The Film Mystery
25. Itching Salve
For once I rose with Kennedy. He preceded me to the laboratory after breakfast, however,
leaving me to wait for Mackay. When the little district attorney arrived I noticed that he
carried a package which looked as though it might contain a one-reel film can.
"The negative we took from the cameras at Tarrytown," he explained. "Also a print from
each roll, ready to run. I've been holding this as evidence. Mr. Kennedy wanted me to
bring it with me to-day."
"He's waiting for us at the laboratory," I remarked.
"He'll straighten everything up in a hurry, won't he?"
"Kennedy's the most high-handed individual I ever knew," I laughed, "if he sees a chance
of getting his man." Then I became enthusiastic. "Often I've seen him gather a group of
people in a room, perhaps without the faintest shred of legal right to do so, and there
make the guilty person confess simply by marshaling the evidence, or maybe betray
himself by some scientific device. It's wonderful, Mackay."
"Do you think he plans something of that kind this morning?"
I led the way to the door. "After what happened last night I know that Kennedy will
resort to almost anything."
The district attorney fingered the package under his arm. "He might get everyone in the
projection room then, and make them watch the actual photographic record of Stella's
death--the scene where she scratched herself--"
"Let's hurry!" I interrupted.
When we entered the laboratory we found Kennedy vigorously fanning a towel which he
had hung up to dry. I recognized it as the one I had discovered in the studio washroom
immediately following the first murder.
"This will serve me better as bait than as evidence," he laughed. "I have impregnated it
with a colorless chemical which will cling to the fibers and enable me to identify the most
infinitesimal trace of it. We shall get up to the studio and start, well--I guess you could
call it fishing for the guilty man." He fingered the folds, then jerked the towel down and
flung it to me. "Here, Walter! It's dry enough. Now I want you to rub the contents of that
tiny can of grease, open before you there, into the cloth."
He hurried over to wash his hands. I spread the towel out on the table and began to work
in the stuff indicated by Kennedy. There was no odor and it seemed like some patent
ointment in color. At first I was puzzled. Then, absently, I touched the back of one hand