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24. An Official Move
We reentered the study to find Mrs. Camber sitting in a chair very close to her
husband. Inspector Aylesbury stood in the open doorway for a moment, and
then, stepping back into the hall:
"Sergeant Butler," he said, addressing the man who waited there.
"Go out to the gate and get Edson to relieve you. I shall want you to go back to
headquarters in a few minutes."
"Very good, sir."
I scented what was coming, and as Inspector Aylesbury reentered the room:
"I should like to make a statement," announced Paul Harley, quietly.
The Inspector frowned, and lowering his chin, regarded him with little favour.
"I have not invited any statement from you, Mr. Harley," said he.
"Quite," returned Harley. "I am volunteering it. It is this: I gather that you are
about to take an important step officially. Having in view certain steps which I,
also, am about to take, I would ask you to defer action, purely in your own
interests, for at least twenty-four hours."
"I hear you." said the Inspector, sarcastically.
"Very well, Inspector. You have come newly into this case, and I assure you that
its apparent simplicity is illusive. As new facts come into your possession you will
realize that what I say is perfectly true, and if you act now you will be acting
hastily. All that I have learned I am prepared to place at your disposal. But I
predict that the interference of Scotland Yard will be necessary before this
enquiry is concluded. Therefore I suggest, since you have rejected my
cooperation, that you obtain that of Detective Inspector Wessex, of the Criminal
Investigation Department. In short, this is no one-man job. You will do yourself
harm by jumping to conclusions, and cause unnecessary trouble to perfectly
"Is your statement concluded?" asked the Inspector.
"For the moment I have nothing to add."
"Oh, I see. Very good. Then we can now get to business. Always with your
permission, Mr. Harley."
He took his stand before the fireplace, very erect, and invested with his most
official manner. Mrs. Camber watched him in a way that was pathetic. Camber
seemed to be quite composed, although his face was unusually pale.
"Now, Mr. Camber," said the Inspector, "I find your answers to the questions
which I have put to you very unsatisfactory."
"I am sorry," said Colin Camber, quietly.
"One moment, Inspector," interrupted Paul Harley, "you have not warned Mr.
Thereupon the long-repressed wrath of Inspector Aylesbury burst forth.
"Then I will warn you, sir!" he shouted. "One more word and you leave this