The Return of Dr. Fu Manchu
Weymouth, turning his blue, twinkling eyes in my direction. "Two
people have died at the Gables within the last six months."
"You begin to interest me," declared Smith, and there came
something of the old, eager look into his gaunt face, as, having
lighted his pipe, he tossed the match-end into the hearth.
"I had hoped for some little excitement, myself," confessed the
inspector. "This dead-end, with not a ghost of a clue to the
whereabouts of the yellow fiend, has been getting on my nerves—"
Nayland Smith grunted sympathetically.
"Although Dr. Fu-Manchu has been in England for some
months, now," continued Weymouth, "I have never set eyes upon
him; the house we raided in Museum Street proved to be empty; in
a word, I am wasting my time. So that I volunteered to run up to
Hampstead and look into the matter of the Gables, principally as a
distraction. It's a queer business, but more in the Psychical
Research Society's line than mine, I'm afraid. Still, if there were no
Dr. Fu-Manchu it might be of interest to you—and to you, Dr.
Petrie, because it illustrates the fact, that, given the right sort of
subject, death can be brought about without any elaborate
mechanism—such as our Chinese friends employ."
"You interest me more and more," declared Smith, stretching
himself in the long, white cane rest-chair.
"Two men, both fairly sound, except that the first one had an
asthmatic heart, have died at the Gables without any one laying a
little finger upon them. Oh! there was no jugglery! They weren't
poisoned, or bitten by venomous insects, or suffocated, or anything
like that. They just died of fear—stark fear."
With my elbows resting upon the table cover, and my chin in my
hands, I was listening attentively, now, and Nayland Smith, a big
cushion behind his head, was watching the speaker with a keen and
speculative look in those steely eyes of his.
"You imply that Dr. Fu-Manchu has something to learn from the
Gables?" he jerked.