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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Daffodil Mystery - Chapter 15. The Owner Of The Pistol
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The Daffodil Mystery - Chapter 15. The Owner Of The Pistol Post by :hammer23 Category :Long Stories Author :Edgar Wallace Date :May 2012 Read :1033

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The Daffodil Mystery - Chapter 15. The Owner Of The Pistol


All trace of the fog of the night before had disappeared when Tarling looked out from his bedroom window later that morning. The streets were flooded with yellow sunshine, and there was a tang in the air which brought the colour to the cheek and light to the eye of the patient Londoner.

Tarling stretched his arms and yawned in the sheer luxury of living, before he took down his silk dressing-gown and went in to the breakfast which Ling Chu had laid for him.

The blue-bloused Chinaman who stood behind his master's chair, poured out the tea and laid a newspaper on one side of the plate and letters on the other. Tarling ate his breakfast in silence and pushed away the plate.

"Ling Chu," he said in the vernacular of Lower China, "I shall lose my name as the Man Hunter, for this case puzzles me beyond any other."

"Master," said the Chinaman in the same language, "there is a time in all cases, when the hunter feels that he must stop and weep. I myself had this feeling when I hunted down Wu Fung, the strangler of Hankow. Yet," he added philosophically, "one day I found him and he is sleeping on the Terrace of Night."

He employed the beautiful Chinese simile for death.

"Yesterday I found the little-young-woman," said Tarling after a pause. In this quaint way did he refer to Odette Rider.

"You may find the little-young-woman and yet not find the killer," said Ling Chu, standing by the side of the table, his hands respectfully hidden under his sleeves. "For the little-young-woman did not kill the white-faced man."

"How do you know?" asked Tarling; and the Chinaman shook his head.

"The little-young-woman has no strength, master," he said. "Also it is not known that she has skill in the driving of the quick cart."

"You mean the motor?" asked Tarling quickly, and Ling Chu nodded.

"By Jove! I never thought of that," said Tarling. "Of course, whoever killed Thornton Lyne must have put his body in the car and driven him to the Park. But how do you know that she does not drive?"

"Because I have asked," said the Chinaman simply. "Many people know the little-young-woman at the great Stores where the white-faced man lived, and they all say that she does not drive the quick cart."

Tarling considered for a while.

"Yes, it is true talk," he said. "The little-young-woman did not kill the white-faced man, because she was many miles away when the murder was committed. That we know. The question is, who did?"

"The Hunter of Men will discover," said Ling Chu

"I wonder," said Tarling.

He dressed and went to Scotland Yard. He had an appointment with Whiteside, and later intended accompanying Odette Rider to an interview before the Assistant Commissioner. Whiteside was at Scotland Yard before him, and when Tarling walked into his room was curiously examining an object which lay before him on a sheet of paper. It was a short-barrelled automatic pistol.

"Hullo!" he said, interested. "Is that the gun that killed Thornton Lyne?"

"That's the weapon," said the cheerful Whiteside. "An ugly-looking brute, isn't it?"

"Where did you say it was discovered?"

"At the bottom of the girl's work-basket."

"This has a familiar look to me," said Tarling, lifting the instrument from the table. "By-the-way, is the cartridge still in the chamber?"

Whiteside shook his head.

"No, I removed it," he said. "I've taken the magazine out too."

"I suppose you've sent out the description and the number to all the gunsmiths?"

Whiteside nodded.

"Not that it's likely to be of much use," he said. "This is an American-made pistol, and unless it happens to have been sold in England there is precious little chance of our discovering its owner."

Tarling was looking at the weapon, turning it over and over in his hand. Presently he looked at the butt and uttered an exclamation. Following the direction of his eyes, Whiteside saw two deep furrows running diagonally across the grip.

"What are they?" he asked.

"They look like two bullets fired at the holder of the revolver some years ago, which missed him but caught the butt."

Whiteside laughed.

"Is that a piece of your deduction, Mr. Tarling?" he asked.

"No," said Tarling, "that is a bit of fact. That pistol is my own!"

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