The Second volume of Leonaur’s Craig Kennedy series
In Craig Kennedy the American nation might justifiably lay claim to their own Sherlock Holmes, for here is a detective whose activities projected him into the modern age. Where Conan Doyle’s famous character of a more gentle era relied on his superb powers of analysis, Kennedy is able to combine his own intellectual powers with the technological marvels of a new age. Arthur B. Reeve’s classic ‘Craig Kennedy’ stories began appearing in 1910, ensuring him of a place as a dominant crime fighter for the emerging 20th century. Kennedy is perhaps the natural evolution of the ‘great detective’ and the reader cannot but imagine that Holmes would have embraced his newly created techniques with equal enthusiasm. Here the reader will discover the application of lie detectors, gyroscopes, seismographs and an arsenal of other equipment, both real and imagined, to the solving of crimes and the bringing of criminals to justice.
This special Leonaur collection of the ‘scientific’ detective of Columbia University comprises seven substantial volumes, each in a colour coordinated cover. Leonaur hard backs are cloth bound, have fabric head and tail bands and feature gold foil lettering on their spines, so this may be the ideal way to collect and own the marvellous Craig Kennedy detective story series.
In the second volume, the reader will find two more complete books of intriguing detective stories to enjoy—The Dream Doctor and The Exploits of Elaine, originally published in 1914 and 1915 respectively. Within its pages enthusiasts can puzzle over many a dastardly crime and, of course, an equal number of brilliantly deduced solutions.
Dr. Morton was a middle-aged man, one of those medical men in whose judgment one instinctively relies. From the brief description of the “haemorrhage” which the Clutching Hand had cleverly made over the wire, he knew that a life was at stake. Quickly he dressed and went out to his garage, back of the house to get his little runabout. <br>
It was only a matter of minutes before the doctor was speeding over the now deserted suburban roads, apparently on his errand of mercy.<br>
At the address that had been given him, he drew up to the side of the road, got out and ran up the steps to the door. A ring at the bell brought a sleepy man to the door, in his trousers and nightshirt.<br>
“How’s the patient?” asked Dr. Morton, eagerly.<br>
“Patient?” repeated the man, rubbing his eyes. “There’s no one sick here.”<br>
“Then what did you telephone for?” asked the doctor peevishly.
<br>“Telephone? I didn’t call up anyone, I was asleep.”<br>
Slowly it dawned on the doctor that it was a false alarm and that he must be the victim of some practical joke.<br>
“Well, that’s a great note,” he growled, as the man shut the door.<br>
He descended the steps, muttering harsh language at some unknown trickster. As he climbed back into his machine and made ready to start, two men seemed to rise before him, as if from nowhere.<br>
As a matter of fact, they had been sent there by the Clutching Hand and were hiding in a nearby cellar way until their chance came.<br>
One man stood on the running board, on either side of him, and two guns yawned menacingly at him.<br>
“Drive ahead—that way!” muttered one man, seating himself in the runabout with his gun close to the doctor’s ribs.<br>
The other kept his place on the running board, and on they drove in the direction of the mysterious, dark house. Half a mile, perhaps, down the road, they halted and left the car beside the walk.<br>
Dr. Morton was too surprised to marvel at anything now and he realized that he was in the power of two desperate men. Quickly, they blindfolded him.<br>
It seemed an interminable walk, as they led him about to confuse him, but at last he could feel that they had taken him into a house and along passageways, which they were making unnecessarily long in order to destroy all recollection that they could. Finally he knew that he was in a room in which others were present. He suppressed a shudder at the low, menacing voices.<br>
A moment later he felt them remove the bandage from his eyes, and, blinking at the light, he could see a hard-faced fellow, pale and weak, on a blood-stained couch. Over him bent a masked man and another man stood nearby, endeavouring by improvised bandages to stop the flow of blood.<br>
“What can you do for this fellow?” asked the masked man.<br>
Dr. Morton, seeing nothing else to do, for he was more than outnumbered now, bent down and examined him.<br>
As he rose, he said, “He will be dead from loss of blood by morning, no matter if he is properly bandaged.”<br>
“Is there nothing that can save him?” whispered the Clutching Hand hoarsely.
“Blood transfusion might save him,” replied the doctor. “But so much blood would be needed that whoever gives it would be liable to die himself.”<br>
Clutching Hand stood silent a moment, thinking, as he gazed at the man who had been one of his chief reliances. Then, with a menacing gesture, he spoke in a low, bitter tone.<br>
“She who shot him shall supply the blood.”<br>
A few quick directions followed to his subordinates, and as he made ready to go, he muttered, “Keep the doctor here. Don’t let him stir from the room.”
Then, with the man who had aided him in the murder of Taylor Dodge, he sallied out into the blackness that precedes dawn.<br>
It was just before early daybreak when the Clutching Hand and his confederate reached the Dodge House in the city and came up to the back door, over the fences. As they stood there, the Clutching Hand produced a master key and started to open the door. But before he did so, he took out his watch.<br>
“Let me see,” he ruminated. “Twenty minutes past four. At exactly half past, I want you to do as I told you—see?”<br>
The other crook nodded.<br>
“You may go,” ordered the Clutching Hand.<br>
As the crook slunk away, Clutching Hand stealthily let himself into the house. Noiselessly he prowled through the halls until he came to Elaine’s doorway. He gave a hasty look up and down the hall. There was no sound. Quickly he took a syringe from his pocket and bent down by the door. Inserting the end under it, he squirted some liquid through which vaporized rapidly in a wide, fine stream of spray. Before he could give an alarm, Rusty was overcome by the noxious fumes, rolled over on his back and lay still.<br>
Outside, the other crook was waiting, looking at his watch. As the hand slowly turned the half hour, he snapped the watch shut. With a quick glance up and down the deserted street, he deftly started up the rain pipe that passed near Elaine’s window.<br>
This time there was no faithful Rusty to give warning and the second intruder, after a glance at Elaine, still sleeping, went quickly to the door, dragged the insensible dog out of the way, turned the key and admitted the Clutching Hand. As he did so he closed the door.<br>
Evidently the fumes had not reached Elaine, or if they had, the inrush of fresh air revived her, for she waked and quickly reached for the gun. In an instant the other crook had leaped at her. Holding his hand over her mouth to prevent her screaming he snatched the revolver away before she could fire it.<br>
In the meantime the Clutching Hand had taken out some chloroform and, rolling a towel in the form of a cone, placed it over her face. She struggled, gasping and gagging, but the struggles grew weaker and weaker and finally ceased altogether.<br>
When Elaine was completely under the influence of the drug, they lifted her out of bed, the chloroform cone still over her face, and quietly carried her to the door which they opened stealthily.<br>
Downstairs they carried her until they came to the library with its new safe and there they placed her on a couch.<br>