The Film Mystery HTML version

11. Forestalled
On the train Kennedy left me, to look through the other cars, having the idea that Phelps
might be aboard also. But there were no signs of the banker. We would reach Tarrytown
first unless he had chosen to motor out.
Mackay was waiting at the station to meet us and to take us to the house. The little
district attorney was obviously excited.
"Was the place guarded well last night?" asked Kennedy, almost before we had shaken
"Yes--that is, I thought it was. That's what I want to tell you. After you left with Manton
and Werner the rest of the company packed up and pulled out in the two studio cars. I
was a little in doubt what to do about Phelps, but he settled it himself by announcing that
he was going to town. The coroner came and issued the permit to remove the body and
that was taken away. I think the house and the presence of the dead girl and all the rest of
it got on Phelps's nerves, because he was irritable and impatient, unwilling to wait for his
own car, until finally I drove him to the station myself."
"Was anyone, any of those on our list of possible suspects at least, alone in the room--or
in the house?"
"Not while I was there," Mackay replied. "I took good care of that. Then, when everyone
was gone and while Phelps was waiting for me, I detailed two of my deputies to stay on
guard--one inside and one outside--for the night. I thought it sufficient precaution, since
you had made your preliminary examination."
"And--" Kennedy nodded, seeking to hurry the explanation.
"And yet," added Mackay, "some one entered the house last night in spite of us."
Kennedy fairly swore under his breath. He seemed to blame himself for some omission in
his investigation the previous afternoon.
"How did it happen?" I asked, rather excitedly.
"It was about three o'clock, the guards tell me. The man inside was dozing in a chair
before the living-room fireplace. He was placed so he could command a view of the
doorway to the library as well as the stairs and reception hall. All at once he was
awakened by a shot and a cry from outside. He jumped up and ran toward the library. As
he did so the portieres bellied in toward him, as if in stiff sudden draught, or as if some
one had darted into their folds quickly, then out. With no hesitation he drew his own
weapon, rushing the curtains. There was no one secreted about them. Then, with the
revolver in one hand, he switched on the lights. The room was empty. But one pair of