BLTC Press Titles


available for Kindle at Amazon.com


The Souls of Black Folk

W. E. B. DuBois


Mortal Coils

Aldous Huxley


The Pictorial Key to the Tarot

Arthur Edward Waite


Letters on the Aesthetical Education of Man

Friedrich Schiller


At one-thirty

by Isabel Ostrander

Excerpt:

"Feel it, man, feel it!" returned Gaunt. "It's dried in thick, raised, sticky clots. And, unless I'm mistaken, it wasn't brushed there by the hand of the murderer, but was deliberately wiped there, placed there hours after the murder." The Coroner strode to the window. "Mr. Gaunt is right," he cried. "Come here, Inspector! It looks like a deliberate and very clumsy attempt to brand the crime as an outside job. It must have been for robbery, of course; one of the servants, probably. But why the fellow should have waited for hours before preparing his alibi, running the risk of some one discovering the crime in the meantime, is beyond me. Also, what has become of the jewels and the weapon— but they'll come to light, of course."

"I'll have the house searched at once, and the servants questioned; put through the third degree, if necessary!" Inspector Hanrahan replied, excitedly.

Gaunt had been stooping, feeling about on the floor before the chair in which the dead man sat, and, at the Inspector's words, he rose, his long fingers slipping for an instant into his waistcoatpocket. He had discovered upon the floor before the chair three tiny hard globules, like irregular pearls.

"I wouldn't do that, Inspector," he suggested, mildly. "At least, searching the house won't do any harm; but don't question the servants in such a manner that you'll lead any of them to suspect that you don't think this was an outside job. If you do, you may defeat your own ends." He turned to the Coroner. "You'll have an autopsy performed immediately, I suppose? I'd like to know at once, if you'll tell me, what caliber and make cartridge was used."

"I'll let you know gladly. You'll be here all day?"

"Yes. I want to make a more thorough examination of the room now, and then I should like to speak to some members of the family. That robbery theory still looks good, of course, Coroner Hildebrand, if it weren't for one thing."

"What's that?" the Inspector turned sharply from the window.

"The dead man's face. Look at his expression. Blank horror and craven fear are stamped upon it!"

"Look here, Mr. Gaunt, I don't see what you can tell about his expression!" Inspector Hanrahan's voice held a good-natured, -easy contempt.

"By feeling the drawn, contracted muscles," Gaunt said, tersely. He resented bitterly any reference to the handicap nature had placed upon him, yet he realized the justice of the implication.

"It may be only the death-agony, the shock, you know, which has distorted his face," the Coroner broke in hastily, soothingly.

"Look at him yourself, Coroner Hildebrand. Does he look like a man suddenly attacked without warning, or like one who recognized his assailant, and read his approaching fate in the other's eyes, but felt powerless to avert it?"

The Coroner was silent, and, with a slight shrug, Gaunt turned away, and bent over the writingtable, his hands playing lightly among the papers and ornaments it contained. From there, he made a circuit of the room, passing swiftly from one article of furniture to another, more as if to orient himself than with any idea of a thorough examination.

Suddenly he paused before a low, swinging lamp of ancient brass, and felt carefully of its jangling pendant ornaments. From one of these, a tiny strand of hair hung, as if caught from the unwary head of some feminine Absalom, in passing beneath it. It was a long strand of but two or three fine, silky hairs, and the detective wound them carefully around his finger, then placed them in the vest-pocket with the tiny white globules.

Meanwhile, the other men went about their gruesome task of removing the body to an adjoining room for the autopsy, and Gaunt heard their heavy, subdued tread down the hall. With silent haste, he approached the door and closed it softly, then returned to the library-table in the center of the room, beside which the body of the murdered man had been seated, and opened drawer after drawer, his hands searching feverishly among the papers they contained, as if seeking some object he fully anticipated finding. If Garret Appleton really had known his assailant, and might actually have feared for his life, it was logical to suppose that he might have kept some weapon with which to protect and, if necessary, defend himself. If that weapon should happen to be a revolver, of the same caliber as that with which he had been shot—


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