The Ear in the Wall HTML version

20. The Metric Photograph
Murtha's escape from the sanitarium had again thrown our calculations into chaos. We
rode back to the city in silence, and even Kennedy had no explanation to offer.
Even at a late hour that night, although a widespread alarm had been sent out for him, no
trace of the missing man could be found. The next morning's papers, of course, were full
of the strange disappearance, but gave no hint of his discovery. In fact, all day the search
was continued by the authorities, but without result.
On the face of it, it seemed incredible that a man who was so well known, especially to
the thousands of police and others in the official and political life of the city, could
remain at large unrecognized. Still, I recalled other cases where prominent men had
disappeared. The facts in Murtha's case spoke for themselves.
Comparatively little occurred during the day, although the political campaign which had
begun with the primaries many weeks before was now drawing nearer its close and the
campaigners were getting ready for the final spurt to the finish.
With Kennedy's unmasking of the unprincipled activities of Kahn, that worthy changed
his tactics, or at least dropped out of our sight. Mrs. Ogleby lunched with Langhorne and
I began to suspect that the shadow that had been placed on her could not have been
engaged by Martin Ogleby, for he was not the kind who would take reports of the sort
complaisantly. Someone else must be interested.
As for the Black Book itself, I wondered more as time went on that no one made use of it.
Even though we gained no hint from Langhorne after the peculiar robbery of his safe, it
was impossible to tell whether or not he still retained the detectaphone record. On the
other hand, if Dorgan had obtained it by using the services of someone in the criminal
hierarchy that Murtha had built up, it would not have been likely that we would have
heard anything about it. We were in the position of men fighting several adversaries in
the dark without knowing exactly whom we fought.
We had just finished dinner, that night, Kennedy and I, and, as had been the case in most
of the waking hours of the previous twenty-four, had been speculating on the possible
solution of the mysterious dropping out of sight of Murtha. The evening papers had
contained nothing that the morning papers had not already published and Kennedy had
tossed the last of an armful into the scrap basket when the buzzer on the door of our
apartment sounded.
A young man stood there as I opened the door, and handed me a note, as he touched his
hat. "A message for Professor Kennedy from Mr. Carton, sir," he announced.
I recognized him as Carton's valet as he stood impatiently waiting for Craig to read the