The Ear in the Wall HTML version

12. The "Portrait Parle"
What it was that Clare Kendall had on her mind, appeared the following day.
"There's something I want to try," she volunteered, evidently unable to repress it any
longer. "I have a plan--or half a plan. Don't you think it would be just the thing, under the
circumstances, to ring up District Attorney Carton, tell him what we have accomplished
and take him into our confidence? Perhaps he can suggest something. At any rate we
have all got to work together, for there is going to be a great fight when they find out how
far we have gone."
"Bully idea," agreed Craig.
Twenty minutes later we were seated in the District Attorney's office in the Criminal
Courts Building, pouring into his sympathetic ear the story of our progress so far.
Carton seemed to be delighted, as Kennedy proceeded to outline the case, at the fact that
he and Miss Kendall had found it possible to co-operate. His own experience in trying to
get others to work with the District Attorney's office, particularly the police, had been
quite the reverse.
"I wish to heaven you could get the right kind of evidence against the Montmartre gang,"
he sighed. "It is a gang, too--a high-class gang. In fact--well, it must be done. That place
is a blot on the city. The police never have really tried to get anything on it. Miss Kendall
never could, could you? I admit I never have. It seems to be understood that it is
practically impossible to prove anything against it. They openly defy us. The thing can't
go on. It demoralizes all our other work. Just one good blow at the Montmartre and we
could drive every one of these vile crooks to cover." He brought his fist down with a thud
on the desk, swung around in his chair, and emphasized his words with his forefinger.
"And yet, I know as well as I know that you are all in this room that graft is being paid to
the police and the politicians by that place and in fact by all those places along there. If
we are to do anything with them, that must be proved. That is the first step and I'm glad
the whole thing hinges on the Blackwell case. People always sit up and take notice when
there is something personal involved, some human interest which even the newspapers
can see. That Montmartre crowd, whoever they are, must be made to feel the strong arm
of the law. That's what I am in this office to do. Now, Kennedy, there must be some way
to catch those crooks with the goods."
"They aren't ordinary crooks, you know," ruminated Kennedy.
"I know they are not. But you and Miss Kendall and Jameson ought to be able to think
out a scheme."