The Ear in the Wall
1. The Vanisher
"Hello, Jameson, is Kennedy in?"
I glanced up from the evening papers to encounter the square- jawed, alert face of District
Attorney Carton in the doorway of our apartment.
"How do you do, Judge?" I exclaimed. "No, but I expect him any second now. Won't you
The District Attorney dropped, rather wearily I thought, into a chair and looked at his
I had made Carton's acquaintance some years before as a cub reporter on the Star while
he was a judge of an inferior court. Our acquaintance had grown through several political
campaigns in which I had had assignments that brought me into contact with him. More
recently some special writing had led me across his trail again in telling the story of his
clean-up of graft in the city. At present his weariness was easily accounted for. He was in
the midst of the fight of his life for re-election against the so- called "System," headed by
Boss Dorgan, in which he had gone far in exposing evils that ranged all the way from
vice and the drug traffic to bald election frauds.
"I expect a Mrs. Blackwell here in a few minutes," he remarked, glancing again at his
watch. His eye caught the headline of the news story I had been reading and he added
quickly, "What do the boys on the Star think of that Blackwell case, anyhow?"
It was, I may say, a case deeply shrouded in mystery--the disappearance without warning
of a beautiful young girl, Betty Blackwell, barely eighteen. Her family, the police, and
now the District Attorney had sought to solve it in vain. Some had thought it a kidnaping,
others a suicide, and others had even hinted at murder. All sorts of theories had been
advanced without in the least changing the original dominant note of mystery.
Photographs of the young woman had been published broadcast, I knew, without eliciting
a word in reply. Young men whom she had known and girls with whom she had been
intimate had been questioned without so much as a clue being obtained. Reports that she
had been seen had come in from all over the country, as they always do in such cases. All
had been investigated and had turned out to be based on nothing more than imagination.
The mystery remained unsolved.
"Well," I replied, "of course there's a lot of talk now in the papers about aphasia and
amnesia and all that stuff. But, you know, we reporters are a sceptical lot. We have to be
shown. I can't say we put much faith in THAT."