THE GOLD OF THE GODS
THE GOLD OF THE GODS
ARTHUR B. REEVE
FRONTISPIECE BY WILL FOSTER
I THE PERUVIAN DAGGER
II THE SOLDIER OF FORTUNE
III THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL DETECTIVE
IV THE TREASURE HUNTERS
V THE WALL STREET PROMOTER
VI THE CURSE OF MANSICHE
VII THE ARROW POISON
VIII THE ANONYMOUS LETTER
IX THE PAPER FIBRES
X THE X-RAY READER
XI THE SHOE-PRINTS
XII THE EVIL EYE
XIII THE POISONED CIGARETTE
XIV THE INTERFEROMETER
XV THE WEED OF MADNESS
XVI THE EAR IN THE WALL
XVII THE VOICE FROM THE AIR
XVIII THE ANTIDOTE
XIX THE BURGLAR POWDER
XX THE PULMOTOR
XXI THE TELESCRIBE
XXII THE VANISHER
XXIII THE ACETYLENE TORCH
XXIV THE POLICE DOG
XXV THE GOLD OF THE GODS
THE PERUVIAN DAGGER
"There's something weird and mysterious about the robbery
Kennedy. They took the very thing I treasure most of all an
ancient Peruvian dagger."
Professor Allan Norton was very much excited as he dropped into
Craig's laboratory early that forenoon.
Norton I may say was one of the younger members of the faculty
like Kennedy. Already however he had made for himself a place as
one of the foremost of South American explorers and
"How they got into the South American section of the Museum
though I don't understand" he hurried on. "But once in that
they should take the most valuable relic I brought back with me on
this last expedition I think certainly shows that it was a
robbery with a deep-laid premeditated purpose."
"Nothing else is gone?" queried Kennedy.
"Nothing" returned the professor. "That's the strangest part of
it--to me. It was a peculiar dagger too" he continued
reminiscently. "I say that it was valuable for on the blade were
engraved some curious Inca characters. I wasn't able to take the
time to decipher them down there for the age of the metal made
them almost illegible. But now that I have all my stuff unpacked
and arranged after my trip I was just about to try--when along
comes a thief and robs me. We can't have the University Museum
broken into that way you know Kennedy."
"I should say not" readily assented Craig. "I'd like to look the
"Just what I wanted" exclaimed Norton heartily delighted and
leading the way.
We walked across the campus with him to the Museum still
chatting. Norton was a tall spare man wiry precisely the type
one would pick to make an explorer in a tropical climate. His
features were sharp suggesting a clear and penetrating mind and a
disposition to make the most of everything no matter how slight.
Indeed that had been his history I knew. He had come to college a
couple of years before Kennedy and myself almost penniless and
had worked his way through by doing everything from waiting on
table to tutoring. To-day he stood forth as a shining example of
self-made intellectual man as cultured as if he had sprung from a
race of scholars as practical as if he had taken to mills rather
We entered a handsome white-marble building in the shape of a
rectangle facing the University Library a building by the way
which Norton had persuaded several wealthy trustees and other
donors to erect. Kennedy at once began examining the section
devoted to Latin America going over everything very carefully.
I looked about too. There were treasures from Mexico and Peru
from every romantic bit of the wonderful countries south of us--
blocks of porphyry with quaint grecques and hieroglyphic painting
from Mitla copper axes and pottery from Cuzco sculptured stones
and mosaics jugs cups vases little gods and great sacrificial
stones a treasure house of Aztec and Inca lore--enough to keep
one occupied for hours merely to look at.
Yet I reflected following Norton in all this mass of material
the thief seemed to have selected one apparently insignificant
dagger the thing which Norton prized because somehow it bore on
its blade something which he had not as yet been able to fathom.
Though Kennedy looked thoroughly and patiently it seemed as
though there was nothing there to tell any story of the robbery
and he turned his attention at last to other parts of the Museum.
As he made his way about slowly I noted that he was looking
particularly into corners behind cabinets around angles. What he
expected to find I could not even guess.
Further along and on the same side of the building we came to the
section devoted to Egyptology. Kennedy paused. Standing there
upright against the wall was a mummy case. To me even now the
thing had a creepy look. Craig pushed aside the stone lid
irreverently and gazed keenly into the uncanny depths of the stone
sarcophagus. An instant later he was down on his hands and knees
carefully examining the interior by means of a pocket lens.
"I think I have made a start" he remarked rising to his feet and
facing us with an air of satisfaction.
We said nothing and he pointed to some almost undiscernible marks
in a thin layer of dust that had collected in the sarcophagus.
"If I'm not mistaken" he went on "your thief got into the Museum
during the daytime and when no one was looking hid here. He
must have stayed until the place was locked up at night. Then he
could rob at his leisure only taking care to confine his
operations to the time between the rather infrequent rounds of the
Kennedy bent down again. "Look" he indicated. "There are the
marks of shoes in the dust shoes with nails in the heels of
course. I shall have to compare the marks that I have found here
with those I have collected following out the method of the
immortal Bertillon. Every make of shoes has its own peculiarities
both in the number and the arrangement of the nails. Offhand
however I should say that these shoes were American-made--though
that of course does not necessarily mean that an American wore
them. I may even be able to determine which of a number of
individual pairs of shoes made the marks. I cannot tell that yet
until I study them. Walter I wish you'd go over to my laboratory.
In the second right-hand drawer of my desk you'll find a package
of paper. I'd like to have it."
"Don't you think you ought to preserve the marks?" I heard Norton
hint as I left. He had been watching Kennedy in open-eyed
amazement and interest.
"Exactly what I am sending Walter to do" he returned. "I have
some specially prepared paper that will take those dust marks up
and give me a perfect replica."
I hurried back as fast as I could and Kennedy bent to the task of
preserving the marks.
"Have you any idea who might have an object in stealing the
dagger?" Kennedy asked when he had finished.
Norton shrugged his shoulders. "I believe some weird superstitions
were connected with it" he replied. "It had a three-sided blade
and as I told you both the blade and the hilt were covered with
There seemed to be nothing more that could be discovered from a
further examination of the Museum. It was plain enough that the
thief must have let himself out of a side door which had a spring
lock on it and closed itself. Not a mark or scratch was to be
found on any of the window or door locks; nothing else seemed to
have been disturbed.
Evidently the thief had been after that one to him priceless
object. Having got it he was content to get away leaving
untouched the other treasures some of which were even
intrinsically valuable for the metal and precious stones in them.
The whole affair seemed so strange to me however that somehow
I could not help wondering whether Norton had told us the whole or
only half the story as he knew it about the dagger and its
Still talking with the archaeologist Kennedy and I returned to
We had scarcely reached the door when we heard the telephone
ringing insistently. I answered and it happened to be a call for
me. It was the editor of the Star endeavouring to catch me before
I started downtown to the office in order to give me an
"That's strange" I exclaimed hanging up the receiver and turning
to Craig. "I've got to go out on a murder case--"
"An interesting case?" asked Craig interrupting his own train of
investigation with a flash of professional interest.
"Why a man has been murdered in his apartment on Central Park
West I believe. Luis de Mendoza is the name and it seems--"
"Don Luis de Mendoza?" repeated Norton with a startled
exclamation. "Why he was an influential Peruvian a man of
affairs in his country and an accomplished scholar. I--I--if you
don't mind I'd like to go over with you. I know the Mendozas."
Kennedy was watching Norton's face keenly. "I think I'll go too
Walter" he decided. "You won't lack assistants on this story
"Perhaps you can be of some assistance to them also" put in
Norton to Kennedy as we left.
It was only a short ride downtown and our cab soon pulled up
before a rather ornate entrance of a large apartment in one of the
most exclusive sections of the city. We jumped out and entered
succeeding in making our way to the sixth floor where Mendoza
lived without interference from the hallboy who had been
completely swamped by the rush that followed the excitement of
finding one of the tenants murdered.
There was no missing the place. The hall had been taken over by
the reporters who had established themselves there terrible as
an army with concealed pads and pencils. From one of the morning
men already there I learned that our old friend Dr. Leslie the
coroner was already in charge.
Somehow whether it was through Kennedy's acquaintance with Dr.
Leslie or Norton's acquaintance with the Mendozas and the Spanish
tongue we found ourselves beyond the barrier of the door which
shut out my rivals.
As we stood for a moment in a handsome and tastefully furnished
living room a young lady passed through hurriedly. She paused in
the middle of the room as she saw us and eyed us tremulously as
though to ask us why we had intruded. It was a rather awkward
Quickly Norton came to the rescue. "I hope you will pardon me
Senorita" he bowed in perfect Spanish "but--"
"Oh Professor Norton it is you!" she cried in English
recognizing him. "I'm so nervous that I didn't see you at first."
She glanced from him to us inquiringly. I recollected that my
editor had mentioned a daughter who might prove to be an
interesting and important figure in the mystery. She spoke in an
overwrought agitated tone. I studied her furtively.
Inez de Mendoza was unmistakably beautiful of the dark Spanish
type with soft brown eyes that appealed to one when she talked
and a figure which at any less tragic moment one might have been
pardoned for admiring. Her soft olive skin masses of dark hair
and lustrous almost voluptuous eyes contrasted wonderfully with
the finely chiselled lines of her nose the firm chin and
graceful throat and neck. Here one recognized a girl of character
and family in the depths of whose soul smouldered all the passion
of a fiery race.
"I hope you will pardon me for intruding" Norton repeated.
"Believe me it is not with mere idle curiosity. Let me introduce
my friend Professor Kennedy the scientific detective of whom
you have heard no doubt. This is his assistant Mr. Jameson of
the Star. I thought perhaps they might stand between you and that
crowd in the hall" he added motioning toward the reporters on
the other side of the door. "You can trust them absolutely. I'm
sure that if there is anything any of us can do to aid you in--in
your trouble you may be sure that we are at your service."
She looked about a moment in the presence of three strangers who
had invaded the quietness of what had been at least temporarily
home. She seemed to be seeking some one on whom to lean as though
some support had suddenly been knocked from under her leaving her
dazed at the change.
"Oh madre de Dios!" she cried. "What shall I do? Oh my father--
my poor father!"
Inez Mendoza was really a pathetic and appealing figure as she
stood there in the room alone.
Quickly she looked us over as if by same sort of occult
intuition of woman she were reading our souls. Then
instinctively almost she turned to Kennedy. Kennedy seemed to
recognize her need. Norton and I retired somewhat more than
"You--you are a detective?" she queried. "You can read mystery--
like a book?"
Kennedy smiled encouragingly. "Hardly as my friend Walter here
often paints me" he returned. "Still now and then we are able
to use the vast knowledge of wise men the world over to help those
in trouble. Tell me--everything" he soothed as though knowing
that to talk would prove a safety-valve for her pent-up emotions.
"Perhaps I can help you."
For a moment she did not know what to do. Then almost before she
knew it apparently she began to talk to him forgetting that we
were in the room.
"Tell me how the thing happened all that you know how you found
it out" prompted Craig.
"Oh it was midnight last night; yes late" she returned wildly.
"I was sleeping when my maid Juanita wakened me and told me that
Mr. Lockwood was in the living room and wanted to see me must see
me. I dressed hurriedly for it came to me that something must be
the matter. I think I must have come out sooner than they
expected for before they knew it I had run across the living room
and looked through the door into the den you call it over
She pointed at a heavy door but did not evidently could not let
her eyes rest on it.
"There was my father huddled in a chair and blood had run out
from an ugly wound in his side. I screamed and fell on my knees
beside him. But" she shuddered "it was too late. He was cold. He
did not answer."
Kennedy said nothing but let her weep into her dainty lace
handkerchief though the impulse was strong to do anything to calm
"Mr. Lockwood had come in to visit him on business had found the
door into the hall open and entered. No one seemed to be about;
but the lights were burning. He went on into the den. There was my
She stopped and could not go on at all for several minutes.
"And Mr. Lockwood who is he?" asked Craig gently.
"My father and I we have been in this country only a short time"
she replied trying to speak in good English in spite of her
emotion "with his partner in a--a mining venture--Mr. Lockwood."
She paused again and hesitated as though in this strange land of
the north she had no idea of which way to turn for help. But once
started now she did not stop again.
"Oh" she went on passionately "I don't know what it was that
came over my father. But lately he had been a changed man.
Sometimes I thought he was--what you call--mad. I should have gone
to see a doctor about him" she added wildly her feelings getting
the better of her. "But it is no longer a case for a doctor. It is
a case for a detective--for some one who is more than a detective.
You cannot bring him back but--"
She could not go on. Yet her broken sentence spoke volumes in her
pleading soft musical voice which was far more pleasing to the
ear than that of the usual Latin-American.
I had heard that the women of Lima were famed for their beauty and
melodious voices. Senorita Inez surely upheld their reputation.
There was an appealing look now in her soft deep-brown eyes and
her thin delicate lips trembled as she hurried on with her
"I never saw my father in such a state before" she murmured. "For
days all he had talked about was the 'big fish' the peje grande
whatever that might mean--and the curse of Mansiche."
The recollection of the past few days seemed to be too much for
her. Almost before we knew it before Norton who had started to
ask her a question could speak she excused herself and fled from
the room leaving only the indelible impression of loveliness and
the appeal for help that was irresistible.
Kennedy turned to Norton. But just then the door to the den opened
and we saw our friend Dr. Leslie. He saw us too and took a few
steps in our direction.
"What--you here Kennedy?" he greeted in surprise as Craig shook
hands and introduced Norton. "And Jameson too? Well I think
you've found a case at last that will baffle you."
As we talked he led the way across the living room and into the
den from which he had just come.
"It is very strange" he said telling at once all that he had
been able to discover. "Senor Mendoza was discovered here about
midnight last night by his partner Mr. Lockwood. There seem to be
no clues to how or by whom he was murdered. No locks had been
broken. I have examined the hall-boy who was here last night. He
seems to be off his post a good deal when it is late. He saw Mr.
Lockwood come in and took him in the elevator up to the sixth
floor. After that we can find nothing but the open door into the
apartment. It is not at all impossible that some one might have
come in when the boy was off his post have walked up even have
walked down the stairs again. In fact it must have been that
way. No windows not even on the fire-escape have been tampered
with. In fact the murder must have been done by some one admitted
to the apartment late by Mendoza himself."
We walked over to the couch on which lay the body covered by a
sheet. Dr. Leslie drew down the sheet.
On the face was a most awful look a terrible stare and contortion
of the features and a deep almost purple discoloration. The
muscles were all tense and rigid. I shall never forget that face
and its look half of pain half of fear as if of something
Mendoza had been a heavy-set man whose piercing black eyes
beetled forth in life from under bushy brows. Even in death
barring that horrible look he was rather distinguished-looking
and his close-cropped hair and moustache set him off as a man of
affairs and consequence in his own country.
"Most peculiar Kennedy" reiterated Dr. Leslie pointing to the
breast. "You see that wound? I can't quite determine whether that