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Arthur B. Reeve
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 236 pages of information about The Ear in the Wall.

“Call up your house, Carton,” asked Craig.  “See if William, your valet, has returned.”

Carton did so, and a moment later turned to us with a look of perplexity on his face.  “No,” he reported, “he hasn’t come back yet.  I can’t imagine where he is.”

“He won’t come back,” asserted Kennedy positively.  “It was an inside job—­and he did it.”

Carton gasped astonishment.

“At any rate,” pursued Kennedy, “one thing we have which the police greatly neglect—­a record.  We have made some progress in reconstructing the crime, as Bertillon used to call it.”

“Strange that he should take only photographs,” I mused.

“What were they?” asked Kennedy, and again I saw that he was looking intently at Carton’s face.

“Nothing much,” returned Carton unhesitatingly, “just some personal photographs—­of no real value except to me.  Most of them were amateur photographs, too, pictures of myself in various groups at different times and places that I kept for the associations.”

“Nothing that might be used by an enemy for any purpose?” suggested Kennedy.

Carton laughed.  “More likely to be used by friends,” he replied frankly.

Still, I felt that there must have been some sinister purpose back of the robbery.  In that respect it was like the scientific cracking of Langhorne’s safe.  Langhorne, too, though he had been robbed, had been careful to disclaim the loss of anything of value.  I frankly had not believed Langhorne, yet Carton was not of the same type and I felt that his open face would surely have disclosed to us any real loss that he suffered or apprehension that he felt over the robbery.

I was forced to give it up, and I think Kennedy, too, had decided not to worry over the crossing of any bridges until at least we knew that there were bridges to be crossed.

Carton was worried more by the discovery that one he had trusted even as a valet had proved unfaithful.  He knew, however, as well as we did that one of the commonest methods of the underworld when they wished to pull off a robbery was to corrupt one of the servants of a house.  Still, it looked strange, for the laying of such an elaborate plan usually preceded only big robberies, such as jewelery or silver.  For myself, I was forced back on my first theory that someone had concluded that Carton had the Black Book, had concocted this elaborate scheme to get what was really of more value than much jewelry, and had found out that Carton did not have the precious detectaphone record, after all.  I knew that there were those who would have gone to any length to get it.

A general alarm was given, through the police, for the apprehension of William, but we had small hope that anything would result from it, for at that time Carton’s enemies controlled the police and I am not sure but that they would have been just a little more dilatory in apprehending one who had done Carton an injury than if it had been someone else.  It was too soon, that night, of course, to expect to learn anything, anyhow.

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