THE GOLF COURSE MYSTERY
THE GOLF COURSE MYSTERY
CHESTER K. STEELE
I PUTTING OUT
II THE NINETEENTH HOLE
IV VIOLA'S DECISION
V HARRY'S MISSION
VI By A QUIET STREAM
VII THE INQUEST
VIII ON SUSPICION
IX 58 C. H - 161*
X A WATER HAZARD
XI POISONOUS PLANTS
XII BLOSSOM'S SUSPICIONS
XIII CAPTAIN POLAND CONFESSES
XIV THE PRIVATE SAFE
XV POOR FISHING
XVI SOME LETTERS
XVII OVER THE TELEPHONE
XVIII A LARGE BLONDE LADY
XX A MEETING
XXI THE LIBRARY POSTA
XXII THE LARGE BLONDE AGAIN
XXIII MOROCCO KATE ALLY
XXIV STILL WATERS
There was nothing in that clear calm day with its blue sky and its
flooding sunshine to suggest in the slightest degree the awful tragedy
so close at hand - that tragedy which so puzzled the authorities and
which came so close to wrecking the happiness of several innocent
The waters of the inlet sparkled like silver and over those waters
poised the osprey his rapidly moving wings and fan-spread tail
suspending him almost stationary in one spot while with eager and
far-seeing eyes he peered into the depths below. The bird was a dark
blotch against the perfect blue sky for several seconds and then
suddenly folding his pinions and closing his tail he darted downward
like a bomb dropped from an aeroplane.
There was a splash in the water a shower of sparkling drops as the
osprey arose a fish vainly struggling in its talons and from a dusty
gray roadster which had halted along the highway while the occupant
watched the hawk there came an exclamation of satisfaction.
"Did you see that Harry?" called the occupant of the gray car to a
slightly built bronzed companion in a machine of vivid yellow
christened by some who had ridden in it the "Spanish Omelet." "Did
you see that kill? As clean as a hound's tooth and not a lost motion of
a feather. Some sport-that fish-hawk! Gad!"
"Yes it was a neat bit of work Gerry. But rather out of keeping with the
"Out of keeping? What do you mean?"
"Well out of tune if you like that better. It's altogether too
perfect a day for a killing of any sort seems to me."
"Oh you're getting sentimental all at once aren't you Harry?"
asked Captain Gerry Poland with just the trace of a covert sneer in
his voice. "I suppose you wouldn't have even a fish-hawk get a much
needed meal on a bright sunshiny day when if ever he must have
a whale of an appetite. You'd have him wait until it was dark and
gloomy and rainy with a north-east wind blowing and all that sort
of thing. Now for me a kill is a kill no matter what the weather."
"The better the day the worse the deed I suppose" and Harry Bartlett
smiled as he leaned forward preparatory to throwing the switch of his
machine's self-starter for both automobiles had come to a stop to
watch the osprey.
"Oh well I don't know that the day has anything to do with it" said
the captain - a courtesy title bestowed because he was president of
the Maraposa Yacht Club. "I was just interested in the clean way the
beggar dived after that fish. Flounder wasn't it?"
"Yes though usually the birds are glad enough to get a moss-bunker.
Well the fish will soon be a dead one I suppose."
"Yes food for the little ospreys I imagine. Well it's a good death
to die - serving some useful purpose even if it's only to be eaten.
Gad! I didn't expect to get on such a gruesome subject when we started
out. By the way speaking of killings I expect to make a neat one
to-day on this cup-winners' match."
"How? I didn't know there was much betting."
"Oh but there is; and I've picked up some tidy odds against our friend
Carwell. I'm taking his end and I think he's going to win."
"Better be careful Gerry. Golf is an uncertain game especially when
there's a match on among the old boys like Horace Carwell and the crowd
of past-performers and cup-winners he trails along with. He's just as
likely to pull or slice as the veriest novice and once he starts to
slide he's a goner. No reserve comeback you know."
"Oh I've not so sure about that. He'll be all right if he'll let the
champagne alone before he starts to play. I'm banking on him. At the
same time I haven't bet all my money. I've a ten spot left that says
I can beat you to the clubhouse even if one of my cylinders has been
missing the last two miles. How about it?"
"You're on !" said Harry Bartlett shortly.
There was a throb from each machine as the electric motors started the
engines and then they shot down the wide road in clouds of dust - the
sinister gray car and the more showy yellow - while above them driving
its talons deeper into the sides of the fish it had caught the osprey
circled off toward its nest of rough sticks in a dead pine tree on the
edge of the forest.
And on the white of the flounder appeared bright red spots of blood
some of which dripped to the ground as the cruel talons closed until
they met inside.
It was only a little tragedy such as went on every day in the inlet
and adjacent ocean and yet somehow Harry Bartlett as he drove on
with ever-increasing speed in an endeavor to gain a length on his
opponent could not help thinking of it in contrast to the perfect blue
of the sky in which there was not a cloud. Was it prophetic?
Ruddy-faced men bronze-faced men pale-faced men; young women girls
matrons and "flappers"; caddies burdened with bags of golf clubs and
pockets bulging with cunningly found balls; skillful waiters hurrying
here and there with trays on which glasses of various shapes sizes
and of diversified contents tinkled musically-such was the scene at
the Maraposa Club on this June morning when Captain Gerry Poland and
Harry Bartlett were racing their cars toward it.
It was the chief day of the year for the Maraposa Golf Club for on it
were to be played several matches not the least in importance being
that of the cup-winners open only to such members as had won prizes
in hotly contested contests on the home links.
In spite of the fact that on this day there were to be played several
matches in which visiting and local champions were to try their skill
against one another to the delight of a large gallery interest
centered in the cup-winners' battle. For it was rumored and not
without semblance of truth that large sums of money would change
hands on the result.
Not that it was gambling-oh my no! In fact any laying of wagers was
strictly prohibited by the club's constitution. But there are ways
and means of getting cattle through a fence without taking down the
bars and there was talk that Horace Carwell had made a pretty stiff
bet with Major Turpin Wardell as to the outcome of the match the
major and Mr. Carwell being rivals of long standing in the matter of
drives and putts.
"Beastly fine day eh what?" exclaimed Bruce Garrigan as he set down
on a tray a waiter held out to him a glass he had just emptied with
every indication of delight in its contents. "If it had been made to
order couldn't be improved on" and he flicked from the lapel of Tom
Sharwell's coat some ashes which had blown there from the cigarette
which Garrigan had lighted.
"You're right for once Bruce old man" was the laughing response.
"Never mind the ashes now you'll make a spot if you rub any harder."
"Right for once? 'm always right!" cried Garrigan "And it may interest
you to know that the total precipitation including rain and melted
snow in Yuma Arizona for the calendar year 1917 was three and one
tenth inches being the smallest in the United States."
"It doesn't interest me a bit Bruce !" laughed Sharwell. "And to
prevent you getting any more of those statistics out of your system
come on over and we'll do a little precipitating on our own account.
I can stand another Bronx cocktail."
"I'm with you! But speaking of statistics did you know that from
the national forests of the United States in the last year there was
cut 840612030 board feet of lumber? What the thirty feet were for
I don't know but - "
"And I don't care to know" interrupted Tom. "If you spring any more
of those beastly dry figures - Say there comes something that does
interest me though!" he broke in with. "Look at those cars take
that turn !"
"Some speed" murmured Garrigan. "It's Bartlett and Poland" he went
on as a shift of wind blew the dust to one side and revealed the gray
roadster and the Spanish Omelet. "The rivals are at it again."
Bruce Garrigan who had a name among the golf club members as a human
encyclopaedia and who at times would inform his companions on almost
any subject that chanced to come uppermost tossed away his cigarette
and with Tom Sharwell watched the oncoming automobile racers.
"They're rivals in more ways than one" remarked Sharwell. "And it
looks now as though the captain rather had the edge on Harry in
spite of the fast color of Harry's car."
"That's right" admitted Garrigan. "Is it true what I've heard about
both of them-that each hopes to place the diamond hoop of proprietorship
on the fair Viola?"
"I guess if you've heard that they're both trying for her it's true
enough" answered Sharwell. "And it also happens if that old lady
Mrs. G. 0. 5. Sipp is to be believed that there also the captain
has the advantage."
"How's that? I thought Harry had made a tidy sum on that ship-building
project he put through."
"He did but it seems that he and his family have a penchant for doing
that sort of thing and some years ago in one of the big mergers in
which his family took a prominent part they or some one connected
with them pinched the Honorable Horace Carwell so that he squealed for
mercy like a lamb led to the Wall street slaughter house."
"So that's the game is it?"
"Yes. And ever since then though Viola Carwell has been just as nice
to Harry as she has to Gerry - as far as any one can tell-there has
been talk that Harry is persona non grata as far as her father goes.