“Don’t you think we ought to see all the tenants at the Paradox and talk with them? Some of them may have seen people going in or out. Or they may have heard voices,” she said.
“That’s a good idea. We’ll make a canvass of the house.”
Her eyes sparkled. “We’ll find who did it! When two people look for the truth intelligently they’re bound to find it. Don’t you think so?”
“I think we’ll sure round up the wolf that did this killin’,” he drawled. “Anyhow, we’ll sleep on his trail for a moon or two.”
They shook hands on it.
IN DRY VALLEY
If Kirby had been a properly authenticated detective of fiction he would have gone to his uncle’s apartment, locked the door, measured the rooms with a tape-line, found imprints of fingers on a door panel, and carefully gathered into an envelope the ashes from the cigar his uncle had been smoking. The data obtained would have proved conclusively that Cunningham had come to his death at the hands of a Brahmin of high caste on account of priceless gems stolen from a temple in India. An analysis of the cigar ashes would have shown that a subtle poison, unknown to the Western world, had caused the victim’s heart to stop beating exactly two minutes and twelve seconds after taking the first puff at the cigar. Thus the fictional ethics of the situation would have been correctly met.
But Kirby was only a plain, outdoors Westerner. He did not know the conventional method of procedure. It did not even occur to him at first that Apartment 12 might still have secrets to tell him after the police and the reporters had pawed over it for several days. But his steps turned back several times to the Paradox as the center from which all clues must emanate. He found himself wandering around in that vicinity trying to pick up some of the pieces of the Chinese puzzle that made up the mystery of his uncle’s death.
It was on one of these occasions that he and Rose met his cousin James coming out of the apartment house. Cunningham was a man of admirable self-control, but he looked shaken this morning. His hand trembled as it met that of his cousin. In his eyes was the look of a man who has suffered a shock.
“I’ve been sitting alone for an hour in the room where Uncle James met his death—been arranging his papers,” he explained. “It began to get my nerve. I couldn’t stand it any longer. The horrible thing kept jumping to my mind.” He drew his right hand heavily across his eyes, as though to shut out and brush away the sight his imagination conjured.
His left arm hung limp. Kirby’s quick eyes noticed it.
“You’ve hurt yourself,” Lane said.
“Yes,” admitted James. “My heel caught on the top step as I started to walk down. I’ve wrenched my arm badly. Maybe I’ve broken it.”