The Dream Doctor HTML version

11. The Opium Joint
O'Connor drew back the sheet which covered her and in the calf of the leg disclosed an
ugly bullet hole. Ugly as it was, however, it was anything but dangerous and seemed to
indicate nothing as to the real cause of her death. He drew from his pocket a slightly
misshapen bullet which had been probed from the wound and handed it to Kennedy, who
examined both the wound and the bullet carefully. It seemed to be an ordinary bullet
except that in the pointed end were three or four little round, very shallow wells or
depressions only the minutest fraction of an inch deep.
"Very extraordinary," he remarked slowly. "No, I don't think this was a case of suicide.
Nor was it a murder for money, else the jewels would have been taken."
O'Connor looked approvingly at me. "Exactly what I said," he exclaimed. "She was dead
before her body was thrown into the water."
"No, I don't agree with you there," corrected Craig, continuing his examination of the
body. "And yet it is not a case of drowning exactly, either."
"Strangled?" suggested O'Connor.
"By some jiu jitsu trick?" I put in, mindful of the queer-acting Jap at Clendenin's.
Kennedy shook his head.
"Perhaps the shock of the bullet wound rendered her unconscious and in that state she
was thrown in," ventured Walker Curtis, apparently much relieved that Kennedy
coincided with O'Connor in disagreeing with the harbour police as to the suicide theory.
Kennedy shrugged his shoulders and looked at the bullet again. "It is very extraordinary,"
was all he replied. "I think you said a few moments ago, O'Connor, that there had been
some queer doings about here. What did you mean?"
"Well, as I said, the work of the harbour squad isn't ordinarily very remarkable. Harbour
pirates aren't murderous as a rule any more. For the most part they are plain sneak thieves
or bogus junk dealers who work with dishonest pier watchmen and crooked canal boat
captains and lighter hands.
"But in this instance," continued the deputy, his face knitting at the thought that he had to
confess another mystery to which he had no solution, "it is something quite different.
You know that all along the shore on this side of the island are old, dilapidated and, some
of them, deserted houses. For several days the residents of the neighbourhood have been
complaining of strange occurrences about one place in particular which was the home of
a wealthy family in a past generation. It is about a mile from here, facing the road along