Caves of Terror

Talbot Mundy

Caves of Terror, by Talbot Mundy

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Title: Caves of Terror
Author: Talbot Mundy

Release Date: August 2, 2006 [eBook #18970]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)
E-text prepared by David Clarke, Mary Meehan, and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team (

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Garden City New York Garden City Publishing Co., Inc 1924
Copyright, 1924, by Doubleday, Page & Company All Rights Reserved Copyright, 1922, by Talbot Mundy, and the Ridgway Company Printed in the United States at the Country Life Press, Garden City, N. Y.

I. The Gray Mahatma
II. The Palace of Yasmini
III. Fear is Death
IV. The Pool of Terrors
V. Far Cities
VI. The Fire Bathers
VII. Magic
VIII. The River of Death
IX. The Earthquake Elephant
X. A Date With Doom
XI. "Kill! Kill!"
XII. The Cave of Bones


Meldrum Strange has "a way" with him. You need all your tact to get him past the quarreling point; but once that point is left behind there isn't a finer business boss in the universe. He likes to put his ringer on a desk-bell and feel somebody jump in Tibet or Wei-hei-wei or Honolulu. That's Meldrum Strange.
When he sent me from San Francisco, where I was enjoying a vacation, to New York, where he was enjoying business, I took the first train.
"You've been a long time on the way," he remarked, as I walked into his office twenty minutes after the Chicago flyer reached Grand Central Station. "Look at this!" he growled, shoving into my hand a clipping from a Western newspaper.
"What about it?" I asked when I had finished reading.
"While you were wasting time on the West Coast this office has been busy," he snorted, looking more like General Grant than ever as he pulled out a cigar and started chewing it. "We've taken this matter up with the British Government, and we've been retained to look into it."
"You want me to go to Washington, I suppose."
"You've got to go to India at once."
"That clipping is two months old," I answered. "Why didn't you wire me when I was in Egypt to go on from there?"
"Look at this!" he answered, and shoved a letter across the desk.
It bore the address of a club in Simla.
Meldrum Strange, Esq., Messrs. Grim, Ramsden and Ross, New York.
Dear Sir,
Having recently resigned my commission in the British Indian army I am free to offer my services to your firm, provided you have a sufficiently responsible position here in India to offer me. My qualifications and record are known to the British Embassy in Washington, D. C., to whom I am permitted to refer you, and it is at the suggestion of ---- ---- (he gave the name of a British Cabinet Minister who is known the wide world over) that I am making this proposal; he was good enough to promise his endorsement to any application I might care to make. If this should interest you, please send me a cablegram, on receipt of which I will hold my services at your disposal until your letter has time to reach Simla, when, if your terms are satisfactory, I will cable my acceptance without further delay.
Yours faithfully, Athelstan King, V. C., D. S. O., etc.
"Do you know who he is?" demanded Strange. "That's the fellow who went to Khinjan Caves--the best secret service officer the British ever had. I cabled him, of course. Here's his contract. You take it to him. Here's the whole dope about this propaganda. Take the quickest route to India, sign up this man King, and go after them at that end for all the two of you are worth. That's all."
My passport being unexpired, I could make the Mauretania and did. Moreover I was merciless to the expense account. An aeroplane took me from Liverpool to London, another from London to Paris.
I don't care how often you arrive in Bombay, the thrill increases. You steam in at dawn by Gharipuri just as the gun announces sunrise, and the dreamy bay glimmers like a prophet's vision--temples, domes, minarets, palm-trees, roofs, towers, and masts.
Almost before the anchor had splashed into the spawn-skeined water off the Apollo Bunder a native boat drew alongside and a very well-dressed native climbed up the companion-ladder in quest of me. I had sent King a wireless, but his messenger was away in advance of even the bankers' agents, who flock on board to
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