The Hampstead Mystery eBook

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

He pulled open the window, and walked into the room.  The light of an afternoon sun showed him that the apartment was a breakfast room, well and solidly furnished in an old-fashioned way, with most of the furniture in covers, as though the occupants of the house were away.  The daylight penetrated to the door at the far end of the room.  It was wide open, and revealed an empty passage.  Inspector Seldon walked into the passage.  The drawn blinds made the passage seem quite dark after the bright August sunshine outside, but he produced an electric torch, and by its light he saw that the passage ran into the main hall.

His footsteps echoed in the empty house.  The electric bell rang continuously as Flack pressed it outside.  Inspector Seldon walked along the passage to the hall, flashing his torch into each room he passed.  He saw nothing, and went to the front door to admit Flack.

“That is enough of that noise, Flack,” he said.  “Come inside and help me search the house above.  It’s empty on this floor so far as I’ve been over it.  If you find anything call me, and mind you do not touch anything.  Where did you say the library was?”

“I don’t know, sir.”

“Well, look about you on the ground floor while I go upstairs.  Call me if you hear anything.”

Inspector Seldon mounted the stairs swiftly in order to continue his search.

The staircase was a wide one, with broad shallow steps, thickly carpeted, and a handsome carved mahogany baluster.  The inspector, flashing his torch as he ran up, saw a small electric light niche in the wall before he reached the first landing.  The catch of the light was underneath, and Inspector Seldon turned it on.  The light revealed that the stairs swept round at that point to the landing of the first floor, which was screened from view by heavy velvet hangings, partly caught back by the bent arm of a marble figure of Diana, which faced downstairs, with its other arm upraised and about to launch a hunting spear.  By this graceful device the curtains were drawn back sufficiently to give access to the corridor on the first floor.

Inspector Seldon looked closely at the figure and the hangings.  Something strange about the former arrested his eye.  It was standing awry on its pedestal—­was, indeed, almost toppling over.  He looked up and saw that one of the curtains supported by the arm hung loosely from one of the curtain rings.  It was as though some violent hand had torn at the curtain in passing, almost dragging it from the pole and precipitating the figure down the stairs.  Immediately beyond the landing, in the corridor, was a door on the right, flung wide open.

The inspector entered the room with the open door.  It was a large room forming part of the front of the house—­a lofty large room, partly lighted by the half-drawn blind of one of the windows.  One side was lined with bookshelves.  In the corner of the room farthest from the door, was a roll-top desk, which was open.  In the centre of the room was a table, and a huddled up figure was lying beside it, in a dark pool of blood which had oozed into the carpet.

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The Hampstead Mystery from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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