“Bully idea,” agreed Craig.
Twenty minutes later we were seated in the District Attorney’s office in the Criminal Courts Building, pouring into his sympathetic ear the story of our progress so far.
Carton seemed to be delighted, as Kennedy proceeded to outline the case, at the fact that he and Miss Kendall had found it possible to co-operate. His own experience in trying to get others to work with the District Attorney’s office, particularly the police, had been quite the reverse.
“I wish to heaven you could get the right kind of evidence against the Montmartre gang,” he sighed. “It is a gang, too—a high-class gang. In fact—well, it must be done. That place is a blot on the city. The police never have really tried to get anything on it. Miss Kendall never could, could you? I admit I never have. It seems to be understood that it is practically impossible to prove anything against it. They openly defy us. The thing can’t go on. It demoralizes all our other work. Just one good blow at the Montmartre and we could drive every one of these vile crooks to cover.” He brought his fist down with a thud on the desk, swung around in his chair, and emphasized his words with his forefinger.
“And yet, I know as well as I know that you are all in this room that graft is being paid to the police and the politicians by that place and in fact by all those places along there. If we are to do anything with them, that must be proved. That is the first step and I’m glad the whole thing hinges on the Blackwell case. People always sit up and take notice when there is something personal involved, some human interest which even the newspapers can see. That Montmartre crowd, whoever they are, must be made to feel the strong arm of the law. That’s what I am in this office to do. Now, Kennedy, there must be some way to catch those crooks with the goods.”
“They aren’t ordinary crooks, you know,” ruminated Kennedy.
“I know they are not. But you and Miss Kendall and Jameson ought to be able to think out a scheme.”
“But you see, Mr. Carton,” put in Clare, “this is a brand new situation. Your gambling and vice and graft exposures have made all of them so wary that they won’t pass a bill from their right to their left pockets for fear it is marked.”
“Well, you are a brand new combination against them. Let me see; you want suggestions. Why don’t you use the detectaphone—get our own little Black Book?”
Kennedy shook his head.
“The detectaphone is all right, as Dorgan knows. It might work again. But I don’t think I’ll take any chances. No, these grafters wouldn’t say ‘Thank you’ in an open boat in mid-ocean, for fear of wireless, now. They’ve been educated up to a lot of things lately. No, it must be something new. What do you know about graft up there?”