The Ear in the Wall HTML version
6. The Woman Detective
Half an hour later, a tall, striking, self-reliant young woman with an engaging smile
opened the laboratory door and asked for Professor Kennedy.
"Miss Kendall?" Craig inquired, coming forward to meet her.
She was dark-haired, with regular features and an expression which showed a high degree
of intelligence. Her clear grey eyes seemed to penetrate and tear the mask off you. It was
not only her features and eyes that showed intelligence, but her gown showed that
without sacrificing neatness she had deliberately toned down the existing fashions which
so admirably fitted in with her figure in order that she might not appear noticeable. It was
clever, for if there is anything a good detective must do it is to prevent people from
I knew something of her history already. She had begun on a rather difficult case for one
of the large agencies and after a few years of experience had decided that there was a
field for an independent woman detective who would appeal particularly to women
themselves. Unaided she had fought her way to a position of keen rivalry now with the
best men in the profession.
Narrowly I watched Kennedy. Here, I felt instinctively, were the "new" woman and the
"new" man, if there are such things. I wondered just how they would hit it off together.
For the moment, at least, Clare Kendall was an absorbing study, as she greeted us with a
frank, jerky straight-arm handshake.
"Mr. Carton," she said directly, "has told me that he received an anonymous letter this
morning. May I see it?"
There are times when the so-called "new" woman's assumed masculine brusqueness is a
trifle jarring, as well as often missing the point. But with Clare Kendall one did not feel
that she was eternally trying to assert that she was the equal or the superior of someone
else, although she was, as far as the majority of detectives I have met are concerned. It
was rather that she was different; in fact, almost from the start I felt that she was
indispensable. She seemed to have that ability to go straight to the point at issue, a sort of
faculty of intuition which is often more valuable than anything else, the ability to feel or
sense things for which at first there was no actual proof. No good detective ever lacks
that sort of instinct, and Clare Kendall, being a woman, had it in large degree. But she
had more. She had the ability to go further and get the facts and actual proof; for, as she
often said during the course of a case, "Woman's intuition may not be good evidence in a
court of law, but it is one of the best means to get good evidence that will convince a
court of law."
"My investigators have been watching that place for some time," she remarked as she
finished the letter. "Of course, having been closely in touch with this sort of thing for