sound from them and no sign of any other living person. March walked alone in the cold silence of the alley, hurrying a little.

He came at last to a gate that made a gap in the hedge. He put out his hand to touch it and then stopped, his eyes narrowing. Someone else had touched the gate before him, in just the same way he had intended to do. The mark was plain on the top bar. An impression where fingers had gripped hard and packed the soft snow. Someone else had come this way.

March put his hand down in another spot, closer to the latch, and pushed the gate slowly open. It creaked a little, moving, and the sound was a thin, faint squeal.

March went inside a small, closely bordered back yard and stared at the rear of Foster's house. There was a screened back porch, looking darkly empty. Tracks led straight across the white snow to it, and there were no tracks coming back.

March approached the back steps, went up them quietly. He tried to peer through the screen, but he could see nothing against the deep shadows inside. He frowned uncertainly and then he pulled the screen door back a trifle and looked through the opening.

A man was lying under the shelf against the far wall. He was a small man, dressed in a blue suit. He was lying on his back with his head twisted over against his shoulder.

March came very quickly inside the porch, knelt down beside the small man. He was breathing in little fluttering gurgles. There was a black bruise that ran from over his temple down across his cheek. March straightened his head out so that he rested more comfortably, and left him there.

He opened the kitchen door noiselessly, looked in at the bright gleam of white ceilings and walls and colored linoleum. Some scoured pans glittered on the drain board, and there were more, waiting to be cleaned, in the sink. There was no one in sight, but March could hear voices talking.

He went across the kitchen, inched a swinging door open. The voices were louder, and there were two of them. March went quietly across the dining room, put his hand on the knob of another door, and began to turn it very gently.

There was something thick and uncertain about Foster's voice: "But listen to me sensibly. There was nothing else I could do. Surely you realize that."

"I don't realize it. You and your damned psychology. You're the one that started it. Riller just followed your lead. You're the one who's really to blame!"

MARCH could hear Foster draw in his breath. "Why—you—you killed Riller for that!"


"And Lacey," said Foster. "Lacey, too."


"Oh, you fool," said Foster. "You poor fool! Can't you understand that Riller and I did the only thing that could be done for your father? His mind was gone. He had to have care. We arranged so he could have it. It was for his good."

"You call me a poor fool. Perhaps I am. But I'm not a stupid, criminal fool like you are. Taking a man who was broken in health, sick physically, and putting him in an insane asylum."

"I'm sorry," said Foster. "But he was insane. Surely you can't have seen him and not know that."

"Now, yes. Who could help it, living year after year after year in that hell hole. You drove him insane. You! You ruined his life with your stupid blundering. And you ruined mine because you ruined his. How do you think I liked it, visiting him in that place, seeing him getting gradually worse and worse? Living and yet not living. Living while he was dead. Living in a horrible tomb that you put him in."

"Why, he was happy there," Foster said. "As happy as he could ever be. I visited him several times."

"To see the progress of your experiment. How you must have laughed to see it working out. Ruining the life of a man who never did you any harm. Killing him by inches. And now he's dying of pneumonia. You did that!"

"No," said Foster. "You did it, if you helped him to escape. He was safe where he was—well cared for."

"You lie! They mistreated him. They broke his will and his spirit and robbed him of his sanity."

"You fool," said Foster slowly.

"Riller died, and Lacey died. Lacey I didn't mean to kill. I wouldn't have killed him, but he would have told you too soon. I'm going to kill you, Foster. Now!"

"Yes," said Foster. His voice shook a little. "You poor, misguided fool. They'll hang you, you know."

"No. No one knows me. No one even suspects me."

"March does," said Foster. "He knows you're guilty, I think. If I hadn't been such a self-confident numb-skull, I'd have listened to him, and I wouldn't be here now."

"Yes—March... Perhaps I'll have to kill him..."

March went through the door and walked very quietly across the thick rug toward the figure that was standing with its back to him, leaning across the desk, pointing the stubby revolver squarely at Foster's face. March touched the figure on the shoulder and said quietly: "This is as good a time as any, Tupper."

TUPPER whirled around, jerking the revolver up. March leaned forward and hit him just as he turned. His bony fist caught Tupper under the jaw and made a flat smacking sound. Tupper went half over the desk, rolled off on to the floor in a white flutter of examination papers. He lay there very still, his jaw twisted queerly, and the breath gurgling a little in his throat.

March picked up the stubby revolver. "I struck him too hard. His jaw is dislocated."

Foster sat there rigid, as though he were afraid to move. After a long time, he raised one shaking hand and wiped his forehead.

"That was—close. I've had some close ones before—dealing with mental cases. But never like this one. He's Jackson's son, living under an assumed name, and he thought Riller and I deliberately put his father away . .

"I know," March said. "Jackson must have had some mental trouble that could be inherited. He gave the same weakness to his son. Tupper brooded over the fact that his father was committed to an asylum—he thought, unjustly—until he could no longer think sanely on that one thing."

"Jackson's wife died in child-birth," Foster said. "But I didn't know the baby lived. Jackson never would talk about it, even when he was rational. How did you know?"

March shook his head. "I didn't. I suspected Tupper. I didn't know his motive. You see, when Riller was killed, someone called the police and told them Janet Riller had killed her uncle by pushing him downstairs. Who was that? There were only two possibilities. Someone was in the house at the time and saw her do it, or else someone heard her say she did it.

"It was too much to suspect that someone who had a grudge against Riller would be hiding in his house at the particular moment when Janet and he had a quarrel. The second possibility was that someone heard her tell about it. But the phone call came at once—before she'd told anyone but Peg-Leg and me. Peg-Leg didn't call. He didn't have a chance. He was in the house with Janet all the time, and she would have heard him. But Tupper was in the house when she came. He could have heard and gone out and called."

"From where?" Foster asked.

"From Riller's house. Tupper went right over there, to make sure Riller was dead. Riller wasn't. Tupper killed him, and then he thought it would be a good idea to throw suspicion on Janet. So he called the police. Again—with Lacey: Tupper could have slipped out from the kitchen into the hall, stabbed Lacey and been back in the kitchen and into the dining room, all within spit seconds. I knew it was either he or Janet. I didn't think it was she. But there was no evidence. None at all. No motive that I knew of. That's why I couldn't do anything."

"Why did you come back here?" Foster inquired. "If you hadn't—"

"I meant to look around in back and see if I could find any tracks in the snow—any evidence of anyone spying on you. I meant to tell Jones, your servant, to watch out. He's all right, by the way. Tupper knocked him out with the gun. He's on the back porch. You'd better bring him inside." He looked around. "By the way, where's your telephone."

"In the hall," Foster said. "Do you want—"

"I want to give some very good news to Janet Riller and Bob Ames. And then I'd like to tell a gentleman by the name of Burke that sometimes tomb detectives can find more than dust and mummies."


Roy Glashan's Library
Non sibi sed omnibus
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