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14. Wessex Gets Busy
Innes rose from the chair usually occupied by Paul Harley as Detective Inspector
Wessex, with a very blank face, walked into the office. Innes looked haggard and
exhibited unmistakable signs of anxiety. Since he had received that dramatic
telephone message from his chief he had not spared himself for a moment. The
official machinery of Scotland Yard was at work endeavouring to trace the
missing man, but since it had proved impossible to find out from where the
message had been sent, the investigation was handicapped at the very outset.
Close inquiries at the Savoy Hotel had shown that Harley had not been there.
Wessex, who was a thorough artist within his limitations, had satisfied himself
that none of the callers who had asked for Ormuz Khan, and no one who had
loitered about the lobbies, could possibly have been even a disguised Paul
To Inspector Wessex the lines along which Paul Harley was operating remained
a matter of profound amazement and mystification. His interview with Mr. Nicol
Brinn had only served to baffle him more hopelessly than ever. The nature of
Paul Harley's inquiries--inquiries which, presumably from the death of Sir Charles
Abingdon, had led him to investigate the movements of two persons of
international repute, neither apparently having even the most remote connection
with anything crooked--was a conundrum for the answer to which the detectlve
inspector sought in vain.
"I can see you have no news," said Innes, dully.
"To be perfectly honest," replied Wessex, "I feel like a man who is walking in his
sleep. Except for the extraordinary words uttered by the late Sir Charles
Abingdon, I fail to see that there is any possible connection between his death
and Mr. Nicol Brinn. I simply can't fathom what Mr. Harley was working upon. To
my mind there is not the slightest evidence of foul play in the case. There is no
motive; apart from which, there is absolutely no link."
"Nevertheless," replied Innes, slowly, "you know the chief, and therefore you
know as well as I do that he would not have instructed me to communicate with