Murder at Monte Carlo

Murder at Monte Carlo

From the Mystery Library, this book relates the adventures of a man who isn’t agree with the police’s reports.

The murderer has confessed, consequently the mystery is solved.

He decided to find by himself the real murder.View what happened!

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The Sporting Club

Jeannine and Roger mounted from the dining room of the Sporting Club to the bar, arm in arm, and a riot of congratulations followed upon their entrance. Roger, however, after the first few minutes, left his companion with the Terence Browns and Maggie Saunders, and obeyed Thornton's beckoning signal. The two men seated themselves in a retired corner of the inner bar.

"Should you think I was a rotter if I chucked my hand in, Sloane?" the latter asked.

"What's wrong now?"

"I can't make any headway here," Thornton confessed. "No one wants the truth about anything. All that they want is silence. They will allow nothing to stand in the way of their routine. For instance, the pseudo Lord Erskine is already buried."

"Without being identified?"

"Without being identified. I must say, though, that they have a wonderful system in what I should call a post-mortem identification."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, before he was buried, he was weighed, measured, photographed, every item of property in his pockets was tabulated and his clothes carefully preserved. You could find out, for instance, how many teeth he had and the exact position of a small mole on his chest.

On the other hand, no description of him is being circulated, no word is being sent to the police at Nice, none of the hotel proprietors in this place or anywhere else are being notified. He is just dropped into the black pool.... It's a system, all right, Sloane.

I see their idea. It helps to keep this the playground of the world, but it doesn't help the public or us to fight a band of criminals. You see, I can't do myself justice, I can't work on sound methods and I think, if you don't mind, I'd rather slip out."

"Promise me one thing," Roger begged. "Don't go until Pips Erskine can talk. I have an idea that he knows something. He ought to be able to put us on the right track, anyhow. It may not be more than a few days. Certainly not more than a week."

"I'll wait until then," Thornton promised. "I warn you, though, that I'm going to take to golf. I came here for a holiday and I've been plunged into the most humiliating epoch of ineffective work the mind of man could conceive."

"That's all right," Roger agreed. "I'd play you myself but I expect I shall be busy for the next few days."

"Forgive me for being so late with my congratulations," Thornton said. "The young lady is charming."

"Glad you find her so," Roger declared enthusiastically. "She seems to have hit it up pretty strong with all the crowd around here. They'd soon spoil her if she'd let them."

"Considering what I have heard of her history," Thornton observed, "she is certainly quite a remarkable personality. Your friend Erskine summed her up, I think, when he said that she had the knack of leaving you at the end of half an hour's conversation exactly where you were when you began it."

"She's a great kid!" Roger declared happily.

"By the by," Thornton enquired after a moment's pause, "is it true that Lord Dalmorres is here?"

"Arrived this afternoon," Roger assented. "Dining alone with my aunt tonight, the old rascal."

"If he's a great friend of yours," Thornton advised, "I should give him a word of warning. Not that I think he'll need it."

"He'll hear all about our troubles from Lady Julia. In any case, he's not the man to take risks. He sleeps on his yacht and goes about generally with a whole retinue. If he got one of those letters, you'd see his smoke on the horizon in a couple of hours."

"All the same," Thornton meditated, "a word of warning wouldn't come amiss. What are his habits? Does he gamble?"

"Occasionally," Roger admitted. "But generally in the afternoon. I did see him win ten million once at baccarat about two o'clock in the morning. He came in after a big dinner party, without a cent in his pocket, and the chef put down a hundred thousand francs for him every time he nodded."

"Interesting," Thornton murmured. "A great ladies' man too, isn't he?"

"Has been," Roger smiled. "I think he prefers to talk over his past triumphs nowadays. I expect that's what he's doing with my aunt this evening, as they haven't turned up here."

"A man whom it would be interesting to meet," Thornton observed, polishing his monocle with his handkerchief. "I've heard a great deal of Lord Dalmorres in my time. He has had a wonderful career."

"If he comes in," Roger promised, "I'll introduce you."

The Right Honourable the Earl of Dalmorres was one of the few aristocrats who had also reached the highest honours in the legal world. He had held every office of distinction to which his profession entitled him, he had been famous for years as the most brilliant orator in the House of Lords, he had filled the position of Lord Chancellor with dignity and success, and at sixty-four years of age, on succeeding to a large fortune, he had retired altogether from public life.

Lady Julia, with whom he had spent the evening exchanging many sentimental reminiscences, had once been his sweetheart, but at his age and still having the reputation of a ladies' man to keep up, he naturally lost his heart to Jeannine.

He carried her away to teach her roulette, brushing on one side her objections that she was only allowed in on condition that she did not play. A nod from Dalmorres, however, to one of the supervisors was sufficient. Many laws can be strained for an English milord who can afford to play in maximums!

"Sloane, my young friend," this distinguished personage suggested, "would it be possible to induce you for ten minutes to wander away and receive the congratulations of your many friends in peace? I cannot command Mademoiselle Jeannine's attention to the game while you are in the background."

"But I do not wish him to go away," Jeannine pleaded.

"I have only been engaged to the girl an hour or so," Roger protested.

Dalmorres sighed. The situation, however, admitted of no argument. He continued to explain the game and Jeannine, with the usual beginner's luck, increased with every stake her pile of winnings. Presently, however, an interruption occurred. One of the chasseurs from downstairs approached the table and whispered in Roger's ear.

"Monsieur is asked for at the telephone," he announced.

Roger, with a word of excuse, made his way downstairs. He took up the receiver.

"Roger Sloane speaking. Who is it?"

"The matron of the hospital," a quiet voice replied. "You have a friend here — Lord Erskine."

"Yes," Roger assented. "I hope that he's not worse or anything?"

"On the contrary," the matron assured him, "the doctor reports that he is a little better. He is still in a very feverish and excited state, though. He cannot sleep and refuses to take a sleeping draught.

He has an idea that he must speak with you at once whilst his memory serves him. As I daresay you know, he has been unconscious for several days and only partially conscious until this evening. Would it be possible for you to come over?"

"Rather," Sloane assented. "Do you really mean that I shall be allowed to see him?"

"I am breaking all the rules," the matron confessed, "but I think that the patient's condition justifies it. He has promised that if he is allowed to speak to you for five minutes, he will take a draught and endeavour to sleep."

"I will be there in half an hour," Roger promised.

Lady Julia made a grimace when her nephew explained.

"Just my luck," she sighed. "The little cat has stolen my man already and now she will have him for the rest of the evening. Never mind, Roger," she went on, realizing for the first time the anxiety in his face, "of course I will look after Jeannine."

"You will think I'm an ass," he said, "but will you, or Madame Dumesnil, kindly see her inside her door if I am not back by half-past eleven?"

Lady Julia nodded. She had been seated at the baccarat table but she rose now to her feet.

"I will go and play roulette with them," she announced, "and I won't let Jeannie out of my sight."

Roger scarcely recognized his friend, who was sitting up in bed, awaiting his coming. Erskine had lost flesh and there was an uneasy look in his eyes, as though he were haunted by unpleasant thoughts. His expression was transformed, however, when Roger appeared.

"Good man," he murmured. "Sit down. Bring the chair up to the bedside."

The matron held up her finger.

"Remember," she warned them, "in ten minutes I return and in ten minutes Mr. Roger Sloane will have to go."

She took her leave with a little nod. Roger did as he had been bidden and brought a chair to the bedside.

"Jolly glad to see you looking better, Pips, old man," he said. "Tried to steal a march on those fellows, didn't you? Listen," he went on. "Don't say an unnecessary word. Just tell me what's vital. You will be strong enough to tell us the whole story in a day or two."

Erskine's fingers played nervously with the bedclothes.

"I hope so," he answered. "You know, Roger, I played the fool. I drove up to the mountains just as they told me to, but I took an automatic instead of the money, and I was idiot enough to think that I would bring down the messenger, whoever he was, and after that it would be easy to collar the gang."

"Jolly plucky," Roger murmured. "But why alone, old chap?"

"Because, of course, they would have been watching and they would have cleared out if I had brought a carload. It seemed to me the only chance was to go alone. I reached the spot and saw someone waiting for me.

He was just an ordinary gigolo-looking young fellow, sitting on the wall and smoking a cigarette. He got up as I approached and I stopped the car. Between my knees there was an automatic. I got hold of it with my right hand.

"'You have something for me perhaps?' he enquired.

"'Yes, I have,' I answered. 'Come here and I will give it to you.'

"He came slowly around the bonnet of the car and stood with his foot on the running board, not two yards away from me, but just out of reach. He was a horrible-looking fellow, Roger.

"'Give me the packet,' he demanded.

"I sat looking at him and I knew at once that I should have to think quickly. He was not attempting any form of disguise. There he was, a young fellow whom I should be able to identify at any time later on. He must have known that. So must the people who sent him.

I realized like a flash that I was never intended to have the chance. As soon as they had the notes, they were going to make sure of me. I whipped out my automatic.

"'Put up your hands,' I ordered.

"He put them up all right, but his eyes were horrible.

"'So that's the game,' he muttered.

"'Get into the car by my side,' I went on.

"'What for?'

"'You will soon find out,' I assured him.