“Veronal?” commented Craig. “Then that may be where Dr. Harris comes in.”
“Partly, I think. I’ve got to find out more about what is hidden there. Once I heard a man’s voice and I know it was Dr. Harris’s.”
“Harris! Why, the elevator boy at the Montmartre said he was painting the town,” I observed.
“I don’t believe it. I think he has all he can do keeping up with the beauty shop. You see, it is more than a massage parlour. They do real decorative surgery, as it is called. They’ll engage to give you a new skin as soft and pink as a baby’s. Or they will straighten a nose, or turn an ear. They have light treatment for complexions—the ruby ray, the violet ray, the phosphorescent ray.
“You would laugh at the fake science that is being handed out to those gullible fools. They can get rid of freckles and superfluous hair, of course. But they’ll even tell you that they can change your mouth and chin, your eyes, your cheeks. I should be positively afraid of some of their electrical appliances there. They sweat down your figure or build it up—just as you please.
“Oh, no one need be plain in these days, not as long as Madame Margot’s exists. That is where I think Dr. Harris comes in. He can pose as a full-fledged, blown-in-the-bottle cosmetic surgeon. I’ll bet there is no limit to the agonized beautification that they can put you through if they think they can play you for a sucker.”
“By the way, did you see Madame Margot herself?” asked Craig.
“No. I made all sorts of discreet inquiries after her, but they seemed to know nothing. The nearest I could get was a hint from one of the girls that she was away. But I’ll tell you whom I think I heard, talking to the man whose voice sounded like Dr. Harris’s, and that was Marie. Of course I couldn’t see, but in the part of the shop that looks like a fake hospital I heard two voices and I would wager that Marie is going through some of this beautification herself. Of course she is. You remember how artificial she looked?”
“Did you see anyone else?”
“Oh, yes. You know the place is two doors from the Montmartre. Well, I think they have some connection with that place between them and the Montmartre. Anyhow it looks as if they did, for after I had been there a little while a girl came in, apparently from nowhere. She was the girl we saw paying money to Ike the Dropper, you remember—the one none of us recognized? There’s something in that next house, and she seems to have charge of it.”
“Well, you have done a good day’s work,” complimented Kennedy.
“I feel that I have made a start, anyhow,” she admitted. “There is a lot yet to be learned of Margot’s. You remember it was early in the day that I was there. I want to go back sometime in the afternoon or evening.”
“Dr. Harris is apparently the oracle on beauty,” mused Kennedy.
“Yes. He must make a lot of money there.”