Miss Cornelia gave a little shiver. The third degree in reality was less pleasant to watch than it had been to read about in the pages of her favorite detective stories.
“He’s evidently been attacked,” she said, turning to Anderson. “He claims to have recovered consciousness in the garage, where he was tied hand and foot!”
“He does, eh?” said the detective heavily. He glared at the Unknown. “If you’ll give me five minutes alone with him, I’ll get the truth out of him!” he promised.
A look of swift alarm swept over the Unknown’s face at the words, unperceived by any except Miss Cornelia. The others started obediently to yield to the detective’s behest and leave him alone with his prisoner. Miss Cornelia was the first to move toward the door. On her way, she turned.
“Do you believe that money is irrevocably gone?” she asked of Anderson.
The detective smiled.
“There’s no such word as ‘irrevocable’ in my vocabulary,” he answered. “But I believe it’s out of the house, if that’s what you mean.”
Miss Cornelia still hesitated, on the verge of departure.
“Suppose I tell you that there are certain facts that you have overlooked?” she said slowly.
“Still on the trail!” muttered the detective sardonically. He did not even glance at her. He seemed only anxious that the other members of the group would get out of his way for once and leave him a clear field for his work.
“I was right about the Doctor, wasn’t I?” she insisted.
“Just fifty per cent right,” said Anderson crushingly. “And the Doctor didn’t turn that trick alone. Now—” he went on with weary patience, “if you’ll all go out and close that door—”
Miss Cornelia, defeated, took a candle from Bailey and stepped into the corridor. Her figure stiffened. She gave an audible gasp of dismayed surprise.
“Quick!” she cried, turning back to the others and gesturing toward the corridor. “A man just went through that skylight and out onto the roof!”
MURDER ON MURDER
“Out on the roof!”
“Come on, Beresford!”
“Hustle—you men! He may be armed!”
And following Miss Cornelia’s lead, Jack Bailey, Anderson, Beresford, and Billy dashed out into the corridor, leaving Dale and the frightened Lizzie alone with the Unknown.
“And I’d run if my legs would!” Lizzie despaired.
“Hush!” said Dale, her ears strained for sounds of conflict. Lizzie, creeping closer to her for comfort, stumbled over one of the Unknown’s feet and promptly set up a new wail.
“How do we know this fellow right here isn’t the Bat?” she asked in a blood-chilling whisper, nearly stabbing the unfortunate Unknown in the eye with her thumb as she pointed at him. The Unknown was either too dazed or too crafty to make any answer. His silence confirmed Lizzie’s worst suspicions. She fairly hugged the floor and began to pray in a whisper.