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0100_005E Fire-Tongue Sax Rohmer

Conflicting Clues

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"Then," continued Innes, "there is something else which you should know. I heard to-day from a garage, with which Mr. Harley does business, that he hired a racing car last night. He has often used it before. It met him half-way along Pall Mall at seven o'clock, and he drove away in it in the direction of Trafalgar Square."


"Yes, unfortunately."

"Toward Trafalgar Square," murmured Wessex.

"Ah," said Innes, shaking his head, "that clue is of no importance. Under the circumstances the chief would be much more likely to head away from his objective than toward it."

"Quite," murmured Wessex. "I agree with you. But what's this?"

The telephone bell was ringing, and as Innes eagerly took up the receiver:

"Yes, yes, Mr. Innes speaking," he said, quickly. "Is that you, Rector?"

The voice of Rector, one of Paul Harley's assistants, answered him over the wire:

"I am speaking from Victoria Station, Mr. Innes."

"Yes!" said Innes. "Go ahead."

"A very odd-looking woman visited Mr. Nicol Brinn's chambers this evening. She was beautifully dressed, but wore the collar of her fur coat turned up about her face, so that it was difficult to see her. But somehow I think she was an Oriental."

"An Oriental!" exclaimed Innes.

"I waited for her to come out," Rector continued. "She had arrived in a cab, which was waiting, and I learned from the man that he had picked her up at Victoria Station."


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"She came out some time later in rather a hurry. In fact, I think there was no doubt that she was frightened. By this time I had another cab waiting."

"And where did she go?" asked Innes.

"Back to Victoria Station."

"Yes! Go on!"

"Unfortunately, Mr. Innes, my story does not go much further. I wasted very little time, you may be sure. But although no train had left from the South Eastern station, which she had entered, there was no sign of her anywhere. So that I can only suppose she ran through to the Brighton side, or possibly out to a car, which may have been waiting for her somewhere."

"Is that all?" asked Innes, gloomily.

"That's all, Mr. Innes. But I thought I would report it."

"Quite right, Rector; you could do no more. Did you see anything of Detective Sergeant Stokes before you left Piccadilly?"

"I did," replied the other. "He also was intensely interested in Nicol Brinn's visitor. And about five minutes before she came out he went upstairs."

"Oh, I see. She came out almost immediately after Stokes had gone up?"


"Very well, Rector. Return to Piccadilly, and report to me as soon as possible." Innes hung up the receiver.

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