The Film Mystery HTML version

3. Tangled Motives
"Do you wish to examine the people now?" Mackay asked.
Kennedy hesitated. "First I want to make sure of the evidence concerning her actual
death. Can you arrange to have the clothes she has on, and those she brought with her, all
of them bundled up and sent in to my laboratory, together with samples of her body fluids
as soon as the coroner can supply you?"
Mackay nodded. This pleased him. This seemed to be tangible action, promising tangible
Again Kennedy glanced about in thought. I knew that the scratch was worrying him. "Did
she change her clothes out here?" he inquired.
The district attorney brightened. "She dressed in a small den just off the living room. I
have a man posted and the door closed. Nothing has been disturbed."
He started to lead the way without further word from Kennedy, proud to have been able
once more to demonstrate his foresight
As we left the library, entering the living room, there was an appreciable hush. Here were
grouped the others of the party brought out by the picture company, a constrained
gathering of folk who had little in common beyond the highly specialized needs of the
new art of the screen, an assembly of souls who had been forced to wait during all the
time required for the trip of Kennedy and myself out from New York, who were
compelled to wait now until he should be ready to examine them.
I picked out the electrician in the semi-gloom and with him his fellow members of the
technical staff needed in the taking of the scenes in the library. The camera men I
guessed, and a property boy, and an assistant director. The last, at any event, of all those
in the huge room, had summoned up sufficient nonchalance to bend his mind to details of
his work. I saw that he was thumbing a copy of the scenario, or detailed working
manuscript of the story, making notations in some kind of little book, and it was that
which enabled me to establish his identity at a glance.
In a different corner were the principals, two men and a girl still in make-up, and with
them the director, and Manton and Phelps. Apart from everyone else, in a sort of social
ostracism common to the studios, the two five-dollar-a-day extras waited, a butler and a
maid, also in make-up. Oddly enough the total number of these material witnesses to the
tragedy was just thirteen, and I wondered if they had noticed the fact.
Doctor Blake turned to Kennedy the moment we left the library.