The Film Mystery
1. A Camera Crime
Kennedy and I had been hastily summoned from his laboratory in the city by District-
Attorney Mackay, and now stood in the luxurious, ornate library in the country home of
Emery Phelps, the banker, at Tarrytown.
"Camera!--you know the call when the director is ready to shoot a scene of a picture?--
well--at the moment it was given and the first and second camera men began to grind--
she crumpled--sank to the floor--unconscious!"
Hot and excited, Mackay endeavored to reenact his case for us with all the histrionic
ability of a popular prosecutor before a jury.
"There's where she dropped--they carried her over here to this davenport--sent for Doctor
Blake--but he couldn't do a thing for her. She died--just as you see her. Blake thought the
matter so serious, so alarming, that he advised an immediate investigation. That's why I
called you so urgently."
Before us lay the body of the girl, remarkably beautiful even as she lay motionless in
death. Her masses of golden hair, disheveled, added to the soft contours of her features.
Her wonderfully large blue-gray eyes with their rare gift for delicate shades of expression
were closed, but long curling lashes swept her cheeks still and it was hard to believe that
this was anything more than sleep.
It was inconceivable that Stella Lamar, idol of the screen, beloved of millions, could have
been taken from the world which worshiped her.
I felt keenly for the district attorney. He was a portly little man of the sort prone to
emphasize his own importance and so, true to type, he had been upset completely by a
case of genuine magnitude. It was as though visiting royalty had dropped dead within his
I doubt whether the assassination of a McKinley or a Lincoln could have unsettled him as
much, because in such an event he would have had the whole weight of the Federal
government behind him. There was no question but that Stella Lamar enjoyed a country-
wide popularity known by few of our Presidents. Her sudden death was a national
Apparently Mackay had appealed to Kennedy the moment he learned the identity of
Stella, the moment he realized there was any question about the circumstances