The Mystery of West Sedgwick (1913)
- Summaries (2)
When Herbert Burroughs, a young detective, met Fleming Stone in the boot-blacking stand of the Metropole, and when the great detective showed the younger man how he could deduct the salient characteristics of the owner of a pair of muddy shoes which were waiting to be cleaned, neither of the men dreamed that this trivial incident would play a decisive part in clearing an innocent man accused of a terrible crime. That very morning Burroughs was called to investigate the murder of one of New York's greatest financiers, Joseph Crawford, who had been shot through the head as he sat at his desk in the private office of his country estate. A gold bag, which was found lying on the desk beside the dead man, pointed a terrible finger of accusation against Florence Lloyd, Crawford's niece, who was known to have quarreled with her uncle immediately before his death. A careful search of the premises resulted in the discovery of several puzzling clues by the young detective. There were two faded rose leaves, for instance, a transfer slip, an evening newspaper, and last but by no means least, a card tucked away in the lining of the gold bag. A mysterious network seemed to envelop the Crawford household in the ghastly mystery from the beautiful Miss Lloyd, and Philip Crawford, the dead man's brother, down to Gregory Hall, Crawford's secretary, Elsa, the upstairs maid, and Louis, the butler. By careful plodding work. Burroughs succeeded in unwinding the tangled skein, until at last he found himself confronted by an apparently insoluble knot. His investigations were brought to a standstill by the mysterious silence of Gregory Hall, the secretary. Despite the heavy load of circumstantial evidence which pointed to him as the actual criminal. Hall merely shrugged his shoulders and refused to say the few words which would clear him. How Burroughs confessed himself beaten and called in Fleming Stone, how the great detective forced the unwilling Hall to prove an alibi for himself and finally how the murderer was discovered, lack of space forbids us to tell.
His niece had quarreled with him, his private secretary was by no means free from suspicion, his own brother was the sole heir if the will--now lost--was not found. Evidence was strongest against the girl, who was guilty.
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