Tales of Chinatown
The Man With The Shaven Skull
A STRANGE DISAPPEARANCE
"Pull that light lower," ordered Inspector Wessex. "There you are, Mr. Harley;
what do you make of it?"
Paul Harley and I bent gingerly over the ghastly exhibit to which the C.I.D. official
had drawn our attention, and to view which we had journeyed from Chancery
Lane to Wapping.
This was the body of a man dressed solely in ragged shirt and trousers. But the
remarkable feature of his appearance lay in the fact that every scrap of hair from
chin, lip, eyebrows and skull had been shaved off!
There was another facial disfigurement, peculiarly and horribly Eastern, which my
pen may not describe.
"Impossible to identify!" murmured Harley. "Yes, you were right, Inspector; this is
a victim of Oriental deviltry. Look here, too!"
He indicated three small wounds, one situated on the left shoulder and the others
on the forearm of the dead man.
"The divisional surgeon cannot account for them," replied Wessex. "They are
quite superficial, and he thinks they may be due to the fact that the body got
entangled with something in the river."
"They are due to the fact that the man had a birthmark on his shoulder and
something--probably a name or some device--tattooed on his arm," said Harley
quietly. "Some few years ago, I met with a similar case in the neighbourhood of
Stambul. A woman," he added, significantly.