Murder in the Gunroom
The dining-room was empty, when Rand came down to breakfast the next morning.
Taking the seat he had occupied the evening before, he waited until Ritter came out of the
kitchen through the pantry.
"Good morning, Colonel Rand," the Perfect Butler greeted him unctuously. "If I may say
so, sir, you're a bit of an early riser. None of the family is up yet, sir."
Rand jerked a thumb toward the kitchen. "Who's out there?" he hissed.
"Just the cook; frying sausage and flipping pancakes. Premix pancakes, of course. The
maid sleeps out; she hasn't gotten here yet. How'd it go last night? You put a dummy
under the covers and sleep on the floor?"
"No, last night I was safe. The blow-off isn't due till this morning, when the women are at
church, and he'll have to catch me and the fall-guy together."
"What do you want me to do?" Ritter asked, giving an un-butler-like hitch at his
shoulder-holster. "I can stand on my official dignity, and get out of any cleaning-up work
till after dinner, and I won't have any buttling to do till the women get home from
"Case Varcek and Dunmore, when they come in; see if either of them is rod-heavy. Find
anything, last night?"
Ritter shook his head. "I searched Varcek's lab, after everybody was in bed, and I
searched the cars in the garage, and a lot of other places. I didn't find them. Whoever he
is, the chances are he has them in his room."
"Did you look back of the books in the library?" Rand asked. When Ritter shook his
head, he continued: "That's probably where they are. Not that it makes a whole lot of
"If I'd found them, it'd of given me something to watch; then I'd know when the fun was
going to start." Ritter broke off suddenly. "Yes, sir. Will you have your coffee now, or
Gladys entered, wearing the blue tailored outfit she had worn to Rand's office, on
"At ease, at ease," she laughed, dropping into her chair. "Anything new?"
Rand shook his head. "We'll have to wait. I'm expecting some action this morning; I hope
it'll be over before you're home from church."