The Diamond Cross Mystery

Chester K. Steele

Diamond Cross Mystery, The

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Title: The Diamond Cross Mystery Being a Somewhat Different Detective Story
Author: Chester K. Steele

Release Date: June 25, 2005 [eBook #16127]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)
E-text prepared by Al Haines

Being a Somewhat Different Detective Story
Author of "The Mansion of Mystery," etc.
International Fiction Library Cleveland New York Press Of The Commercial Bookbinding Co. Cleveland

The Ticking Watch II. King's Dagger III. The Fisherman IV. Spotty V. Amy's Appeal VI. Grafton's Search VII. The Colonel is Surprised VIII. The Diamond Cross IX. Indicted X. The Death Watch XI. No Alimony XII. The Odd Coin XIII. Singa Phut XIV. The Hidden Wires XV. A Dog XVI. The Colonel Wonders XVII. "A Jolly Good Fellow" XVIII. Amy's Test XIX. Word From Spotty XX. In The Shadows XXI. Swirling Waters XXII. His Last Case
There was only one sound which broke the intense stillness of the jewelry shop on that fateful April morning. That sound was the ticking of the watch in the hand of the dead woman.
Outside, the rain was falling. Not a heavy downpour which splashed cheerfully on umbrellas and formed swollen streams in the gutters, whence they rushed toward the sewer basins, carrying with them an accumulation of sticks, leaves and dirt. Not a windy, gusty rain, that made a man glad to get indoors near a genial fire, with his pipe and a book.
It was a drizzle; a steady, persistent drizzle, which a half-hearted wind blew this way and that, as though neither element cared much for the task in hand--that of thoroughly soaking the particular part of the universe in the neighborhood of Colchester and taking its own time in which to do it.
Early in the unequal contest the sun had given up its effort to pierce through the leaden clouds, and had taken its beams to other places--to busy cities, to smiling country villages and farms. Above, around, below, on all sides, soaking through and through, drizzling it, soaking it, sprinkling it, half-hiding it in fog and mist, the rain enveloped Colchester--a sodden, damp garment.
Early paper boys slunk along the slippery streets, trying to protect their limp wares from becoming mere blotters. The gongs of the few trolley cars that were sent out to take the early toilers to their tasks rang as though covered with a blanket of fog. The thud of the feet of the milkmen's horses was muffled, and the rattle of bottles seemed to come from afar off, as though over some misty lake.
James Darcy, shivering as he arose, silently protesting, from his warm bed, pulled on his garments audibly grumbling, the grumble becoming a voiced protest as he shuffled in his slippers along the corridor above the jewelry shop and went down the private stairs into the main sales-room.
The electric light in front of the massive safe seemed to lear at him with a bleared eye like that of a toper, who, having spent the night in convivial company, found himself, most unaccountably, on his own doorstep in the gray dawn.
"Raining!" murmured James Darcy, as he reached over to switch on the light above the little table where he set precious stones into gold and platinum of rare and beautiful designs. "Raining and cold! I wish the steam was on."
The fog from outside seemed to have penetrated into the jewelry shop. It swirled about the gleaming showcases, reflected from the cut glass, danced away from the silver cups, broke into points of light from the times of forks, became broad splotches on the blades of knives, and, perchance, made its way through the cracks into the safe, where it bathed the diamonds, the rubies, the sapphires, the aqua marines, the pearls, the jades, and the bloodstones in a white mist. The bloodstones--
Strange that James Darcy should have thought of them as he looked at the rain outside, heard its drip, drip, drip on the windows, and saw the fog and swirls of mist inside and without the store. Strange and--
First, as he gazed at the prostrate body--the horrid red blotch like a gay ribbon in the white hair--he thought the small, insistent sound which seemed to fill the room was the beating of her heart. Then, as he listened, his ears attuned with fear, he knew it was the ticking of the watch in the hand of the dead woman.
James Darcy rubbed his eyes, as though to clear them from the fog. He rubbed
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