Mr. Maverick Narkom, Superintendent of Scotland Yard, looked up from the letter he was perusing, a wrinkle in his brow and one hand spread out over the sheet to keep it open, as the sound of a soft knock broke through the stillness, and with an exasperation born of the knotty problem upon which he was at work, called out an irritable «Come in.»
Inspector Petrie's head appeared in the aperture, stiff hand at the salute.
"I know you wasn't to be disturbed, sir," he began apologetically, «but there's a leddy come to see you. Seemed distressed, and said it was urgent, and begged me for the love of 'even to let her in.»
"And, being a religious man, you succumbed, of course," rapped out Mr. Narkom in a tone of exasperation. «Oh, well, where's her card? What with one thing and another, this morning's work[Pg 2] has practically gone to blazes. Not a minute's peace, by James! What's the lady's name, Petrie?»
Inspector Petrie came forward, a strip of pasteboard in his hand upon which was engraved a name and something written in a woman's hand underneath.
"Miss Maud Duggan. H'm. Scotch, I take it. And what's this! School friend of Miss Ailsa Lorne.—Ailsa Lorne, eh? Haven't heard from her in a month of Sundays. Said her business was important—eh, Petrie?"
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