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27. Crown Evidence
The appearance of the violet-enamelled motor brougham upholstered in cream,
and driven by a chauffeur in a violet and cream livery, created some slight
sensation in Spenser Road, S.E. Mollie Gretna's conspicuous car was familiar
enough to residents in the West End of London, but to lower middle-class suburbia
it came as something of a shock. More than one window curtain moved
suspiciously, suggesting a hidden but watchful presence, when the glittering
vehicle stopped before the gate of number 67; and the lady at number 68 seized
an evidently rare opportunity to come out and polish her letter-box.
She was rewarded by an unobstructed view of the smartest woman in London
(thus spake society paragraphers) and of the most expensive set of furs in Europe,
also of a perfectly gowned slim figure. Of Mollie's disdainful face, with its slightly
uptilted nose, she had no more than a glimpse.
A neat maid, evidently Scotch, admitted the dazzling visitor to number 67; and
Spenser Road waited and wondered. It was something to do with the Bond Street
murder! Small girls appeared from doorways suddenly opened and darted off to
advise less-watchful neighbors.
Kerry, who had been at work until close upon dawn in the mysterious underworld
of Soho was sleeping, but Mrs. Kerry received Mollie in a formal little drawing-
room, which, unlike the cosy, homely dining- room, possessed that frigid
atmosphere which belongs to uninhabited apartments. In a rather handsome
cabinet were a number of trophies associated with the detective's successful
cases. The cabinet itself was a present from a Regent Street firm for whom Kerry
had recovered valuable property.
Mary Kerry, dressed in a plain blouse and skirt, exhibited no trace of nervousness
in the presence of her aristocratic and fashionable caller. Indeed, Mollie afterwards
declared that "she was quite a ladylike person. But rather tin tabernacley, my
"Did ye wish to see Chief Inspector Kerry parteecularly?" asked Mary, watching her
visitor with calm, observant eyes.
"Oh, most particularly!" cried Mollie, in a flutter of excitement. "Of course I don't
know what you must think of me for calling at such a preposterous hour, but there
are some things that simply can't wait."
"Aye," murmured Mrs. Kerry. "'Twill be yon Bond Street affair?"
"Oh, yes, it is, Mrs. Kerry. Doesn't the very name of Bond Street turn your blood
cold? I am simply shivering with fear!"
"As the wife of a Chief Inspector I am maybe more used to tragedies than yoursel',
madam. But it surely is a sair grim business. My husband is resting now. He was
hard at work a' the night. Nae doubt ye'll be wishin' tee see him privately?"
"Oh, if you please. I am so sorry to disturb him. I can imagine that he must be
literally exhausted after spending a whole night among dreadful people."
Mary Kerry stood up.