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30. The Seventh Yew Tree
Detective-Inspector Wessex arrived at about five o'clock; a quiet, resourceful
man, highly competent, and having the appearance of an ex- soldier. His respect
for the attainments of Paul Harley alone marked him a student of character. I
knew Wessex well, and was delighted when Pedro showed him into the library.
"Thank God you are here, Wessex," said Harley, when we had exchanged
greetings. "At last I can move. Have you seen the local officer in charge?"
"No," replied the Inspector, "but I gather that I have been requisitioned over his
"You have," said Harley, grimly, "and over the head of the Chief Constable, too.
But I suppose it is unfair to condemn a man for the shortcoming with which
nature endowed him, therefore we must endeavour to let Inspector Aylesbury
down as lightly as possible. I have an idea that I heard him return a while ago."
He walked out into the hall to make enquiries, and a few moments later I heard
Inspector Aylesbury's voice.
"Ah, there you are, Inspector Aylesbury," said Harley, cheerily. "Will you please
step into the library for a moment?"
The Inspector entered, frowning heavily, followed by my friend.
"There is no earthly reason why we should get at loggerheads over this
business," Harley continued; "but the fact of the matter is, Inspector Aylesbury,
that there are depths in this case to which neither you nor I have yet succeeded
in penetrating. You have a reputation to consider, and so have I. Therefore I am
sure you will welcome the cooperation of Detective-Inspector Wessex of
Scotland Yard, as I do."
"What's this, what's this?" said Aylesbury. "I have made no application to
"Nevertheless, Inspector, it is quite in order," declared Wessex. "I have my
instructions here, and I have reported to Market Hilton already. You see, the man
you have detained is an American citizen."
"What of that?"
"Well, he seems to have communicated with his Embassy." Wessex glanced
significantly at Paul Harley. "And the Embassy communicated with the Home
Office. You mustn't regard my arrival as any reflection on your ability, Inspector
Aylesbury. I am sure we can work together quite agreeably."
"Oh," muttered the other, in evident bewilderment, "I see. Well, if that's the way of
it, I suppose we must make the best of things."
"Good," cried Wessex, heartily. "Now perhaps you would like to state your case
against the detained man?"
"A sound idea, Wessex," said Paul Harley. "But perhaps, Inspector Aylesbury,
before you begin, you would be good enough to speak to the constable on duty
at the entrance to the Tudor garden. I am anxious to take another look at the spot
where the body was found."