ARTHUR B. REEVE
I. The Stolen Motor
II. The Murder Car
III. The Mystery of the Thicket
IV. The Liquid Bullet
V. The Blackmailer
VI. The Gambling Den
VII. The Motor Bandit
VIII. The Explanation
IX. The Raid
X. The Gambling Debt
XI. The Gangster's Garage
XII. The Detectaphone
XIII. The Incendiary
XIV. The Escape
XV. The Plot
XVI. The Poisoned Needle
XVII. The Newspaper Fake
XVIII. The Vocaphone
XIX. The Eavesdropper Again
XX. The Speaking Arc
XXI. The Siege of the Bandits
XXII. The Man Hunt
XXIII. The Police Dog
XXIV. The Frame-Up
XXV. The Scientific Gunman
An Adventure in the New Crime Science
THE STOLEN MOTOR
"You are aware I suppose Marshall that there have been
considerably over a million dollars' worth of automobiles stolen
in this city during the past few months?" asked Guy Garrick one
night when I had dropped into his office.
"I wasn't aware of the exact extent of the thefts though of
course I knew of their existence" I replied. "What's the matter?"
"If you can wait a few moments" he went on "I think I can
promise you a most interesting case--the first big case I've had
to test my new knowledge of crime science since I returned from
abroad. Have you time for it?"
"Time for it?" I echoed. "Garrick I'd make time for it if
We sat for several moments in silence waiting.
I picked up an evening paper. I had already read it but I looked
through it again to kill time even reading the society notes.
"By Jove Garrick" I exclaimed as my eye travelled over the page
"newspaper pictures don't usually flatter people but just look at
those eyes! You can fairly see them dance even in the halftone."
The picture which had attracted my attention was of Miss Violet
Winslow an heiress to a moderate fortune a debutante well known
in New York and at Tuxedo that season.
As Garrick looked over my shoulder his mere tone set me wondering.
"She IS stunning" he agreed simply. "Half the younger set are
crazy over her."
The buzzer on his door recalled us to the case in hand.
One of our visitors was a sandy-haired red-mustached stocky man
with everything but the name detective written on him from his
face to his mannerisms.
He was accompanied by an athletically inclined fresh-faced young
fellow whose clothes proclaimed him to be practically the last
word in imported goods from London.
I was not surprised at reading the name of James McBirney on the
detective's card underneath which was the title of the Automobile
Underwriters' Association. But I was more than surprised when the
younger of the visitors handed us a card with the simple name
For Mortimer Warrington I may say was at that time one of the
celebrities of the city at least as far as the newspapers were
concerned. He was one of the richest young men in the country and
good for a "story" almost every day.
Warrington was not exactly a wild youth in spite of the fact that
his name appeared so frequently in the headlines. As a matter of
fact the worst that could be said of him with any degree of truth
was that he was gifted with a large inheritance of good red
restless blood as well as considerable holdings of real estate in
various active sections of the metropolis.
More than that it was scarcely his fault if the society columns
had been busy in a concerted effort to marry him off--no doubt
with a cynical eye on possible black-type headlines of future
domestic discord. Among those mentioned by the enterprising
society reporters of the papers had been the same Miss Violet
Winslow whose picture I had admired. Evidently Garrick had
recognized the coincidence.
Miss Winslow by the way was rather closely guarded by a duenna-
like aunt Mrs. Beekman de Lancey who at that time had achieved a
certain amount of notoriety by a crusade which she had organized
against gambling in society. She had reached that age when some
women naturally turn toward righting the wrongs of humanity and
in this instance as in many others humanity did not exactly
"How are you McBirney?" greeted Garrick as he met his old
friend then turning to young Warrington added: "Have you had a
"Have I?" chimed in the youth eagerly and with just a trace of
nervousness. "Worse than that. I can stand losing a big nine-
thousand-dollar Mercedes but--but--you tell it McBirney. You
have the facts at your tongue's end."
Garrick looked questioningly at the detective.
"I'm very much afraid" responded McBirney slowly "that this
theft about caps the climax of motor-car stealing in this city. Of
course you realize that the automobile as a means of committing
crime and of escape has rendered detection much more difficult to-
day than it ever was before." He paused. "There's been a murder
done in or with or by that car of Mr. Warrington's or I'm ready
to resign from the profession!"
McBirney had risen in the excitement of his revelation and had
handed Garrick what looked like a discharged shell of a cartridge.
Garrick took it without a word and turned it over and over
critically examining every side of it and waiting for McBirney
to resume. McBirney however said nothing.
"Where did you find the car?" asked Garrick at length still
examining the cartridge. "We haven't found it" replied the
detective with a discouraged sigh.
"Haven't found it?" repeated Garrick. "Then how did you get this
cartridge--or at least why do you connect it with the
disappearance of the car?"
"Well" explained McBirney getting down to the story "you
understand Mr. Warrington's car was insured against theft in a
company which is a member of our association. When it was stolen
we immediately put in motion the usual machinery for tracing
"How about the police?" I queried.
McBirney looked at me a moment--I thought pityingly. "With all
deference to the police" he answered indulgently "it is the
insurance companies and not the police who get cars back--usually.
I suppose it's natural. The man who loses a car notifies us first
and as we are likely to lose money by it we don't waste any time
getting after the thief."
"You have some clew then?" persisted Garrick.
"Late this afternoon word came to me that a man all alone in a
car which in some respects tallied with the description of
Warrington's although of course the license number and color
had been altered had stopped early this morning at a little
garage over in the northern part of New Jersey."
Warrington excited leaned forward and interrupted.
"And Garrick" he exclaimed horrified "the car was all stained
THE MURDER CAR
Garrick looked from one to the other of his visitors intently.
Here was an entirely unexpected development in the case which
stamped it as set apart from the ordinary.
"How did the driver manage to explain it and get away?" he asked
McBirney shook his head in evident disgust at the affair.
"He must be a clever one" he pursued thoughtfully. "When he came
into the garage they say he was in a rather jovial mood. He said
that he had run into a cow a few miles back on the road and then
began to cuss the farmer who had stung him a hundred dollars for
"And they believed it?" prompted Garrick.
"Yes the garage keeper's assistant swallowed the story and
cleaned the car. There was some blood on the radiator and hood
but the strange part was that it was spattered even over the rear
seat--in fact was mostly in the rear."
"How did he explain that?"
"Said that he guessed the farmer who stung him wouldn't get much
for the carcass for it had been pretty well cut up and a part of
it flung right back into the tonneau."
"And the man believed that too?"
"Yes; but afterward the garage keeper himself was told. He met the
farmer in town later and the farmer denied that he had lost a
cow. That set the garage keeper thinking. And then while they
were cleaning up the garage later in the day they found that
cartridge where the car had been washed down and swept out. We had
already advertised a reward for information about the stolen car
and when he heard of the reward for there are plenty of people
about looking for money in that way he telephoned in thinking
the story might interest us. It did for I am convinced that his
description of the machine tallies closely with that of Mr.
"How about the man who drove it?" cut in Garrick.
"That's the unfortunate part of it" replied McBirney chagrined.
"These amateur detectives about the country rarely seem to have
any foresight. Of course they could describe how the fellow was
dressed even the make of goggles he wore. But when it came to
telling one feature of his face accurately they took refuge
behind the fact that he kept his cap pulled down over his eyes
and talked like a 'city fellow.'"
"All of which is highly important" agreed Garrick. "I suppose
they'd consider a fingerprint or the portrait parle the height of
idiocy beside that."
"Disgusting" ejaculated McBirney who whatever his own
limitations might be had a wholesome respect for Garrick's new
"Where did you leave the car?" asked Garrick of Warrington. "How
did you lose it?"
The young man seemed to hesitate.
"I suppose" he said at length with a sort of resigned smile
"I'll have to make a clean breast of it."
"You can hardly expect us to do much otherwise" encouraged
Garrick dryly. "Besides you can depend on us to keep anything you
"Why" he began "the fact is that I had started out for a mild
little sort of celebration apropos of nothing at all in
particular beginning with dinner at the Mephistopheles
Restaurant with a friend of mine. You know the place perhaps--
just on the edge of the automobile district and the white lights."
"Yes" encouraged Garrick "near what ought to be named 'Crime
Square.' Whom were you with?"
"Well Angus Forbes and I were going to dine together and then
later we were to meet several fellows who used to belong to the
same upperclass club with us at Princeton. We were going to do a
little slumming. No ladies you understand" he added hastily.
"It may not have been pure sociology" pursued Warrington good-
humouredly noticing the smile "but it wasn't as bad as some of
the newspapers might make it out if they got hold of it anyhow. I
may as well admit I suppose that Angus has been going the pace
pretty lively since we graduated. I don't object to a little flyer
now and then myself but I guess I'm not up to his class yet. But
that doesn't make any difference. The slumming party never came
"How?" prompted Garrick again.
"Angus and I had a very good dinner at the Mephistopheles--they
have a great cabaret there--and by and by the fellows began to
drop in to join us. When I went out to look for the car which I
was going to drive myself it was gone."
"Where did you leave it?" asked McBirney as if bringing out the
"In the parking space half a block below the restaurant. A
chauffeur standing near the curb told me that a man in a cap and
"Another amateur detective" cut in McBirney parenthetically.
"--had come out of the restaurant or seemed to do so had spun
the engine climbed in and rode off--just like that!"
"What did you do then?" asked Garrick. "Did you fellows go
"Oh Forbes wanted to play the wheel and went around to a place
on Forty-eighth Street. I was all upset about the loss of the car
got in touch with the insurance company who turned me over to
McBirney here and the rest of the fellows went down to the Club."
"There was no trace of the car in the city?" asked Garrick of the
"I was coming to that" replied McBirney. "There was at least a
rumour. You see I happen to know several of the police on fixed
posts up there and one of them has told me that he noticed a car
which might or might not have been Mr. Warrington's pull up
about the time his car must have disappeared at a place in Forty-
seventh Street which is reputed to be a sort of poolroom for
Garrick raised his eyebrows the fraction of an inch.
"At any rate" pursued McBirney "someone must have been having a
wild time there for they carried a girl out to the car. She
seemed to be pretty far gone and even the air didn't revive her--
that is assuming that she had been celebrating not wisely but too
well. Of course the whole thing is pure speculation yet as far
as Warrington's car is concerned. Maybe it wasn't his car after
all. But I am repeating it only for what it may be worth."
"Do you know the place?" asked Garrick watching Warrington
"I've heard of it" he admitted I thought a little evasively.
Then it flashed over me that Mrs. de Lancey was leading the
crusade against society gambling and that that perhaps accounted
for Warrington's fears and evident desire for concealment.
"I know that some of the faster ones in the smart set go there
once in a while for a little poker bridge and even to play the
races" went on Warrington carefully. "I've never been there
myself but I wouldn't be surprised if Angus could tell you all
about it. He goes in for all that sort of thing."
"After all" interrupted McBirney "that's only rumour. Here's the
point of the whole thing. For a long time my Association has been
thinking that merely in working for the recovery of the cars we
have been making a mistake. It hasn't put a stop to the stealing
and the stealing has gone quite far enough. We have got to do
something about it. It struck me that here was a case on which to
begin and that you Garrick are the one to begin it for us while
I carry on the regular work I am doing. The gang is growing bolder
and more clever every day. And then here's a murder too in all
likelihood. If we don't round them up there is no limit to what
they may do in terrorizing the city."
"How does this gang as you call it operate?" asked Garrick.
"Most of the cars that are stolen" explained McBirney "are taken
from the automobile district which embraces also not a small
portion of the new Tenderloin and the theatre district. Actually
Garrick more than nine out of ten cars have disappeared between
Forty-second and Seventy-second Streets."
Garrick was listening without comment.
"Some of the thefts like this one of Warrington's car" continued
McBirney warming up to the subject "have been so bold that you
would be astonished. And it is those stolen cars I believe that
are used in the wave of taxicab and motor car robberies hold-ups
and other crimes that is sweeping over the city. The cars are
taken to some obscure garage without doubt and their identity is
destroyed by men who are expert in the practice."
"And you have no confidence in the police?" I inquired cautiously
mindful of his former manner.
"We have frequently had occasion to call on the police for
assistance" he answered "but somehow or other it has seldom
worked. They don't seem to be able to help us much. If anything is
done we must do it. If you will take the case Garrick I can
promise you that the Association will pay you well for it."
"I will add whatever is necessary too" put in Warrington
eagerly. "I can stand the loss of the car--in fact I don't care
whether I ever get it back. I have others. But I can't stand the
thought that my car is going about the country as the property of
a gunman perhaps--an engine of murder and destruction."
Garrick had been thoughtfully balancing the exploded shell between
his fingers during most of the interview. As Warrington concluded
he looked up.
"I'll take the case" he said simply. "I think you'll find that
there is more to it than even you suspect. Before we get through
I shall get a conviction on that empty shell too. If there is a
gunman back of it all he is no ordinary fellow but a scientific
gunman far ahead of anything of which you dream. No don't thank
me for taking the case. My thanks are to you for putting it in my
THE MYSTERY OF THE THICKET
"You know my ideas on modern detective work" Garrick remarked to
me reflectively when they had gone.