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Dale had failed with the Doctor. When Lizzie's screams once more had called the startled
household to the living-room, she knew she had failed. She followed in mechanically,
watched an irritated Anderson send the Pride of Kerry to bed and. threaten to lock her up,
and listened vaguely to the conversation between her aunt and the detective that followed
it, without more than casual interest.
Nevertheless, that conversation was to have vital results later on.
"Your point about that thumbprint on the stair rail is very interesting," Anderson said
with a certain respect. "But just what does it prove?"
"It points down," said Miss Cornelia, still glowing with the memory of the whistle of
surprise the detective had given when she had shown him the strange thumbprint on the
rail of the alcove stairs.
"It does," he admitted. "But what then?"
Miss Cornelia tried to put her case as clearly and tersely as possible.
"It shows that somebody stood there for some time, listening to my niece and Richard
Fleming in this room below," she said.
"All right - I'll grant that to save argument," retorted the detective. "But the moment that
shot was fired the lights came on. If somebody on that staircase shot him, and then came
down and took the blue-print, Miss Ogden would have seen him."
He turned upon Dale.
"Did you?"
She hesitated. Why hadn't she thought of such an explanation before? But now - it would
sound too flimsy!
"No, nobody came down," she admitted candidly. The detective's face altered, grew
menacing. Miss Cornelia once more had put herself between him and Dale.
"Now, Mr. Anderson - " she warned.
The detective was obviously trying to keep his temper.
"I'm not hounding this girl!" he said doggedly. "I haven't said yet that she committed the
murder - but she took that blue-print and I want it!"
"You want it to connect her with the murder," parried Miss Cornelia.