Seven Murder Puzzles
Edgar Rice Burroughs
- THE BANK MURDER
- THE DARK LAKE MURDER
- THE GANG MURDER
- THE LIGHTSHIP MURDER
- THE RED NECKTIE
- THE TERRACE DRIVE MURDER
- WHO MURDERED MR THOMAS?
Art by James Montgomery Flagg, circa 1912. Unrelated to the stories herein.
Between 1932 and 1940 Edgar Rice Burroughs, the famous author of Tarzan of the Apes and the John Carter of Mars stories, sent a number of short mystery puzzles to Rob Wagner's Script, a fanzine of some fame focused on Hollywood film that was published on the West Coast.
These tales are logic puzzles for the reader to solve. None are intended to be literary works. As a result the master of romance adventure comes up a bit short for telling a story (there are no "plots"), though each is clever in its own way. Not quite an adventure, not quite a mystery.
Some care and consideration was taken in creating these little murder mysteries. The clues provided MUST lead to one solution, if only the reader can figure it out. As such, because of this rigorous "logical deduction" format, the stories are "question and answer" leaving the reader to figure out from the questions and the answers who the perpetrator of the crime must be. In no instance does Edgar Rice Burroughs reveal the answer. Readers of Script were urged to write in with their solutions following each issue and "winners" were published in subsequent magazines.
Ed Burroughs inserts himself into the stories as Inspector Muldoon's friend and companion during each of the investigations. There is some humor, violence (all off screen) and the required corpse around which the stories are spun. These are not Agatha Christie style mysteries... You will not encounter explorations of the human psyche or dark, dread motives. Each is a logic puzzle, ergo: "If x equals y and since a, b, c, have been eliminated, then z+$1.00 must be the answer!". These mysteries fall into the realm of algebraic equations such as "if a train departs from ..."
Collected below are the known seven mystery puzzles by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Where I have publication dates those are included. At one time I had either the originals or Xerox copies but lost those several years back during a rain event that flooded my home. Fortunately all the computer stuff was secured and not harmed. I welcome any information to update this page with specifics, so please contact tangor at erblist.com. You know how to make that work!
For a prosaically practical reason I present these delightful little gems in alphabetical order. I also admit that all OCR errors have not yet been caught! Worse, "proofing" has been done without the benefit of the originals or the Xeroxes. My bad! Only excuse is I had other ERB projects of higher priority at the time and that "put off to tomorrow what I should have done that day" as come back to bite the proverbial posterior portion. While preparing this page I found a few more obvious errors and probably missed that many more! That said, I feel these renditions are pretty accurate.
Solutions for each mystery are provided at the end of this document. Links are provided to jump to the answer—though the reader is encouraged to try and solve each of the mysteries.
—David Bruce Bozarth
Any "editor" comment shown below is from the Wagner Script columns.
THE BANK MURDER
Warrington is a swank suburb. The best stores and shops in the nearby metropolis have branches there. The local tradesmen have not only well-to-do patrons, but very wealthy ones as well; so Warrington supports three banks, two branch banks and one independent: The Warrington National Bank.
About six o'clock one evening Inspector Muldoon telephoned me and asked me if I would like to drive out to Warrington with him.
"Who's been murdered now?" I asked.
"A bank examiner."
"Now, who would want to murder a bank examiner?" I demanded.
"Probably a banker," said Muldoon, "but that is what I am going out there to find out. Do you want to come along, or don't you?
"Sure, I want to come. Anyone who commits a murder just when I am about to dress for dinner and an evening of Contract deserves to be apprehended, and I want to see it done."
"Unless your bridge has improve a lot, you should be grateful to him; he will probably have saved you as much as thirty cents, if you're still playing for your usual stakes."
"Thirty cents are thirty cents," I said. "I'll be waiting for you."
Muldoon picked me up a few minutes later, and at a quarter before seven we entered the Warrington National Bank. A police officer just inside the doorway directed us to the President's office.
There, we found Mike Jarvis of the homicide squad and two of his men. In addition to these there were six other men. One was sitting at a large, imposing looking desk; the others on a leather divan and leather covered chairs.
"Well?" inquired Muldoon of Jarvis, I found these six men here when I come in. All I can get out of 'em is that a man named Morgan is dead downstairs in the directors' room. This Morgan was a bank examiner, and he'd been goin' over the bank's books all this week.
"This bein' Saturday, the bank closed at one o'clock; and every one went home except these men and the examiner. About four o'clock, this Morgan goes downstairs. The washroom is down there, and between four and five o'clock every man who was still in the bank went down to the washroom.
"Around five, someone realized that they hadn't seen noting of the bank examiner for about an hour, so they sends this young feller down to find him. He found him—dead in the directors' room."
"I'll go down and have a look," said Muldoon. "You come along, Mike." He turned to one of Jarvis's men. "You two see that no one leaves this room," then he motioned me to accompany him, and we three went downstairs.
Morgan had evidently been sitting in one of the directors' chairs with his back toward the door, smoking a cigarette. HIs body was sprawled forward across the great table that almost filled the room. The cigarette had burned down to his fingers before it had gone out, and the butt was still clenched there in his dead hand. The back of his head had been caved in with some blunt instrument. The murderer must have entered quietly behind him, and Morgan had probably died without ever knowing that his life was in danger.
Muldoon took a slow turn about the room, stopping at a fireplace at one end. He knelt there and carefully examined the contents, then he reached in and drew out a hammer, the handle of which was badly charred.
"The fingerprints went up the flue," he remarked. "but here is something that didn't." He gingerly lifted out some charred bits of paper and laid them on a newspaper on the table. "Get me some more of these, Mike," he directed, as he commenced to examine those he had, using the pocket microscope with which I was so familiar.
Jarvis salvaged several of the remaining larger pieces and brought them to the table, and for several minutes no one spoke as Muldoon concentrated on his examination.
"They look to me," said Muldoon, "like a record of securities held as collateral. Let's go upstairs."
The men were sitting just as we had left them. The air was thick with tobacco smoke, possibly evidencing the nervousness of those waiting there.
Muldoon paced up and down the room for a full minute without speaking, then he turned and suddenly on one of the men. "What is your name?" he demanded. Muldoon has a way of asking the most innocuous question in such a way as to make it sound like an accusation, but this man never turned a hair, he just smiled.
"King," he replied.
"You work here?"
"Yes, I am a teller."
"How old are you?"
Again the man smiled. He was about the coolest proposition I ever saw. "If I were four years younger," he said, "I'd be one year older than that man there who is twenty years young and much poorer than the man sitting at the desk and who has the same name as he."
"Are you trying to be funny?" demanded Muldoon. "If you are, you'd better save it for the jury, they'd be more appreciative than I."
King smiled that rather supercilious smile of his. "I am not trying to be funny I am merely stating facts. Your reputation for deductive reasoning is well known. I shall be interested in seeing you at work. Furthermore, someone in this room must have killed Mr. Morgan. As all of those who might have killed him are my friends, I do not wish to be a party to the apprehension of the guilty one."
I saw a suggestion of amusement on Muldoon's eyes, and I knew that he had accepted the challenge. H turned next to a noticeably well dressed man sitting at the right of the man at the big desk. "Who are you?" he asked.
I am the doctor that Mr. James called in after the —ah—"
"What is your name, doctor?"
"My name is the same as the only man in the room who is exactly fifteen years younger than Thaddeus James and five years older than Ralph James. It was evident that the doctor was taking his cue from King.
The shadow of a smile touch Muldoon's lips, he was evidently enjoying this. Then he wheeled on the man sitting at the desk. "You are Mr. Thaddeus James?" he asked.
The man had been chewing nervously on an unlighted cigar. He took it out of his mouth, and said, "Yes."
"How old are you," asked Muldoon. "I suppose you are seven years older than someone else who is eight years younger than some other person."
James smiled. "No," he replied; "I am twice as old as the young gentleman whom King describes as being poorer than I."
"Well, that helps a lot," said Muldoon; "now we are getting someplace.
I had noticed a small man half asleep in his chair in a corner of the room. He didn't seem to be paying any attention to what had been going on. Muldoon suddenly stopped in front of him and scrutinized him intently for several moments as though he were some strange and unfamiliar species of insect. Muldoon is a very large man, and when he stands in front of a sitting victim and inspects him in this manner it usually induces a feeling of abject inferiority in the sitter that renders him easy prey.
"What do you do for a living?" he demanded.
"I am a clerk in this bank."
"What did you do with those securities you stole?" thundered Muldoon.
The man looked Muldoon straight in the eyes.
"You are barking up the wrong tree, Inspector," he said. "I am disappointed in you , you are not living up to your reputation,"
"How old are you?"
"I am the same age as the twins in this room."
"What is your name?"
The man grinned. "The same as the man who is five years younger than the man who is fifteen years older than Ralph James."
Muldoon walked the length of the room several times immersed in deep thought, or apparently so; you never can tell about Muldoon. He might have been planning on what he was going to have for dinner. Presently he stopped in front of the desk.
"Now, Mr. James, " he said, "how long have you known Mr. Crowder and what is he doing here?"
"Which one?" asked James. "There are two Crowders in the room. One of them is my attorney, whom I telephoned to come over immediately when the body was discovered."
"I mean your attorney, whom I have known for several years," replied Muldoon.
"I have known him for one-third of his life and one-quarter of mine; I first met him when Ralph was ten years old."
"Do you k now who killed Morgan, Mr. King?" snapped the Inspector, wheeling quickly around and facing the teller.
"Yes, sir," replied King.
"It was you, wasn't it?" asked Muldoon softly. "Didn't Mr. Morgan discover a shortage in your accounts?"
"I can answer no to both of those questions. The man who killed Mr. Morgan was five years older than I."
"Thank you, Mr. King," said Muldoon, and then he turned to Jarvis. "Mike, there is your man," and he pointed.
At whom did the Inspector point?
THE DARK LAKE MURDER
It was on a beautiful August evening that Muldoon and I drove toward the aristocratic Dark Lake suburb, leaving the roar and the dirt and the odors of the hot city behind us.
"This is no night for a murder," I remarked.
"June scarcely seems a month for suicides," he reminded me, "but statistics inform us that more suicides occur during June than during any other month of the year. And certainly, if there must be murders, it is far more comfortable investigating them in August than in February."
"Who has been killed, and what about some of the details?" I inquired. "You know you haven't told me anything about it at all. You just yanked me away from my dinner table before I had had my coffee and growled that if I wanted to get in on the latest murder I'd have to 'shake my dogs,' I think you said."
"David Thayer," snapped Muldoon, "that's all I know."
"You mean David Thayer has been murdered?"
"Friend of yours? demanded my companion.
"An acquaintance," I replied. "I never fancied Thayer. He hadn't a very nice disposition, and he was a regular devil when he'd been drinking. I knew his wife before they were married—Alice Palmer—a mighty sweet girl, far too good for Thayer."
Muldoon turned into the highway that skirted the east side of the lake. On our left were the beautiful estates of the wealthy families that had chosen this lovely spot for their homes. The foliage of old trees loomed dark against the night.
"This road ought to be lighted better," growled Muldoon. "How the devil am I going to find Thayer's place or any other place without any light?"
"I know where it is," I told him. "We're almost there."
"Slow down now," I directed a moment later. "See that big white gateway on the left just ahead? That's Thayer's."
The gates were open, and we turned in. The house faced the lake, and as we approached it from the rear we say lights in what I took to be the kitchen and in a room at the opposite end of the house on the second floor. The driveway ran around the end of the house and along the front between the house and the lake; but b before we got that far a man ran out of a rear door of the house and called to us to stop. When we came nearer I saw that he was a uniformed police officer.
"Who are you?" he demanded.
"Inspector Muldoon," replied my companion.
The officer stepped closer and peered into the car; then he drew back and saluted, "All right, Inspector," he said. "Drive around to the front of the house; you'll find a couple of the boys on the front door and the rest of 'em in the living room with the bunch we nabbed here."
A light on the front porch permitted the officers there to recognize Muldoon, and we stepped into the hallway where one of them pointed toward a room on the right of a large reception hall. The doors were closed.
"They're in there," said the officer.
As Muldoon swung open one of the doors I followed him into the room beyond. It was a large beautifully furnished room. In addition to four officers there were eight people in the room, four men and four women. Muldoon and I made fourteen, and still the room seemed empty.
I said there were fourteen, but there was another that I did not notice at first. On a sofa lay a still figure covered with a sheet.
Muldoon stepped over to it and drew sown the sheet. A blond woman in a red gown screamed hysterically. A man at one side of the room muttered an oath as he rose from his chair and turned his back, as though to shut out his view of the corpse. As I glanced toward him I saw that he was a well built fellow with red hair; then I turned my attention again toward the sofa.
"Do you recognize this man?" Muldoon asked me.
"Yes, it's David Thayer," I replied.
There was a large, ugly wound in Thayer's face just below the eyes, that had practically torn away his nose. Muldoon looked at the dead man in silence for a few seconds; then he turned the corpse over on its face. High in the centre of the back of the head was a small round hole.
Muldoon turned to the police officer at his elbow. "Was he shot more than once?" he asked.
"Only one bullet took effect," replied the policeman.
Muldoon wheeled around and faced the occupants of the room. "Which is Mrs. Thayer?" he demanded.
"I am," replied the blond woman in the red gown.
"Tell me what happened , Mrs. Thayer—what led up to this?"
Alice Thayer had recovered her composure and spoke in a level, unemotional monotone. "David had been drinking for two days," she commenced. "He was very—difficult—when he was drinking like this—unreasonable and quarrelsome. He quarreled with George this morning over his eggs."
"Who is George? demanded the Inspector.
Mrs. Thayer nodded toward a somber looking individual standing in the shadows at the far end of the room beside a middle aged woman who wore a house dress and a white apron. "George is our butler," she explained. "He was serving Mr. Thayer's breakfast when the dispute arose. George answered back rather disrespectfully and David knocked him down."
"And I'd do it again, beggin' your pardon ma'am," exclaimed George, "The way he spoke to me!"
"What did George say at the time?" inquired Muldoon.
Mrs. Thayer hesitated.
"Well!" demanded Muldoon. "Come, out with it!"
The words were spoken so low that I could scarcely catch them.
Muldoon turned to the butler. "What's your name?"
"George Watson," replied the man sullenly.
"Where were you when Mr. Thayer was murdered? "He was in the boat house," interrupted the red headed man excitedly. "I saw him there, and he had a gun in his hand when he ran out after the shooting."
"And what's your name?" snapped Muldoon.
"Crail; Bruce Crail."
"What were you doing in the boathouse?"
"I saw Carl coming back in his motor boat, and I went down to the landing to talk with him and try to persuade him to go away, for I feared that there would be trouble if he and D avid met."
"I told him not to interfere," Said a woman sitting beside Crail.
"Keep out of this, Esther," cautioned Crail.
"Who is this woman?" asked Muldoon.
"My wife," replied Crail.
Mrs Crail was a very striking looking woman, prematurely grey.
"Why was it that you did not wish your husband to interfere?" asked Muldoon.
"Well, we were really only casual acquaintances of either the Thayers or the Bogles," she replied.
"This was the first time that we had ever been entertained by either of them, and I felt that it was none of our affair."
Why did your husband fear that there might be trouble between Thayer and the man he called Carl?" continued the Inspector.
"Why, really—I think I'd rather not say any more; you see, after all, it's none of my business or Bruce's either."
"We'll see about that later," observed Muldoon as he turned again toward Alice Thayer. "And now, Mrs. Thayer, please continue with your story. What else transpired during the day that might have led up to this tragedy?"
"Nothing much; it all happened very suddenly. David kept on drinking all day. I ordered an early dinner thinking it might sober him up—I think it was only about five-thirty when we finished.
"After dinner Mr. and Mrs. Crail, Mr. Bogle, and I played contract. David said he would go up and lie down. He was sobered up some, but he was sleepy. Shortly after, Mrs. Bogle left the card room. She said she was going upstairs to get a book."
At this juncture a black haired girl commenced sobbing violently. Alice Thayer turned toward her and gave her a look of such venomous hatred as I have seldom seen in the eyes of any person. ""If you don't make that woman stop that," she cried hysterically, " I shall not be responsible for what I do."
Nobody said anything or did anything. The girl was sitting apart as though shunned by the others.
"Calm yourself, Mrs. Thayer," said Muldoon soothingly, "and go on with your story."
We had been playing about half an hour when Mr. Bogle, who was dummy at that time, excused himself, saying that he wanted to run upstairs to his room and get some cigarettes—I didn't happen to have in the house any of the brand that he smokes.
In less than a minute after Carl left the room we heard loud voices from upstairs, oaths, and the sounds of a struggle."
She stopped then and glared at the black haired girl.
"Ant then what?" asked Muldoon.
"Mr. Bogle had found my husband and his wife together in her room There was a fight. David is—was—a very powerful man, and he was still not entirely sober. He easily got the better of Carl, and then he picked him up and threw him downstairs.
"He followed Carl downstairs and would have attacked him again had not Bruce and Esther and I prevented. Then Carl left the house, saying that he'd kill both David and Mrs. Bogle on sight.
"The Bogles live on the other side of the lake. They had come over in their motor boat, and Carl went down to our boat house, got into his boat, that was moored to our landing, and crossed the lake to his own home."
"What did you do then, Mrs. Thayer?" inquired Muldoon.
The woman bit her lower lip in an effort to suppress her feelings. "I went upstairs to talk to that woman there; Mrs. Bogle." She jerked her head toward the sobbing brunette.
"Did you see her?"
"No. She had locked herself in her room, the dirty little coward; and she didn't come out until after the police came—after David had been shot."
"Just what did your husband do after this affair and up to the time he was killed?"
He tried to defend that hussy. He said the fault was all his. He seemed sort of dazed and stupid, but he wasn't drunk anymore. Finally he got up and said, 'I'm sick of talking about it. I'm going outside." He was always fond of the sunsets here; it was just sundown, and he stood there looking at the sunset. I had followed him as far as the front porch. I stopped there. I saw Carl's motor boat coming back from across the lake. David seemed oblivious of everything, perhaps the sun blinded him. Then he was shot.
"Did Bogle shoot him?"
"Oh, how do I know? I didn't see."
Muldoon pointed to the woman in the white apron. Where were you when Thayer was murdered?" he demanded.
"Ike and I were in the kitchen," she replied. "He was just eating his dinner."
"Who is Ike?"
"This is Ike," she replied, indicating a man in chauffeur's uniform standing a little in the rear of her. "He's Mr. Thayer's chauffeur."
"And you are the cook?"
"What's your name?"
"Helen Watson; my husband is the butler."
"Well, Helen, who else was in the kitchen beside you and Ike at the time of the shooting?"
"No one, we was alone. We heard the shots, but of course we couldn't see nothing because the kitchen is in the back of the house."
"Shots? Were there more than one?
"Yes, sir; they was two."
"Where was your husband?"
"I don't know, sir."
"Mrs. Bogle!" barked Muldoon.
The black haired woman started nervously and screamed. "Oh, don't yell at me like that! I didn't do it. I don't know who did it. At the time, I was locked in my room on the second floor on the opposite side of the house."
"Did you hear the shots!"
"Now, Mrs. Crail," said Muldoon softly, turning toward the white haired woman, "where were you at the time of the murder?"
"I was down in the women's dressing room by the driving platform at the edge of the lake."
"Are the dressing rooms in the boat house?"
"No, the boat house stands opposite one wing of the house, the dressing rooms opposite the other."
"Did you see Mr. Thayer at the time he was shot?
"No, I was not looking at Mr. Thayer; I was looking at Carl Bogle. But I saw Mr. Thayer fall after the shots were fired."
"What was Mr. Bogle doing that attracted your attention to him?" demanded Muldoon.
"He was standing up in his motor boat firing a revolver at Mr. Thayer!"
"Than you; that is all, Mrs. Thayer. I should like to ask you one more question. Are all of the people who were on the premises immediately prior to the murder; at the time of the murder, and immediately after the murder in this room?"
"Yes, Inspector, they are."
"Thank you," said Muldoon; then he made the arrest.
Whom did he arrest?
THE GANG MURDER
Louis "Spike" Finie had been missing from his accustomed haunts for several weeks. Not that Anyone really missed him, the police least of all. He was missed as the itch or a bad headache is missed when it's gone.
Nearly everyone who had ever heard of "Spike," especially the police, hoped that he would remain missing. The latter had a hunch that he would. Perhaps they had inside information . Anyway, they didn't make any effort to find him, but he was found.
A dredge, working in the harbor, brought up a large oblong mass of concrete about seven feet long and two or there feet in diameter. When it was dropped onto the barge it broke in two revealing the midsection of the naked torso of a man.
When the police had hacked away the concrete, out popped Louis "Spike" Finie like a chrysalis from a cocoon. Even in death "Spike" had come back to haunt and annoy them. It looked as though he might be going to be more of a nuisance dead than alive.
A yellow journal featured the story and razzed the police. It even dug up "Spike's " poor old mother (who hadn't seen him for five years, since the night he beat her up and robbed her) and sobered her up and put her on the front page.
It was a balmy June evening in the Year of Our Lord 1940 that Inspector Muldoon, knowing my morbid weakness for murderees, phoned me; and I went down with him to have a look at all that was mortal of Mr. Finie.
He had been garroted with a necktie, shot seven times with a .45. His hands had been tied behind him with a pair of suspenders. Alas, his head had been bashed in with a blunt instrument. Mr. Finie was a mess. Finally, he was quite dead; which is about the nicest thing that anyone could ever truthfully have said of Louis "Spike" Finie.
Muldoon is a combination of the old-time flat-foot cop and the modern, scientific criminologist, for both of whom there is a lot to say. His technique combined the best to be found in each.
To say that he went over "Spike" with a fine-tooth comb would be to state the case very mildly. When he was through he knew within a few hours of the time that "Spike" had been killed, what he had eaten at his last meal, and a number of other things. Under two of the fingernails of his right hand he found minute pieces of human cuticle and a few very short, red hairs.
He said to his assistants: "Go out an find who owned this necktie and those suspenders; get the two men whose .45's pumped those slugs into my good friend 'Spike'; bring in a man with a red beard whose face has been recently scratched. There may be only two men, or there may be five. My guess is that there are five. These rats wouldn't face even another rat like 'Spike' with much less than five to one odds in their favor. I think you should pick them all up in less than twenty-four hours. I could almost name them now."
"So could I," said Jarvis. "We'll bring 'em in all right. They ought to get medals, but I suppose they'll get the chair."
The next day Muldoon phoned me. "Want to come over?" he asked. "Jarvis and the boys have rounded up seven of the Mentoni gang. 'Spike' was trying to muscle in on their racket. I'm goin' to have a little chat with 'em presently."
"I'll be right over," I told him.
"I'll wait for you."
I don't know just why Muldoon always likes to have me around when he has an interesting case to solve. I never help him any, although I have learned a great deal from him and his methods. At least I have learned to keep my mouth shut. Perhaps it is just the crying need that every Johnson feels for a Boswell.
I found Muldoon in his office. Jarvis and a couple of other members of the homicide squad were with him. I have known them all for a number of years. We kid a lot. They call me "Watson." Their stock witticism, hoary and bearded with age, is to exclaim, "Quick, Watson, the needle!" whenever a line of questioning runs up a blind-alley.
"Sit down, said Muldoon, motioning to a chair at his right; then he turned to Cantoni. "Bring in Tony, Joe."
On Muldoon's desk were a sheaf of records, two .45 Cold automatics, a necktie, and a pair of suspenders. He indicated them with a wave of the hand. "We round up the hole gang," he said—"seven of 'em. They all got records as long as the moral law but more exciting. Most of our clews petered out. The necktie and suspenders belonged to "Spike", one of the .45's he was plugged with was his, the other belongs to 'The Wop.' The two gats were found in an ash can in Harlem. They'd evidently ditched 'em in a hurry when they learned 'Spike' had been fished out of the harbor.
"It was easy to trace 'Spikes's' gun. He'd bought it in his own name and hadn't filed the numbers off. 'Spike' was pretty sure of himself and his drag. Anyway, he wasn't a killer. Other guys did his killing for him. He carried the gun for self-protection and had a permit.
"The other gun was not so easy. Jarvis traced it to a guy named Musso who went to The Chair last year for murder. He had used that gun, and it was duck-soup for the ballistician to trace four of the seven slugs in 'Spike' to it; the other three were from 'Spike's" gat.
"The only relative Musso had was a son, 'The Wop' and when Musso's belongings were turned over to this guy he got the gun too somehow, though it isn't regular.
"'The Wop' is one of Mentoni's gang. So this is the only real clew we've got, and it ain't as hot as it looks, because the autopsy surgeon says all seven shots ere fired into 'Spike' after he was killed. What we want to know is who did the actual killing."
He ceased speaking then as the door opened and Cantoni came in with a tough-looking guy handcuffed to an officer. The prisoner was Tony Mentoni, leader of the Mentoni Gang.
Mantoni is an ugly customer and looks it. The lid of one eye droops; he has a mouth like a steel trap, a scar down his left cheek, and his sallow countenance wears an habitually sullen expression.
"Well, Tony," said Muldoon, pleasantly, "this looks pretty bad for you—we've got you this time."
"You ain't got nothin'," snarled Mentoni out of a corner of his mouth. "You ain't got nothin' on me."
"No? Well, what were you and your brother doin' the night of the eighth from ten o'clock to three o'clock the mornin' of the ninth?"
"I aint got no brother."
"About eight o'clock on the eighth," continued Muldoon, "a Jane calls 'Spike' and makes a date with him. He'd been tryin' to make her for a long time. She was one of your molls. And, incidentally, she's disappeared. You don't happen to know anything about that, do you?
"I don't know what you're talkin' about," replied Mentoni, sullenly.
"And when 'Spike' went into this Jane's room," continued Muldoon, "someone standing behind the door bashed him over the head with a piece iron pipe." He opened a drawer and took out something wrapped in paper. "Very careless to leave the pipe there, Tony." He opened the paper, revealing a piece of galvanized iron pipe about ten inches long. "The guy that did this was a strong guy, for he picked 'Spike' up and carried him down the back stairs and put him in a car that was waiting in the alley."
As he talked, Muldoon watched Mentoni as a cat watches a mouse. I was watching him too, and saw his fingers twitch and that drooping eyelid flutter.
"So you see, Tony," continued Muldoon suavely, "we know all about it."
"Yea? Wise guy. If you know so damn much, you don't need to ask me no more questions."
"I'm not quite sure who killed 'Spike'," admitted Muldoon, candidly, "and you can't always believe stool pigeons. They might have something against the guy they were trying to hang a rap on. I don't always trust a guy that'll squeal. But we got the straight of how it was done, and the same guy says you did it."
"It's a damned lie," shouted Mentoni. "I never seen 'Spike' that night 'til after he was croaked." Then he turned pale and shut up like a clam. He knew he had said too much.
"Take him out," ordered Muldoon, "and bring in Palooka."
As Mentoni was being led away, Muldoon stopped him. "By the way Tony," he said, "This record says you were born in Sicily thirty-nine years ago. Is that right?"
"You can't burn a guy for that." snarled Mentoni.
"It's right, then?"
"Sure, it's right."
They brought in "Palooka" Mentoni next. He was a fat, oily, soft-looking Italian.
Muldoon read from the man's record: "Mentoni, Giovanni, born, Jersey City, 1903; known as 'Palooka.' Is that right? There's a lot more," said Muldoon, "but I won't bother to read it. I just wanted to make sure this was your record. You knew 'Spike' Finie, didn't you?"
"Sure, I knew him."
"Why did you want to kill him?"
"Who said I killed him?"
"You used to be a cement worker, didn't you, when you worked at all?"
"You did a little cement contracting a couple of years ago. You were making a pretty good thing of it—had your own mixer and a Ford dump-truck."
"Sure," said 'Palooka.' "I'm a business man."
"You still got the truck and the mixer in your garage. At least they were there this morning..."
'Palooka's' eyes grew sullen, and he fidgeted.
"You ain't had a cement job for a long while, have you?"
"No; not for more'n a year."
"The cement in the bottom of the mixer was still pretty green this morning." Muldoon spoke very softly. Suddenly he half rose, leaning on his desk toward the man. "You killed 'Spike' Finie," he shouted, "and you mixed the concrete in your mixer that you put his body in; and you hauled it to the harbor in your truck and dumped it. I've got you at last, you damned rat; and you're goin' to burn for this."
"I never done it!" screamed 'Palooka.' "I never killed 'Spike.'"
"He tried to muscle in on your racket, didn't he?"
"And you warned him to quit?"
"And he didn't quit."
"You threatened to take him for a ride."
"That was just bluff—tryin' to throw a scare into him."
They brought in "Shrimp" next. He was a young punk. Admitted he was nineteen years old. His height, six feet three, made him appear older. He wouldn't talk about the killing at all. He was true to the ethics of gangland.
When Gus was trotted in, I got a thrill. He had a reddish beard and the side of his face bore the red marks of partially healed scratches.
"Well," said Muldoon. "'Spike' scratched you up some, didn't he?" The man went white. "Did he get you before you hit him, or did he come to after?"
"Me moll done this," growled Gus.
"That's funny," said Muldoon, "because we found some of your skin and a few hairs of your beard under 'Spike's' fingernails."
Gus looked blank.
"Come clean," advised Muldoon; "it may go easier with you."
"If the ______ever washed you wouldn't of found nothin," said Gus.
"Then he did scratch you?"
"Sure he did. There ain't no law against gettin' scratched, is there? We had an argument two days before he was killed. He scratched me then. I can prove it. It was in Bellows' Cafe. A dozen people seen it."
"And so two days later you killed him."
"I didn't kill him."
"What's your last name, Gus? There seem to be several mentioned here in your record. It says you were born in Chicago in 1904. Let's see—that would make you thirty-six. Is that right, too?"
"That part of it's right. I ain't never give my real name, and I aint never goin' to."
That wa all Muldoon got out of Gus.
He had "Kid" Meghan in next—a nice looking kid. He said he was eighteen.
"I knew your old man, Meghan," said Muldoon. "He and I travelled beat together before you were born. He was a fine officer and an honorable man. He was killed by just such a bunch of rats as you are training with. He wouldn't be very proud of you, if he knew. Perhaps he does know."
"I'm not very proud of my self, Inspector," said the boy. "I'm afraid to get out. You know how it is. You can get into a mob like this easy enough; but if you try to get out, they kill you."
"Come clean, 'Kid.' and help us put this mob where they belong. We'll take care of you. Even if you killed 'Spike,' I'll help you all I can for your old man's sake.
"I didn't kill him, Inspector."
"Do you know who did?"
"Who was it?"
The boy shook his head. "A guy's got to have some honor," he said. "I couldn't peach on a pal."
"Will you tell us what you can?"
"Sure. One guy croaked the so-and-so. He ought to have been croaked long ago. Two of the guys was pretty sore at him and they pumped him lead two hours after he was croaked. Some of the rest of us helped to 'bury' him. You can't leave a guy lyin' around without a decent burial, you know." He smiled as he said this, and he had a nice smile.
"I wish you'd tell me who it was -otherwise you may all get the chair."
That was just bluff.
"Someone is going to squeal," continued Muldoon. "They're all scared. The one who tips me off needn't ever be known, but I'll promise him he won't get the chair."
"I'll tell you, you won't never get it out of 'em. All of 'em are afraid of the chief, and—well, I'll tell you this much, but I won't mention no names. You can't get either a father or a son to send the other to the chair. You can't never say I told you, can you, Inspector?"
"Well, you haven't told me anything yet," said Muldoon.
"I'll say this much more, then, and see if you're as bright as they say. The father of the guy that croaked 'Spike' Finie is Tony's father's son."
"Thanks," said Muldoon.
He had "The Wop" in next. He was nineteen and a hop-head. He swore he didn't kill Finie, but you can't ever believe a hop-head. Muldoon knew all about him and didn't waste much time on him.
The last member of the gang to be grilled was a nasty little man called "The Rat." He said he was thirty-five years old and had spent ten years of his life in stir. He admitted having helped "bury" Finie, but denied having killed him.
When he was taken away Muldoon lighted a long black cigar.
Jarvis grinned, "Got your man, chief?" he asked.
"Sure," said Muldoon.
Who was the guilty man. How did Muldoon know?
THE LIGHTSHIP MURDER
When Muldoon asked me to go along with them I didn't know what I was in for. My longest sea voyage has been west from the Statue of Liberty to Catalina Island. I am not much of a sailor. The launch that the Coast Guard furnished us seemed to me wholly inadequate beyond the breakwater, but we were headed far out for the lightship that marks a dangerous reef twenty miles off shore.
However, the sea was calm; and there were only the long oily swells to remind one of the latent might of the great ocean—an aftermath of the storm that had raged but a day or two before. It was all rather restful, and I was soon enjoying it to the full.
In addition to the crew of the launch and Muldoon and myself, there were United States Marshal Olson and two of his deputies. The Marshal, a warm friend and admirer of Inspector Muldoon, had invited him to come along and help solve what appeared to be something of a mystery; and Muldoon had, as he often does, asked me to go with him.
The Marshal knew practically nothing about the case except that the lightship tender, making her BI-monthly visit to the lightship, had wirelessed that morning, that she had found Daniel MacTeevor, the keeper of the lightship, murdered and could get no information from any of the others on board.
The tender was still standing by ass we climbed over the rail of the murder ship; and it was the captain of the tender, there with tow of his men, who greeted us. Otherwise, the deck was deserted.
"I've got 'em down below in the main cabin," he said, following brief introductions. "They're a glum lot; I can't get a thing out of 'em that makes sense."
"That's what I brought my old friend, Inspector Muldoon, along for," remarked Olson. "He'll get the truth out of 'em without their knowing it."
"The truth ain't in 'em," growled the captain of the tender. "Where do you want to start, Inspector?"
"Let's have a look at the body," replied Muldoon. "Where is it?"
"He's still in his cabin. Come with me."
We followed Captain Black down a companionway and entered a cabin in which were two bunks. On one of them was stretched a figure covered with a piece of tarpaulin.
Captain Black jerked a thumb toward it. "There it is," he said.
Olson and I followed Muldoon to the side of the bunk and watched as he pulled down the tarpaulin. I do not know why I have such a morbid desire to see such gruesome things. I am always sorry afterward, and ashamed; but the fact remains that the corpse of a murdered person holds me in its grisly power as surely as the wedding guest was held by the glittering eye of the ancient mariner.
And this sight was hideously gruesome. MacTeevor's throat had been cut from ear to ear and so deeply that his head was almost severed from his body. From the seamed and weather-beaten face his dead eyes stared horribly, his shaved upper lip was drawn back from his teeth in a snarl, the fringe of white beard beneath his lower jaw was matted with blood.
Muldoon drew the tarpaulin back in place. "I would like to question those who were on board at the time of the murder," he said.
"They are all in the main cabin," said Black, leading the way from the scene of the murder.
There were four people in the cabin that we entered a moment later. They were a sullen, dour-looking lot. They glowered at us from beneath scowling brows, but none of them spoke. Muldoon stood surveying them for a moment; then he turned toward the man sitting nearest him.
"What is your name?" he demanded.
"Bill MacTeevor," came sullenly after a moment's hesitation.
"Were the four of you in this cabin on board this ship the night of the murder?"
The man did not answer, but a woman across the cabin spoke up. "Yes," she said. "We was all here."
"And who else?" asked Muldoon.
"Only Daniel," she replied.
Muldoon turned again to the man. "I am Inspector Muldoon of the metropolitan police force, and this gentleman on my right is United States Marshal Olson. We have come out here to investigate this murder. It will be pleasanter for all concerned if you answer our questions and answer them truthfully. None of you need answer any question that will incriminate himself.
"Now, when was this murder committed?"
"The night of September first, night before last."
"You are here together alone much of the time, are you not?"
"We ain't seen no one since the tender was here last time."
"When was that?"
"The second of July."
"What was the murdered man doing the last time you saw him alive?"
"He was scrappin' with her." Bill MacTeevor pointed toward a woman sitting near him.
"What is you name? Asked Muldoon, addressing the woman.
"Esther MacTeevor." She was a slatternly woman clothed in a dirty calico garment that would have been called a Mother Hubbard twenty or thirty years ago; I don't know what they call them now.
"What were you and the murdered man quarrelling about? asked the Inspector.
"What we always quarreled about—money. He was turrible tight about money—he wouldn't give me none."
"Why did you want money?"
"Andy wanted to go ashore when the tender come. He wanted to get a job on shore. He was sick o' livin' on a lightship. I wanted the money fer him."
'"Were you and Daniel related Esther? Inquired Muldoon.
"Yes, but we weren't no blood kin."
"Just when did you see your sister last prior to the murder?" Muldoon has an odd way of skipping about in his questioning and suddenly asking what seem to be the most irrelevant sort of questions.
Esther MacTeevor puckered her brows in thought. "Let's see," she said finally, "4th o' July come on a Monday this year; an' it was jest a week before the Fourth that I seen Susan last. The husband of one of her friends owns a fishin' boat, and she come with him. She spent a week with me an' went back the Monday before the Fourth. She ain't never been married, an' she likes to gad about an' visit. Especial she likes to come an' see me, 'cause me an' her is the only ones left in our family."
Muldoon wheeled suddenly toward a scrawny, hard-faced woman. "What is your name?" he demanded.
The woman started nervously as though someone had suddenly stuck a pin into her. "Ca-Carrie MacTeevor," she stammered.
"What do you know of the happenings on this ship the night of September1?" Muldoon shot the question at her as though he were accusing her of the murder.
"I don't know nothin'," she replied sullenly. "I never done it." And then half hysterically, "I swear to God I never done it!"
"I am only asking you to recall what you do know of that night," said Muldoon, soothingly. I think it is these quick changes of manner that help to make Mullion's technique so effective; his subjects are alternately soothed or shocked into revealing more than they realize.
"Well," commenced the woman, reminiscently, "it was a turrible night. The wind was blowin' a gale, an' the clouds hid every star; it was dark as a pocket except when The Light flashed—on five seconds, off fifteen. The ship was wallowin' an' pitchin', the wind was howlin' through the riggin', an' above the storm I could hear the seas breakin' on the reef. I was plumb scairt; an' I was seasick, too. I staid in my bunk from right after supper. I didn't know nothin' about Daniel until mornin', when Bill come in an' tol' me."
"How long have you known Andy?"
"Did he and Daniel ever quarrel?"
"Yes. We all quarreled. There wasn't nothin' else much to do."
"Didn't Andy quarrel with Daniel more than the rest of you?"
"No, he didn't. Andy has always been a good boy. Perhaps, bein' an only child, he's been spoiled a little; but he ain't a bad boy."
Muldoon was silent for a moment; then he turned away from Carrie. "Bill," he asked, "where was your brother sleeping the night of the murder?"
"I never had no brother," replied Bill, "nor sister, neither."
"How old are you?"
"Who was on watch the hour of the murder?"
Bill shuffled his feet nervously and cleared his throat before answering. "I was; my father went to bed early."
"How long have you known Carrie MacTeevor?"
"Nigh onto twenty year."
"Was she particularly fond of Daniel?"
"Hell, no; there wasn't none o' us particularly fond of no one. We been cooped up along here too long.
Once more Muldoon turned his attention to another member of the sorry company. "Young man, what is your name?"
"How old are you, Andy?"
"Is your mother living?"
"Say, mister," interrupted Carrie MacTeevor, "I forgot to tell you somethin'. I heard Andy's grandmother scoldin' Daniel after I turned in."
"Could you hear what she said?
"How old are you, Carrie?"
"Esther, did Daniel quarrel with his sister the night of the murder?"
"Daniel's only sister died more 'n forty year ago. I was tellin' my sister it seemed nigh onto a hundred years since Abbie passed on."
"Have you done anything about notifying Daniel's other relatives?"
"His father an' mother died over forty year ago, just before his sister Abbie went; and he never had no other kin except what's on this ship."
"But you were related to him."
"We're all related—all what was on the ship."
"How many was that?"
"Was Daniel married?"
"And his wife is still living?
"That would be his first wife?"
"He never had but one. They couldn't have been but one woman in the world fool enough to marry Daniel MacTeevor." She cast a vindictive look at the other woman.
"Andy," continued the Inspector, "what other relatives have you beside those on board this ship?"
"Just a great aunt," replied the youth.
"And now, Esther, just one more question. Do you know who committed this murder?"
"Yes, but I won't tell. You couldn't never drag it out of me."
"I shan't try to," Muldoon assured her.
"If Daniel had listed to me it wouldn't never have happened. I been expectin' somethin' like this for a long time."
"It was in the blood—the mother's blood; 'twarn't in my blood nor in the MacTeevor's."
"Thank you, Esther," said Muldoon suavely; that explains everything."
We all looked at Muldoon blankly. Marshal Olson was the first of speak, "Perhaps it does to you, Inspector," he said; "but I don't ever know who's related to whom, much less who did the killing.
"It is quite simple," said Muldoon. "If the captain has the authority to leave someone here to tend the light, you can take the guilty party back with you now and the others as material witnesses."
Who is the guilty party? What were the relationships that existed between the five people aboard the lightship? And why?
These mystery stories of Ed Burroughs are on the square. There's no "catch." Time yourself for arriving at a correct solution and mail it to SCRIPT. The winner will be given a high position at court when we are King.—Rob
THE RED NECKTIE
The prosecuting attorney cleared his throat and glared at the witness fidgeting uneasily on the stand. "You say your name is King," he barked. "How old are you?"
The witness, a red-faced man uneasy in ill-fitting clothes, fingered his soft hat nervously as he answered in a scarcely audible voice. "I am five years older than that other defendant over there who is twenty years younger and much poorer than the defendant who has the same name as he."
"Now," snapped the Prosecuting Attorney, "in addition to you and two other defendants you have just mentioned, there is a fourth defendant. Do you know his age?"
"He is five years older than I."
"You are well acquainted with all the other defendants, are you not?"
"I know them all, sir, but I wouldn't say as how I am well acquainted with all of them. I am only a porter in Mr. James' bank and scarcely ever spoke to him until after we were both indicted."
"Do you know who gave the red necktie to Judge Racket?" The Prosecuting Attorney shot the question suddenly after a brief pause. His vehemence startled the witness and left him gasping.
"Y-yes," he stammered.
"Which one of the four defendants was it?" demanded the Prosecutor.
The attorney for the defense leaped to his feet. "I object to that question, your honor, on the grounds that his answer might incriminate him."
"Objection sustained," ruled the court.
"King," continued the Prosecuting Attorney, "one of the defendants in this case has the same name as I; would you say that this defendant is older than the one who gave the red necktie to Judge Racket?
"He is younger, sir; he is ten years younger than you."
"That is all." He turned to a white-haired man sitting at a table beside the Attorney for the Defense. "Mr. James, please take the witness chair."
A portly man with a careworn face approached and was sworn. "What is your name?" asked the prosecutor.
"Thaddeus James," came the answer in a dull, weary voice.
"And what is your vocation, Mr. James?"
"I am a banker."
"How old are you?"
"If I were five years younger I should be just your age."
"You are a very rich man, are you not, Mr. James?"
"I was born in 1929," replied the witness with a tinge of bitterness in his voice; "but today I am worth but little more than my clerk over there, regardless of what others may think."
"You mean William James, one of the defendants in this case?"
"Now, Mr. James, you have known Mr. Cooper for how long?"
"There are two Coopers in the court room, sir; my attorney's name is Cooper. Do you refer to him?"
"No, to the other Cooper—one of your co-defendants."
"I have known him for one-seventh of my life and one sixth of his."
"Is the man who bribed Judge Racket older or younger than this man?"
"He is as much younger than you as he is older than the defendant whose name is the same as yours."
"That is all, Mr. James; you are excused. And now, gentlemen of the jury, you have heard all the evidence, and during the past three days of this trial it has shown conclusively that one of these four defendants is guilty of having given a red necktie to Judge Racket. These men have all tried to shield one another, but the State has circumvented them by reducing the identification of the guilty man to a matter of cold figures that cannot lie. Unintentionally and unknowingly on their part, they have been adroitly led into divulging the identity of the culprit by revealing his age. The man against whom you must bring in a verdict of guilty, if this great and glorious nation is to endure, has just been identified by Mr. James.
"Gentlemen of the jury, your duty is plain."
Fifteen minutes later, the jury brought in a verdict of guilty against one of the four defendants.
How old is the guilty man, and what is his name?
NOTE BY YE ED: This is the second mystery puzzle propounded by the famous author of Tarzan. Mr. Woods Peters of San Francisco best all readers of the first puzzle by solving it in fifteen minutes. Write in and tell us how long it takes to solve this one—and no fanoodlin!
THE TERRACE DRIVE MURDER
I was idling with my violin on a grey November morning, the sort of blue, depressing morning that offers no incentive to creative work, and wishing that something would happen that would shift the responsibility for shirking from my conscience, when the telephone bell jangled insistently.
It was Muldoon. "Hello, old man!" he greeted me. "Feel like a murder this morning?"
"I feel like murdering the weather man."
"This murder has already been committed; so if the victim is the weather man, you're too late. I think it may have possibilities; the men on the job are up a stump, and they have sent for me. Come along, you like murders."
"Sure!" I accepted with alacrity. "Shall I come to your office or meet you somewhere else?"
"I'll pick you up; it's over in your neck of the woods."
Twenty minutes later Muldoon and I were pulling up in front of a pretentious home on Terrace Drive. "Why, this is Atwater's place!" I exclaimed. "Has Atwater been murdered?"
"No, it isn't Atwater; but come on in and we'll soon know all about it."
"Want to make a little bet?"
"I'm a gentleman; I never bet on the other fellow's sure things."
One of the men from the homicide squad let us in through the ornate entrance and led us back to a large sun parlor overlooking the gardens and the tennis court at the rear of the house.
In addition to the chief of the homicide squad and two of his men, there were five people in the room. A grey-haired man arose as we entered and came forward. "I am glad you are here, Inspector," he said, extending a hand to Muldoon; "I want to see this thing cleared up. It is terrible, terrible!" He broke down and sobbed.
"Calm yourself, Mr. Atwater," said Muldoon; "and if I can have the co-operation of all those present, I am sure we can get to the solution quickly.
"And now, Mr. Atwater, when did the murder occur:"
"Some time between eleven o'clock last night and seven this morning."
"How do you know?"
"We had been playing bridge after dinner—my daughter, Bernice (he indicated a tall, dark girl quietly weeping in a corner), Mr. Elwood, myself, and—oh, it's terrible! Alive and well at eleven o'clock last night and now lying cold and dead up there—murdered, foully, cruelly murdered."
"Who discovered the body?" snapped Muldoon.
"My secretary, Foley, over there, he replied, pointing.
"Who was in the house between eleven o'clock last night and seven this morning?" asked Muldoon.
"Just those who are in the room now," replied Atwater, "—and of course—" he nodded his head toward the upper floor where the corpse lay.
"I understand," said Muldoon—"you, your daughter, your secretary, Mr. Elwood, and who's that man there?"
"That is Charles, my chauffeur and, ah, well, he is a sort of valet , too."
"Where were the other servants," explained Atwater, "that is, beside Charles; a man and his wife. They had been with us only a few days, and they were most unsatisfactory. They left after dinner last night."
"You paid them off, and they left and did not return - is that right?"
"Were the deceased and Mr. Elwood members of your household?"
"Oh, no. They are guests. I sent Charles to the station to get them yesterday evening, and we had dinner about nine o'clock. It was the late dinner that caused the butler and his wife to leave; they were disagreeable about it."
Muldoon turned to the chauffeur, a sullen appearing man with a deep scar across one cheek. "What time did you pick these guests up at the station, Charles?"
"Their train got in at 7:45 last night, but I had a little trouble finding them—I hadn't never seen them before—and it was about eight o'clock before I picked 'em out of the crowd."
Muldoon swung swiftly toward the secretary. "Why did you go to that room at seven o'clock this morning?"
The suddenness of it made me jump, and I saw Foley gasp.
"I—I—" stammered the secretary. "Some one had to awaken the guests, and there were no servants in the house. I just went there to wake—"
"Foley, you're lying to me—you know who committed this crime. Come on—out with it!"
"Yes, I know," blurted the secretary; "but I'll never tell."
"You were with the murderer last night?" demanded the inspector.
"I was not. The last time I saw the murderer yesterday was while we were playing tennis together."
"That is all for the present, Foley," said Muldoon, and then he looked over at the tall, dark girl. "You are Miss Atwater?" he asked.
"Are you well acquainted with Mr. Elwood?"
"We are engaged to be married—we hoped to be married the tenth of next month, my birthday and his, too."
"You are both the same age?"
"I am a year younger than he."
"What relation was he, if any, to the victim of this crime?"
"He was a nephew."
"Was there any reason why the deceased should object to this marriage?"
At this question, Bernice Atwater broke down and commenced to cry. "I don't see why you should torture me with questions," she sobbed. "Haven't I been through enough already?"
"Then there was a reason?" insisted Muldoon.
"Yes—oh, it was a matter of money. You see, Jerry—Mr. Elwood—was to come into his money when he married. It is in a trust, and the trustee—well—had speculated and lost a lot of it. If Jerry married, it would all come out."
"Was the deceased the trustee?"
Jerry Elwood was a short, unprepossessing looking person with thick-lensed spectacles that give him an owlish cast of countenance. During the interview he had been smoking one cigarette after another almost as rapidly as he could light them, taking a few puffs at each before pressing the fire out in the bottom of an ash receiver; then nervously extracting another from a gold cigarette case.
Now he interposed. "I think you've said quite enough, Bernice." He fumbled for another cigarette.
Muldoon pointed a pudgy finger at him. "Elwood," he demanded, "are you free to marry Miss Atwater?"
"I am now—I mean—I—"
"You mean you are since the murder removed an obstacle," roared Muldoon.
"I—I—didn't say that," stammered Elwood.
"But it's the truth," snapped the inspector. "You couldn't marry without the consent of the trustee of your father's estate. Now, isn't that a fact?"
Elwood assumed an air of bravado that comported illy with his personality. "Yes, it is!" he shouted almost as loud as Muldoon; "but that doesn't prove anything."
"It proves that you and Miss Atwater had an incentive—it establishes a motive—you would both have profited by the death of this person. Now, you might as well come clean, Elwood—it will make it easier for all."
"You have no right to accuse Miss Atwater—she had nothing to do with it—neither did I."
"Perhaps not, but was there any one else in your family who might have profited by this death?"
"I have no relatives now that—well, since what happened last night. Like my dead mother, I am an only child."
"Was your father the Elwood of the Elwood Grain Company?"
"And he was very wealthy before his death, was he not?"
"Why, yes, I suppose he was wealthy," replied Elwood. "I was only ten when he died, and so I didn't know much about his affairs."
"Let's see," ruminated Muldoon; "he and his brother were business partners?"
"He never had a brother."
"And now, Foley," said Muldoon, "I'd like to ask you another question."
"Well, I don't know that I'll answer it," snapped the secretary, with some acerbity. The nerves of the three men were holding better than those of the two women; yet, all were on the edge.
"Oh, it's not a very pertinent question, perhaps," said Muldoon, smiling. "I was just wondering if the murderer and the deceased were well acquainted?"
The secretary laid down a half-finished cigarette, and then said, "Yes; once they were engaged to be married."
"Do you know anything about this trust we have been hearing about, Foley?"
"Not much—it was not my affair."
"You don't happen to know when it was established?"
"Immediately after my father's death," said Elwood, "fifteen years ago."
"Charles," said Muldoon, turning to the chauffeur, "how old are you?"
"I'm forty-eight," replied the man.
"You look much younger," commented Muldoon. "How long have you been employed by Mr. Atwater?"
"Like your job?"
"Sure! It's a swell job; they treat me great."
"What were you doing just before you went to work for Mr. Atwater"
The chauffeur scowled. "I—well—you ain't got nothin' on me. What difference does it make what I was doin' two years ago?"
"Perhaps no difference," replied Muldoon easily. "I have been trying to place you ever since I came into this room, Charles; and now I have succeeded. That scar on your cheek is as good as a set of fingerprints. You were in the pen two years ago for burglary!"
"Well, what if I was? Growled the chauffeur. "This murder wasn't committed two years ago."
"And you were paroled to Mr. Atwater?"
"And he's been pretty good to you, hasn't he?"
"There isn't anything you wouldn't do for him, is there?"
"No. I'd do anything for him—he's been swell to me."
"You'd even commit murder for him, wouldn't you?"
The man's eyes narrowed and he glared at Muldoon as he exclaimed, "To hell with you! I never done it."
"Do you play tennis, Charles? Inquired Muldoon, blandly.
"Yes. Foley taught me to play."
"Were you playing tennis with Foley yesterday?"
"Thank you, Charles; that's all."
Muldoon turned to the chief of the homicide squad. "Mike," he said, softly, "you may make the arrest now, bring the prisoner to headquarters."
"Which one, Inspector?"
Muldoon pointed at one of the five. "That one," he said.
At whom did Muldoon point?
Do you have the solution? See Below
WHO MURDERED MR. THOMAS?
Dear Rob: You have a right to boast of the high order of intelligence of your readers. Let's see how high it is. The enclosed murder mystery may be solved logically from the clues given in the story. There is no "catch" to it.
Ask your readers to time themselves and then tell you how long it took them to reach the correct solution logically. Also ask them not to lie.
Police inspector Muldoon and I are old cronies. I was sitting in his office when the report came in that Mr. Thomas had been murdered. Mr. Thomas was a prominent and wealthy citizen.
"I'll look into this thing myself," said Muldoon; "Mr. Thomas was a good friend of mine."
"May I come along?" I asked.
"Sure," said Muldoon.
When we reached the Thomas home, one of the show-places of the city, Muldoon immediately took full charge, placing men at all entrances with orders to permit no one to enter or depart.
As we entered the library, a large room beautifully paneled in walnut, we found six nervous and distraught people awaiting us. Mr. Thomas' body lay on the floor in front of the fireplace, where it had fallen. There was a bullet hole between the eyes.
The daughter of the murdered man was weeping. Her fiance, a guest in the house, was trying to comfort her. I recall that as I first looked at them I was struck by the remarkable similarity of the color of their hair. A man named Perry stood across the room from them watching Miss Terry closely.
Muldoon's first questions elicited the fact that there were no other people in the house and that no one had entered or left it since the murder. An examination of the corpse revealed no clue to the identity of the murderer, unless a strand of hair on the coat might have significance.
At least, it called our attention to the hair of those present; there were two with blond hair, tow with black, and two red-heads.
When the butler was questioned, he said that the other two men were guests and that their names were Mr. Wayne and Mr. Perry.
Muldoon called my attention to the fact that the strand of hair found on Mr. Thomas' coat was the same color as the hair of one of the men, no two of whom had the same color hair; but I reminded him that it was also exactly the same color as that of one of the women.
When Muldoon questioned Miss Mills, she said that she and Miss Terry were visiting Miss Thomas over the week-en, and when he urged her to make a clean breast of it and tell him who the murderer was she just shook her mass of bobbed black hair, and burying her face in her hands, burst into tears.
It was about the same with the others; no one would name the murderer. One of the girls told Muldoon that she did not know where Miss Thomas was at the time the shot was fired that killed Mr. Thomas.
Muldoon asked one of the male guests, the one with blond hair, how he accounted for the strand of hair on Mr. Thomas' coat.
"I think it has no bearing on the case," the guest replied. "It is not fair to assume that it was a strand of the murderer's hair. As a matter of fact, the murderer has the same color hair as one of the guests who was in another part of the house when Mr. Thomas was shot."
"So you know who the murderer is?" demanded Muldoon, but the man closed up like a clam and would say no more.
Muldoon turned again to Miss Mills and snapped, "Where were you when this man was shot?"
"I was with Miss Thomas."
The butler was standing beside Miss Mills; the contrast between the colors of their hair was striking. He fidgeted as Muldoon questioned him.
"Where was Miss Terry at the time of the murder?" the Inspector shot at him.
"She—she was here—here, in this room, with Mr. Thomas," stammered the butler.
"Who else was in the room at the time?"
"There were two others, beside Mr. Thomas and Miss Terry."
"Was the color of the murderer's hair the same as that of either of the other two present?"
"No; but the other two had the same color hair."
This was all the information we could gather, yet within ten minutes Muldoon arrested the murderer.
Whom did Muldoon arrest?
SOLUTION TO THE BANK MURDER
There are six men in the room. We wish to establish their names and ages. We will first write down six numbers and then fill in the information as we deduce it.
No. 1: Doctor King—35 years old
No. 2: King—Teller—25 years old
No. 3: The young man—James—40 years old—Ralph
No. 4: Thaddeus James—40 years old
No. 5: Clerk—Crowder—30 years old
No. 6: Crowder—Attorney—30 years old
The first man whom Muldoon questions is King. Because I work backwards sometimes, this man happens to be No. 2, and we enter his name accordingly. He is a teller.
The next man is the doctor; so we enter "doctor" after No. 1.
The Next is Thaddeus James. He will be No. 4.
James mentions the young man. He will be No. 3. And his name being the same, according to King, as the man sitting at the desk, we can enter his name also.
King has said that young James is twenty years young than the elder James, and the elder James has said that he is twice as old as the younger James. Let x stand for the age of the younger James; we than have the simple equation: 2x = x + 20; therefore , x = 20, giving the age of the younger James as 20 and the older James as 40.
King, the teller, said that if he were four years younger, he'd be one year older than the younger James so King must be five years older than the younger James, or 25.
The doctor said his name was the same as the only man in the room who was exactly fifteen years younger than Thaddeus James, 40-15=25, so the doctor's name is King.
The next is the clerk. He mentions Ralph James, so we know the young James' first name.
James says there are two Crowders in the room; so 5 and 6 must both be Crowders. One is the clerk, the other an attorney.
James has known Attorney Crowder for one-quarter of James's life, or ten years, and as that is one-third of Crowder's life, Crowder must be thirty.
Clerk Crowder mentions a man fifteen years older than Ralph James whose name cannot be Crowder, therefore a man of 35. As we know that Teller King is 25, the younger James 20, and the elder James 40, then the man who is thirty-five must be Doctor King.
As no two of the above are the same age, neither the Kings nor the Jameses can be twins, so the Crowders must be twins, and therefore Clerk Crowder is 30.
Teller King says that the man who killed Morgan was five years older than he, or thirty years old. The Crowder twins are the only men present who are that age, and as Attorney Crowder did not reach the bank until after the murder, Clerk Crowder was the man at whom Inspector Muldoon pointed.
SOLUTION TO THE DARK LAKE MURDER
Location of the nine people at the time of the murder:
David Thayer was standing in front of his home looking at the sunset.
Mrs. Thayer was on the front porch of the home.
Bruce Crail was in the boat house opposite one end of the house.
George Watson, the butler, was in the boat house.
Carl Bogle was in his motor boat at the boat house firing a pistol at Thayer.
Esther Crail was in the dressing room on lake at opposite end of house from the boat house.
Mrs. Bogle was in her room upstairs at the back of the house.
Ike, the chauffeur, was in kitchen at back of house.
Mrs. Watson, cook, was with Ike.
It has been established that the house was on the east side of the lake, facing west; therefore Thayer must have been standing with his back toward the house.
He was shot from behind and from slightly above, as indicated by the small hole high in the back of his head and the large one lower down in the front.
No one in the boat house or the dressing rooms could have shot him in the back of the head, or from above.
Mrs. Thayer was the only person standing behind him, and she was standing on the porch, slightly higher than he.
Muldoon arrested Mrs. Thayer.
SOLUTION TO THE GANG MURDER
"Kid" Meghan said: "The father of the guy that croaked 'Spike' Finie is Tony's father's son." Therefore, the murderer must be tony's son. Tony is thirty-nine. There are only three members of the gang young enough to be his son. "The Wop," whose father died in The Chair; Young Meghan, whose father was killed by gangsters; and "Shrimp"—therefore the murderer must be "Shrimp."
SOLUTION TO THE LIGHTSHIP MURDER
There were five people aboard the lightship the night of the murder: Andy MacTeevor Bill MacTeevor Carrie MacTeevor Daniel MacTeevor Esther MacTeevor
All are related to one another.
Andy's grandmother is on the ship.
Andy being 18 and Carrie 39, Esther must be Andy's grandmother.
Andy's mother is alive; he has only one blood relative ashore, a great aunt; there, Carrie and Esther being the only women on the ship and Esther being his grandmother, Carrie must be Andy's mother.
Bill said his father was on watch the night of the murder. Andy being 18 and Bill almost 40, Andy could not be Bill's father; therefore Daniel was Bill's father.
Neither Bill nor Andy has a brother; Bill had no uncle because his father, Daniel, had no brother, Andy had no relatives (except an unmarried great aunt) other than those on the lightship; therefore they cannot be cousins, and as each was an only child they cannot be brothers-in-law. But they are related; therefore they must be father and son—Bill is Andy's father.
So Bill and Carrie, being the father and mother of Andy, are husband and wife.
Daniel being Bill's father must have been Andy's grandfather; therefore Daniel and Esther were husband and wife.
Esther said the murderer had murder in his blood but that there was no such criminal strain in her blood nor in the MacTeevors'; therefore the blood stain must have come from Carrie, and as Andy is the only one with her blood in his veins and as Carrie was in her bunk when the murder was committed Andy must be the murderer.
Readers David Cliff, Marie Fleming and Brita Holm solved the mystery correctly.
SOLUTION TO THE RED NECKTIE MURDER MYSTERY
This solution appeared in the June 4, 1932 issue of Rob Wagner's Script Weekly magazine
EDDIE BURROUGHS, who is by way of being a colleague of ours in the side issue of writing mystery thrillers, had a story in last wk's THE SCRIPT anent a fellow by the name of Cooper, anno aetatis suae LX, who was found guilty of bribing a judge by the name of Racket by giving him a red necktie for nothing.
Thus the correct answer would be that the guilty man was sixty years old and his name was Cooper.
SOLUTION TO THE TERRACE DRIVE MURDER
That Darned Mystery Puzzle Terrace Drive Murder Solution Rob Wagner's Script ~ October 15, 1932
So many people are writing and phoning in asking who was guilty in Ed Burroughs' "The Terrace Drive Murder," that we're printing the author's answer:
We meet the following principals and the flowing pertinent facts in the following order: Mr. Atwater, host. Bernice, his daughter. Mr. Elwood. Foley, Atwater's secretary. Charles, Atwater's chauffeur. The Deceased.
Elwood and the victim were guests that arrived about eight P.M. the previous evening.
Charles had never seen either of these guests before.
Foley played tennis with the murderer the previous day. This eliminated Elwood, who did not arrive until after dark.
Elwood was the deceased's nephew. Elwood's mother was an only child; therefore Elwood had no uncle nor aunt on that side. Elwood's father had no brothers; therefore, his mother being an only child, he never had an uncle; therefore, the murdered person, whose nephew he was, must have been his aunt. There were three men and two women involved. The sex of all but Foley has previously been established—Mr. Atwater, his daughter, Mr. Elwood, and 'that man there,' Charles; Foley must be the other woman.
If the murderer and the victim were at one time engaged, the murderer must be a man, which leaves only Mr. Atwater and Charles suspect. But Charles never saw the deceased previous to last night; so Charles could never have been engaged to her.
Therefore, Mr. Atwater is the murderer. Q.E.D.
SOLUTION OF "WHO MURDERED MR. THOMAS?"
Muldoon finds six people in the library:
Her fiance (a guest) These two have the same color hair (Wayne)
Mr. Perry (a guest)
Mr. Wayne (a guest)(Miss Thomas' fiance)
Miss Mills (bobbed black hair)
Miss Terry (in room with two men when Thomas murdered)
Of the six people it has been shown that three were women and the other three men; the three women have been named and the butler stating that "the other two men" were guests.
As Perry stood across the room from Miss Thomas and her fiance, Wayne must be the other guest and therefore Miss Thomas' fiance.
As no two of the men had the same color hair, there must have been one blond, one red, and one black; and the same must be true of the women, as there were two of each color hair in the room.
Miss Terry was in room at time of murder; she did not know where Miss Thomas was at that time. As Miss Mills was with Miss Thomas at the time of the murder, neither of them could have been in the room; so neither could have been the murderess. We therefore place an X before their names.
There were three in the room (beside Thomas) when the murder was committed; two of them had the same color hair, so must have been of different sexes; the killer's hair was of a different color. Miss Terry was there; and as both the other women were out of the room, Miss Terry and two men must have been there. Miss Terry and one of the men must have had the same color hair; therefore the third person must have been the murderer, and was a man.
The killer had the same color hair as either Miss Thomas or Miss Mills.
The butler's hair was either red or blond, because it contrasted strikingly with Miss Mills' black hair; and he must have been one of the two men in the room, in order to know definitely who was in t he room at the exact moment of the murder.
The killer did not have the same color hair as either of the other two men, and as he had the same color hair as one of the guests who was absent from the room it must have been the same color as Miss Mills', which was black, as she was the only woman guest absent from the room; therefore the killer had black hair.
The butler could not have been the killer because his hair contrasted strikingly with Miss Mills', and we X him out.
So either Perry or Wayne must be the killer.
As Miss Mills was the only girl with black hair, Wayne's hair could not have been black, as it was the same color as Miss Thomas's, and so we X Wayne out.
Therefore it was Perry whom Muldoon arrested.