“Did Ringrose also report the sack behind the motor bicycle?”
“Before you mentioned it?”
“Yes, he volunteered that item, just as Bassett had done.”
“Let me see what’s to be seen here, then,” said Brendon, and they entered the kitchen of the bungalow together.
Brendon followed Halfyard into the apartment destined to be the kitchen of Michael Pendean’s bungalow, and the inspector lifted some tarpaulins that had been thrown upon a corner of the room. In the midst stood a carpenter’s bench, and the floor, the boards of which had already been laid, was littered with shavings and tools. Under the tarpaulin a great red stain soaked to the walls, where much blood had flowed. It was still wet in places and upon it lay shavings partially ensanguined. At the edge of the central stain were smears and, among them, half the impress of a big, nail-studded boot.
“Have the workmen been in here this morning?” asked Brendon, and Inspector Halfyard answered that they had not.
“Two constables were here last night after one o’clock—the men I sent from Princetown when Mrs. Pendean gave the alarm,” he said. “They looked round with an electric torch and found the blood. One came back; the other stopped on the spot all night. I was out here myself before the masons and carpenters came to work, and I forbade them to touch anything till we’d made our examination. Mr. Pendean was in the habit of doing a bit himself after hours.”
“Can the men say if anything was done last night—in the way of work on the bungalow?”
“No doubt they’d know.”
Brendon sent for a mason and a carpenter; and while the latter alleged that nothing had been added to the last work of himself and his mate, the mason, pointing to a wall which was destined to inclose the garden, declared that some heavy stones had been lifted and mortared into place since he left on the previous evening at five o ’clock.
“Pull down all the new work,” directed Brendon.
Then he turned to examine the kitchen more closely. A very careful survey produced no results and he could find nothing that the carpenters were not able to account for. There was no evidence of any struggle. A sheep might as easily have been killed in the chamber as a man; but he judged the blood to be human and Halfyard had made one discovery of possible importance. The timbers of the kitchen door were already set up and they had received a preliminary coat of white paint. This was smeared at the height of a man’s shoulder with blood.