The Silent Bullet
7. The Azure Ring
Files of newspapers and innumerable clippings from the press bureaus littered Kennedy's
desk in rank profusion. Kennedy himself was so deeply absorbed that I had merely said
good evening as I came in and had started to open my mail. With an impatient sweep of
his hand, however, he brushed the whole mass of newspapers into the waste-basket.
"It seems to me, Walter," he exclaimed in disgust, "that this mystery is considered
insoluble for the very reason which should make it easy to solve--the extraordinary
character of its features."
Inasmuch as he had opened the subject, I laid down the letter I was reading. "I'll wager I
can tell you just why you made that remark, Craig," I ventured. "You're reading up on
that Wainwright-Templeton affair."
"You are on the road to becoming a detective yourself, Walter," he answered with a touch
of sarcasm. "Your ability to add two units to two other units and obtain four units is
almost worthy of Inspector O'Connor. You are right and within a quarter of an hour the
district attorney of Westchester County will be here. He telephoned me this afternoon and
sent an assistant with this mass of dope. I suppose he'll want it back," he added, fishing
the newspapers out of the basket again. "But, with all due respect to your profession, I'll
say that no one would ever get on speaking terms with the solution of this case if he had
to depend solely on the newspaper writers."
"No?" I queried, rather nettled at his tone.
"No," he repeated emphatically. "Here one of the most popular girls in the fashionable
suburb of Williston, and one of the leading younger members of the bar in New York,
engaged to be married, are found dead in the library of the girl's home the day before the
ceremony. And now, a week later, no one knows whether it was an accident due to the
fumes from the antique charcoal-brazier, or whether it was a double suicide, or suicide
and murder, or a double murder, or--or--why, the experts haven't even been able to agree
on whether they have discovered poison or not," he continued, growing as excited as the
city editor did over my first attempt as a cub reporter.
"They haven't agreed on anything except that on the eve of what was, presumably, to
have been the happiest day of their lives two of the best known members of the younger
set are found dead, while absolutely no one, as far as is known, can be proved to have
been near them within the time necessary to murder them. No wonder the coroner says it
is simply a case of asphyxiation. No wonder the district attorney is at his wits' end. You
fellows have hounded them with your hypotheses until they can't see the facts straight.
You suggest one solution and before-"
The door-bell sounded insistently, and without waiting for an answer a tall, spare, loose-
jointed individual stalked in and laid a green bag on the table.