“What do you think of that prize package, Cole?” asked Lane, his eyes following the man.
“Guilty as hell,” said the bronco buster crisply.
“I’d say so too,” agreed Kirby. “I don’t know as we need to look much farther. My vote is for Mr. Cass Hull—with reservations.”
The men from Wyoming stepped into the elevator and Kirby pressed the button numbered 3. At the third floor they got out and turned to the right. With the Yale key his cousin had given him Kirby opened the door of Apartment 12.
He knew that there was not an inch of space in the rooms that the police and the newspaper reporters had not raked as with a fine-tooth comb for clues. The desk had been ransacked, the books and magazines shaken, the rugs taken up. There was no chance that he would discover anything new unless it might be by deduction.
Wild Rose had reported to him the result of her canvass of the tenants. One or two of them she had missed, but she had managed to see all the rest. Nothing of importance had developed from these talks. Some did not care to say anything. Others wanted to gossip a whole afternoon away, but knew no more than what the newspapers had told them. The single fact that stood out from her inquiries was that those who lived in the three apartments nearest to Number 12 had all been out of the house on the evening of the twenty-third. The man who rented the rooms next those of Cunningham had left for Chicago on the twenty-second and had not yet returned to Denver.
Cole took in the easy-chairs, the draperies, and the soft rugs with an appreciative eye. “The old boy believed in solid comfort. You wouldn’t think to look at this that he’d spent years on a bronc’s back buckin’ blizzards. Some luxury, I’ll say! Looks like one o’ them palaces of the vamp ladies the movies show.”
Kirby wasted no time in searching the apartment for evidence. What interested him was its entrances and its exits, its relation to adjoining rooms and buildings. He had reason to believe that, between nine o’clock and half-past ten on the night of the twenty-third, not less than eight persons in addition to Cunningham had been in the apartment. How had they all managed to get in and out without being seen by each other?
Lane talked aloud, partly to clear his own thought and partly to put the situation before his friend.
“O’ course I don’t know every one of the eight was here. I’m guessin’ from facts I do know, makin’ inferences, as you might say. To begin with, I was among those present. So was Rose. We don’t need to guess any about that.”
Cole, still almost incredulous at the mention of Rose as a suspect, opened his lips to speak and closed them again with no word uttered. He was one of those loyal souls who can trust without asking for explanations.