“I’m on my way, old-timer!” Cole announced with enthusiasm.
At luncheon the committee reported progress. Cole had seen James Cunningham’s car. It was a sedan. He had had it out of the garage all afternoon and evening and had brought it back just before midnight. The trip record on the speedometer registered ninety-two miles.
From his pocket Kirby drew an automobile map and a pencil. He notched on the pencil a mark to represent forty-six miles from the point, based on the scale of miles shown at the foot of the map. With the pencil as a radius he drew a semicircle from Denver as the center. The curved line passed through Loveland, Long’s Peak, and across the Snow Range to Tabernash. It included Georgetown, Gray’s Peak, Mount Evans, and Cassell’s. From there it swept on to Palmer Lake.
“I’m not includin’ the plains country to the east,” Kirby explained. “You’ll have enough territory to cover as it is, Cole. By the way, did you find anything about where James goes into the hills?”
“Well, we’ll make some more inquiries. Perhaps the best thing for you to do would be to go out to the small towns around Denver an’ find out if any of the garage people noticed a car of that description passin’ through. That would help a lot. It would give us a line on whether he went up Bear Canon, Platte Canon, into Northern Colorado, or south toward the Palmer Lake country.”
“You’ve allowed forty-six miles by an air line,” Rose pointed out. “He couldn’t have gone as far as Long’s Peak or Evans—nowhere nearly as far, because the roads are so winding when you get in the hills. He could hardly have reached Estes Park.”
“Right. You’ll have to check up the road distances from Denver, Cole. Your job’s like lookin’ for a needle in a haystack. I’ll put a detective agency on James. He might take a notion to run out to the cache any fine evenin’. He likely will, to make sure Esther is contented.”
“Or he’ll send Jack,” Rose added.
“We’ll try to keep an eye on him, too.”
“This is my job, is it?” Cole asked, rising.
“You an’ Rose can work together on it. My job’s here in town on the murder mystery.”
“If we work both of them out—–finding Esther and proving who killed your uncle—I think we’ll learn that it’s all the same mystery, anyhow,” Rose said, drawing on her gloves.
Cole nodded sagely. “You’ve said somethin’, Rose.”
“Say when, not if, we work ’em out. We’ll be cuttin’ hot trail poco tempo,” Kirby prophesied, smiling up at them.
THE DETECTIVE GETS TWO SURPRISES
Kirby stared down at the document in front of him. He could scarcely believe the evidence flashed by his eyes to his brain. It was the document he had asked the county recorder at Golden to send him—and it certified that, on July 21, James Cunningham and Phyllis Harriman had been united in marriage at Golden by the Reverend Nicodemus Rankin.