“Just so,” agreed Allerdyke. “Told her about this affair yet?”
“I’ve had no chance so far,” replied Fullaway. “I shall take her advice about it—she’s a cute woman.”
“Smart-looking, sure enough,” said Allerdyke. He let his mind dwell for a moment on the picture which Mrs. Marlow had made as Fullaway led him through the office—a very well-gowned, pretty, alert, piquant little woman, still on the sunny side of thirty, who had given him a sharp glance out of unusually wide-awake eyes. “Aye, women are clever nowadays, no doubt—they’d show their grandmothers how to suck eggs in a good many new fashions. Well, now,” he went on, stretching his long legs over Fullaway’s beautiful Persian rug, “what do you make of this affair, Fullaway, in its present situation? There’s no doubt that everything’s considerably altered by what we’ve heard of this morning. Do you really think that this French maid affair is all of a piece, as one may term it, with the affair of my cousin James?”
“Yes—without doubt,” replied Fullaway. “I believe the two affairs all spring from the same plot. That plot, in my opinion, has originated from a clever gang who, somehow or other, got to know that Mr. James Allerdyke was bringing over the Princess Nastirsevitch’s jewels, and who also turned their eyes on Zelie de Longarde’s valuables. The French maid, Lisette, was probably nothing but a tool, a cat’s paw, and she, having done her work, has been cleverly removed so that she could never split. Further—”
A quiet knock at the door just then prefaced the entrance of Mrs. Marlow, who gave her employer an inquiring glance.
“Mr. Blindway to see you,” she announced. “Shall I show him in?”
“At once!” replied Fullaway. He leapt from his chair, and going to the door called to the detective to enter. “News?” he asked excitedly, when Mrs. Marlow had retired, closing the door again. “What is it—important?”
The detective, who looked very solemn, drew a letter-case from his pocket, and slowly produced a telegram.
“Important enough,” he answered. “This case is assuming a very strange complexion, gentlemen. This arrived from Hull half an hour ago, and the chief thought I’d better bring it on to you at once. You see what it is—”
He held the telegram out to both men, and they read it together, Fullaway muttering the words as he read—
From Chief Constable, Hull, to Superintendent C.I.D., New Scotland Yard.
Dr. Lydenberg, concerned in Allerdyke case, was shot dead in High Street here this morning by unseen person, who is up to now unarrested and to whose identity we have no clue.
Fullaway laid the telegram down on his table and looked from it to the detective.
“Shot dead—High Street—this morning?” he said wonderingly. “Why!—that means, of course, in broad daylight—in a busy street, I suppose? And yet—no clue. How could a man be shot dead under such circumstances without the murderer being seen and followed?”