“What is this?” he cried in amazement.
“Game’s up and you’ve lost,” answered Ganns. “You’re a great crook! And your own vanity is all that’s beat you!” He turned quickly to the chief of police, who showed a warrant and spoke English.
“Michael Pendean,” he said, “you are arrested for the murder of Robert Redmayne and Bendigo Redmayne.”
“And add ‘Albert Redmayne,’” growled Ganns. He leaped aside with amazing agility as he spoke, for the culprit had seized the weapon nearest his hand and hurled a heavy saltcellar from the table at Peter’s head. The mass of glass crashed into an old Italian mirror behind Ganns and at the moment when all eyes instinctively followed the sound, Jenny’s husband dashed for the door. Like lightning he turned and was over the threshold before a hand could be lifted to stop him; but one in the room had watched and now he raised his revolver. This young officer—destined for future fame—had never taken his eyes off Doria and now he fired. He was quick but another had been quicker, had seen his purpose and anticipated his action. The bullet meant for Michael Pendean struck down his wife, for Jenny had leaped into the doorway and stopped it.
She fell without a sound, whereupon the fugitive turned instantly, abandoned his flight, ran to her, knelt and lifted her to his breast.
He was harmless now, but he embraced a dead woman and the blood from her mouth, as he kissed her, covered his lips. He made no further fight and, knowing that she was dead, carried her to a couch, laid her gently down, then turned and stretched his arms for the handcuffs.
A moment later Mark Brendon entered from the house.
“Poggi sent no message and Albert Redmayne has not been seen at Bellagio,” he said.
THE METHODS OF PETER GANNS
Two men travelled together in the train de luxe from Milan to Calais. Ganns wore a black band upon the sleeve of his left arm; his companion carried the marks of mourning in his face. It seemed that Brendon had increased in age; his countenance looked haggard; his very voice was older.
Peter tried to distract the younger man, who appeared to listen, though his mind was far away and his thoughts brooding upon a grave.
“The French and Italian police resemble us in the States,” said Mr. Ganns. “They are much less reticent in their methods than you English. You, at Scotland Yard, are all for secrecy, and you claim for your system superior results to any other. And figures support you. In New York, in 1917, there were two hundred and thirty-six murders and only sixty-seven convictions. In Chicago, in 1919, there were no less than three hundred and thirty-six murders and forty-four convictions. Pretty steep—eh? In Paris four times as many crimes of violence are committed yearly as in London, though, of course, the population is far smaller. Yet what are the respective achievements of the police? Only half as many crimes are detected by the French as by the British. Your card index system is to be thanked for that.”