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Fire-Tongue Sax Rohmer

Two Reports

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Deliberately Paul Harley had read the report, only removing his hand from his chin to turn over the pages. Now from the cabinet at his elbow he took out his tin of tobacco and, filling and lighting a pipe, lay back, eyes half closed, considering what he had learned respecting Nicol Brinn.

That he was concerned in the death of Sir Charles Abingdon he did not believe for a moment; but that this elusive case, which upon investigation only seemed the more obscure, was nevertheless a case of deliberate murder he was as firmly convinced as ever. Of the identity of the murderer, of his motive, he had not the haziest idea, but that the cloud which he had pictured as overhanging the life of the late Sir Charles was a reality and not a myth of the imagination he became more completely convinced with each new failure to pick up a clue.

He found himself helplessly tied. In which direction should he move and to what end? Inclination prompted him in one direction, common sense held him back. As was his custom, he took a pencil and wrote upon a little block:

Find means to force Brinn to speak.

He lay back in his chair again, deep in thought, and presently added the note:

Obtain interview with Ormuz Khan.

Just as he replaced the pencil on the table, his telephone bell rang. The caller proved to be his friend, Inspector Wessex.

"Hello, Mr. Harley," said the inspector. "I had occasion to return to the Yard, and they told me you had rung up. I don't know why you are interested in this Ormuz Khan, unless you want to raise a loan."

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Paul Harley laughed. "I gather that he is a man of extensive means," he replied, "but hitherto he has remained outside my radius of observation."

"And outside mine," declared the inspector. "He hasn't the most distant connection with anything crooked. It gave me a lot of trouble to find out what little I have found out. Briefly, all I have to tell you is this: Ormuz Khan--who is apparently entitled to be addressed as 'his excellency'--is a director of the Imperial Bank of Iran, and is associated, too, with one of the Ottoman banks. I presume his nationality is Persian, but I can't be sure of it. He periodically turns up in the various big capitals when international loans and that sort of thing are being negotiated. I understand that he has a flat somewhere in Paris, and the Service de Surete tells me that his name is good for several million francs over there. He appears to have a certain fondness for London during the spring and early summer months, and I am told he has a fine place in Surrey. He is at present living at Savoy Court. He appears to be something of a dandy and to be very partial to the fair sex, but nevertheless there is nothing wrong with his reputation, considering, I mean, that the man is a sort of Eastern multimillionaire."

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Sax Rohmer

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