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The Film Mystery

9. White-Light Shadows
"What do you think of it?" I asked Kennedy, when we were half through our meal at a
tiny restaurant on upper Broadway.
"We're still fumbling in the dark," he replied.
"There's the towel--"
"Yes, and almost any one on Mackay's list of nine suspects could have placed it in that
washroom."
"Well--" I was determined to draw him out. My own impressions, I must confess, were
gloriously muddled. "Manton heads the list," I suggested. "Everyone says she was mixed
up with him."
"Manton may have philandered with her; undoubtedly he takes a personal interest in all
his stars." Kennedy, I saw, remembered the promoter's close attentions to Enid Faye.
"Nevertheless, Walter, he is first and foremost and all the time the man of business. His
heart is in his dollars and Millard even suggests that he is none too scrupulous."
"If he had an affair with Stella," I rejoined, "and she became up-stage--the note you found
suggested trouble, you know--then Manton in a burst of passion--"
"No!" Kennedy stopped me. "Don't forget that this was a cold- blooded, calculated crime.
I'm not eliminating Manton yet, but until we find some tangible evidence of trouble
between Stella and himself we can hardly assume he would kill the girl who's made him
perhaps a million dollars. Every motive in Manton's case is a motive against the crime."
"That eliminates Phelps, then, too. He nearly owned the company."
"Yes, unless something happened to outweigh financial considerations in his mind also."
"But, good heavens! Kennedy," I protested. "If you go on that way you'll not eliminate
anyone."
"I can't yet," he explained, patiently. "It's just as I said. We're fishing in the dark,
absolutely. So far we haven't a single basic fact on which to build any structure of
hypothesis. We must go on fishing. I expect you to dig up all the facts about these people;
every odd bit of gossip or rumor or anything else. I'll bring my science to play, but there's
nothing I can do except analyze Stella's stomach contents and the spots on the towel; that
is, until we've got a much more tangible lead than any which have developed so far."
"Is there anything I can do to-night?"
 
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