The Exploits of Elaine HTML version
1. The Clutching Hand
"Jameson, here's a story I wish you'd follow up," remarked the managing editor of the
Star to me one evening after I had turned in an assignment of the late afternoon.
He handed me a clipping from the evening edition of the Star and I quickly ran my eye
over the headline:
"THE CLUTCHING HAND" WINS AGAIN
NEW YORK'S MYSTERIOUS MASTER CRIMINAL
PERFECTS ANOTHER COUP
CITY POLICE COMPLETELY BAFFLED
"Here's this murder of Fletcher, the retired banker and trustee of the University," he
explained. "Not a clue--except a warning letter signed with this mysterious clutching fist.
Last week it was the robbery of the Haxworth jewels and the killing of old Haxworth.
Again that curious sign of the hand. Then there was the dastardly attempt on Sherburne,
the steel magnate. Not a trace of the assailant except this same clutching fist. So it has
gone, Jameson--the most alarming and most inexplicable series of murders that has ever
happened in this country. And nothing but this uncanny hand to trace them by."
The editor paused a moment, then exclaimed, "Why, this fellow seems to take a
diabolical--I might almost say pathological-- pleasure in crimes of violence, revenge,
avarice and self- protection. Sometimes it seems as if he delights in the pure deviltry of
the thing. It is weird."
He leaned over and spoke in a low, tense tone. "Strangest of all, the tip has just come to
us that Fletcher, Haxworth, Sherburne and all the rest of those wealthy men were insured
in the Consolidated Mutual Life. Now, Jameson, I want you to find Taylor Dodge, the
president, and interview him. Get what you can, at any cost."
I had naturally thought first of Kennedy, but there was no time now to call him up and,
besides, I must see Dodge immediately.
Dodge, I discovered over the telephone, was not at home, nor at any of the clubs to which
he belonged. Late though it was I concluded that he was at his office. No amount of