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The Woman in the Alcove Anna Katharine Green

XV Sears Or Wellgood

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"True," I murmured.

"If, then," the inspector pursued, giving me a parting glance not without its humor, probably not without something really serious underlying its humor, "we should find, in following up our present clue, that Mr. Grey has had dealings with this Wellgood or this Sears; or if you, with your advantages for learning the fact, should discover that he shows any extraordinary interest in either of them, the matter will take on a different aspect. But we have not got that far yet. At present our task is to find one or the other of these men. If we are lucky, we shall discover that the waiter and the steward are identical, in spite of their seemingly different appearance. A rogue, such as this Sears has shown himself to be, would be an adept at disguise."

"You are right," I acknowledged. "He has certainly the heart of a criminal. If he had no hand in Mrs. Fairbrother's murder, he came near having one in that of your detective. You know what I mean. I could not help hearing, Inspector."

He smiled, looked me steadfastly in the face for a moment, and then bowed me out.

The inspector told me afterward that, in spite of the cavalier manner with which he had treated my suggestions, he spent a very serious half-hour, head to head with the district attorney. The result was the following order to Sweetwater, the detective.

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"You are to go to the St. Regis; make yourself solid there, and gradually, as you can manage it, work yourself into a position for knowing all that goes on in Room --. If the gentleman (mind you, the gentleman; we care nothing about the women) should go out, you are to follow him if it takes you to--. We want to know his secret; but he must never know our interest in it and you are to be as silent in this matter as if possessed of neither ear nor tongue. I will add memory, for if you find this secret to be one in which we have no lawful interest, you are to forget it absolutely and for ever. You will understand why when you consult the St Regis register."

But they expected nothing from it; absolutely nothing.

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The Woman in the Alcove
Anna Katharine Green

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