INSPECTOR DUNBAR TAKES CHARGE
Detective-Inspector Dunbar was admitted by Dr. Cumberly. He was a man of notable height, large-boned, and built gauntly and squarely. His clothes fitted him ill, and through them one seemed to perceive the massive scaffolding of his frame. He had gray hair retiring above a high brow, but worn long and untidily at the back; a wire-like straight-cut mustache, also streaked with gray, which served to accentuate the grimness of his mouth and slightly undershot jaw. A massive head, with tawny, leonine eyes; indeed, altogether a leonine face, and a frame indicative of tremendous nervous energy.
In the entrance lobby he stood for a moment.
“My name is Cumberly,” said the doctor, glancing at the card which the Scotland Yard man had proffered. “I occupy the flat above.”
“Glad to know you, Dr. Cumberly,” replied the detective in a light and not unpleasant voice—and the fierce eyes momentarily grew kindly.
“This—” continued Cumberly, drawing Dunbar forward into the study, “is my friend, Leroux—Henry Leroux, whose name you will know?”
“I have not that pleasure,” replied Dunbar.
“Well,” added Cumberly, “he is a famous novelist, and his flat, unfortunately, has been made the scene of a crime. This is Detective-Inspector Dunbar, who has come to solve our difficulties, Leroux.” He turned to where Exel stood upon the hearth-rug—toying with his monocle. “Mr. John Exel, M. P.”
“Glad to know you, gentlemen,” said Dunbar.
Leroux rose from the armchair in which he had been sitting and stared, drearily, at the newcomer. Exel screwed the monocle into his right eye, and likewise surveyed the detective. Cumberly, taking a tumbler from the bureau, said:—
“A scotch-and-soda, Inspector?”
“It is a suggestion,” said Dunbar, “that, coming from a medical man, appeals.”
Whilst the doctor poured out the whisky and squirted the soda into the glass, Inspector Dunbar, standing squarely in the middle of the room, fixed his eyes upon the still form lying in the shadow of the writing-table.
“You will have been called in, doctor,” he said, taking the proffered tumbler, “at the time of the crime?”
“Exactly!” replied Cumberly. “Mr. Leroux ran up to my flat and summoned me to see the woman.”
“What time would that be?”
“Big Ben had just struck the final stroke of twelve when I came out on to the landing.”
“Mr. Leroux would be waiting there for you?”
“He stood in my entrance-lobby whilst I slipped on my dressing-gown, and we came down together.”
“I was entering from the street,” interrupted Exel, “as they were descending from above"...
“You can enter from the street, sir, in a moment,” said Dunbar, holding up his hand. “One witness at a time, if you please.”
Exel shrugged his shoulders and turned slightly, leaning his elbow upon the mantelpiece and flicking off the ash from his cigar.