(2) Crewe suggested we had not got the whole truth
out of Hill. Hill
disappears the night after the trial. Is Hill the murderer?
(3) The handkerchief and the letters point to a woman
in the case,
although this was not brought out at the trial. Is it possible that
woman is Mrs. H.?
Rolfe realised that the chief pieces of the puzzle were before him, but the difficulty was to put them together. He felt sure there was a connection between these facts, which, if brought to light, would solve the Riversbrook mystery. Without knowing it, he had been so influenced by Crewe’s analysis of the case that he had practically given up the idea that Birchill had anything to do with the murder. His real reason for going to Hill’s shop that morning was to try and extract something from Hill which might put him on the track of the actual murderer. He believed Hill knew more than he had divulged. Hill, before his disappearance, had placed in his hands an important clue, if he only knew how to follow it up. That incident of the missing letters must have some bearing on the case, if he could only elucidate it.
Should he disclose to Chippenfield Hill’s story of the missing letters? Rolfe dismissed the idea as soon as it crossed his mind. He knew his superior officer sufficiently well to understand that he would be very angry to learn that he had been deceived by Mrs. Holymead, and, as she was outside the range of his anger, he would bear a grudge against his junior officer for discovering the deception which had been practised on him, and do all he could to block his promotion in Scotland Yard in consequence. Apart from that, he could offer Chippenfield no excuse for not having told him before.
Should he consult Crewe?
Rolfe dismissed that thought also, but more reluctantly. Hang it all, it was too humiliating for an accredited officer of Scotland Yard to consult a private detective! Rolfe had acquired an unwilling respect for Crewe’s abilities during the course of the investigations into the Riversbrook case, but he retained all the intolerance which regular members of the detective force feel for the private detectives who poach on their preserves. Rolfe’s professional jealousy was intensified in Crewe’s case because of the brilliant successes Crewe had achieved during his career at the expense of the reputation of Scotland Yard. Rolfe had an instinctive feeling that Crewe’s mind was of finer quality than his own, and would see light where he only groped in darkness. If Crewe had been his superior officer in Scotland Yard, Rolfe would have gone to him unhesitatingly and profited by his keener vision, but he could not do so in their existing relative positions. He ransacked his brain for some other course.