The Film Mystery
16. Enid Assists
"A poison more subtle than any concocted by man!" repeated Kennedy.
It was a startling declaration and left me quite speechless for the moment.
"We know next to nothing of the composition of the protein bodies in the snake venoms
which have such terrific and quick physiological effects on man," Kennedy went on.
"They have been studied, it is true, and studied a great deal, but we cannot say that there
are any adequate tests by which the presence of these proteins can be recognized.
"However, everything points to the conclusion now that it was snake venom, and my
physiological tests on the guinea pig seem to confirm it. I see no reason now to doubt that
it was snake venom. The fact of the matter is that the snake venoms are about the safest
of poisons for the criminal to use, for the reason of the difficulty they give in any
chemical analysis. That is only another proof of the diabolical cleverness of our guilty
person, whoever it may be.
"Later I'll identify the particular kind of venom used. Just now I feel it is more important
to discover the actual motive for the crime. In the morning I have a plan which may save
me further work here in the laboratory, but for to-night I feel I have earned a rest and"--a
smile--"I shall rest by searching out the motives of these temperamental movie folk a
little more." As he spoke he slipped out of his acid-stained smock.
"What do you mean?" As often, he rather baffled me.
"It's nearly dinner time and we're going out together, Walter, down to Jacques'."
"Because I phoned your friend Belle Balcom and she informed me that that was the place
where we would be apt to find the elite of the film world dining."
I acquiesced, of course. We hurried to the apartment first for a few necessary changes and
preparations, then we started for the Times Square section in a taxi.
"I never heard of the use of snake venom before," I remarked, settling back in the
cushions--"that is, deliberately, by a criminal, to poison anyone."
"There are cases," replied Craig, absently.
"Just how does the venom act?"
"I believe it is generally accepted that there are two agents present in the secretion. One is
a peptone and the other a globulin. One is neurotoxic, the other hemolytic. Not only is the