The Hampstead Mystery eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 406 pages of information about The Hampstead Mystery.

“Yes, I’m glad to think that Holymead would have got off even if I hadn’t seen through Kemp,” replied Crewe thoughtfully.  “I made a bad mistake in being so confident that he was the guilty man.”

“The completeness of the circumstantial evidence against him was extraordinary,” said Walters, to whom the legal aspects of the case appealed.  “Personally I am inclined to blame Holymead himself for the predicament in which he was placed.  If he had gone to the police after the murder was discovered, told them the story of his visit to Sir Horace that night, and invited investigation into the truth of it, all would have been well.”

“No,” said Crewe in a voice which indicated a determination not to have himself absolved at the expense of another.  “The fact that he did not do what he ought to have done does not mitigate my sin of having had the wrong man arrested.  The mistake I made was in not going to see him before the warrant was taken out.  If I had had a quiet talk with him I think I would have been able to discover a flaw in my case against him.  What made me confident it was flawless was the fact that both his wife and her French cousin believed him to be guilty.  Mademoiselle Chiron followed Holymead from the country on the 18th of August with the intention of averting a tragedy.  She arrived at Riversbrook too late for that, but in time to see Sir Horace expire, and naturally she thought that Holymead had shot him.  When Mrs. Holymead realised that I also suspected her husband and had accumulated some evidence against him, she sent Mademoiselle Chiron to me with a concocted story of how the murder had been committed by a more or less mythical husband belonging to Mademoiselle’s past.  Ostensibly the reason for the visit of this extremely clever French girl was to induce me to deal with Rolfe, who had begun to suspect Mrs. Holymead of some complicity in the crime; but the real reason was to convince me that I was on the wrong track in suspecting Holymead.  Of course she said nothing to me on that point.  She produced evidence which convinced me that she was in the room when Sir Horace died, and, as I was quite sure that she believed Holymead to be guilty, I felt that there could be no doubt whatever of his guilt.”

“It is one of the most extraordinary cases on record—­one of the most extraordinary trials,” said Walters.  “You blame yourself for having had Holymead arrested but you have more than redeemed yourself by the final discovery when Kemp was in the witness-box that he was the guilty man.  That was an inspiration.”

“Hardly that,” said Crewe with a smile.  “I knew when he swore that he had seen Sir Horace leaning out of the library window that he was lying.  After the murder was discovered I inspected the house and grounds carefully, and one of the first things of which I took a mental note was the fact that the foliage of the chestnut-tree completely hid the only window of the library.”

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The Hampstead Mystery from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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