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The Philo Vance Murder Cases: 5

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The Philo Vance Murder Cases: 5
Leonaur Original
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Author(s): S. S. Van Dine
Date Published: 2010/11
Page Count: 368
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-434-9
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-433-2

Two great murder mysteries from the Big Apple!

This is the fifth—and penultimate—volume of the Philo Vance Murder Cases published by Leonaur. The first story—the ninth in the series—'The Garden Murder Case', takes its name from the New York city rooftop garden where Vance witnesses the crime take place as a gunshot brings sudden death to a distinguished company gathered to enjoy—horse racing! The tenth story, 'The Kidnap Murder Case', reveals the plot in its title. A member of the wealthy Kenting family is kidnapped and soon Vance is engaged in an intrigue of murder involving priceless gemstones. All the Philo Vance novels are available from Leonaur—two per volume—in complementing softcover or hardcover with dust jacket.

Vance watched her disappear. Then he turned and met the half wistful, half indignant gaze of Miss Beeton. He smiled at her a bit grimly and started back into the den. At this moment Mrs. Garden

came through the archway with a look of resentful determination, and strode aggressively down the hall.<br>
“Zalia has just told me,” she said angrily, “that you forbade her to go upstairs. It’s an outrage! But surely I may go up. This is my house, remember. You have no right whatever to prevent me from

spending these last minutes with my nephew.”<br>
Vance turned to confront her. There was a pained look on his face, but his eyes were cold and stern.<br>
“I have every right, madam,” he said. “The situation is a most serious one, and if you will not accept that fact, it will be necess’ry for me to assume sufficient authority to compel you to do so.”
“This is unbelievable!” the woman remonstrated indignantly.<br>
Garden stepped to the den door.<br>
“For Heaven’s sake, mater,” he pleaded, “be reasonable. Mr. Vance is quite right. And, anyway, what possible reason could you have for wanting to be with Woody now? We’re in for enough scandal as

it is. Why involve yourself further?”<br>
The woman looked squarely at her son, and I had a feeling that some telepathic communication passed between them.<br>
“It really doesn’t make any particular difference,” she conceded with calm resignation. But as she turned her eyes to Vance the look of cynical resentment returned. “Where, sir,” she asked, “do you

prefer that I remain until your policemen arrive?”<br>
“I don’t wish to seem too exacting, madam,” Vance returned quietly; “but I would deeply appreciate it if you remained in the drawing-room.”<br>
The woman raised her eyebrows, shrugged her shoulders, and, turning indifferently, went back up the hall.<br>
“Frightfully sorry, Vance,” apologized Garden. “The mater is a dowager. Not accustomed to taking orders. And she resents it. I doubt if she really has the slightest desire to sit by Woody’s

stiffening body. But she hates to be told what to do and what not to do. She’d probably have spent the day in bed, if Doc Siefert hadn’t firmly told her not to get up.”<br>
“That’s quite all right.” Vance spoke indifferently, gazing with perplexed meditation at the tip of his cigarette. Then he came quickly to the den door. “Let’s have our little chat—eh, what?” He

stood aside for Garden to enter the room; then he followed and closed the door.<br>
Garden sat down wearily at one end of the davenport and took a pipe from a small drawer in the tabouret. He got out his tobacco and slowly packed the pipe, while Vance walked to the window and

stood looking out over the city.<br>
“Garden,” he began, “there are a few things that I’d like to have cleared up before the District Attorney and the police arrive.” He turned about leisurely and sat down at the desk, facing Garden.

The latter was having some difficulty getting his pipe lighted. When he had finally succeeded he looked up dejectedly and met Vance’s gaze.<br>
“Anything I can do to help,” he mumbled, sucking on his pipe.<br>
“A few necess’ry questions, don’t y’ know,” Vance went on. “Hope they won’t upset you, and all that. But the fact is, Mr. Markham will probably want me to take a hand in the investigation, since I

was a witness to the preamble of this distressin’ tragedy.”<br>
“I hope he does,” Garden returned. “It’s a damnable affair, and I’d like to see the axe fall, no matter whom it might behead.” His pipe was still giving him trouble. “By the way. Vance,” he went on

quietly, “how did you happen to come here today? I’ve asked you so often to join our racing séance—and you pick the one day when the roof blows off the place.”<br>
Vance kept his eyes on Garden for a moment.<br>
“The fact is,” he said at length, “I got an anonymous telephone message last night, vaguely outlining the situation here and mentioning Equanimity.”<br>
Garden jerked himself up to keener attention. His eyes opened wide, and he took the pipe from his mouth.<br>
“The devil you say!” he exclaimed. “That’s a queer one. Man or woman?”<br>
“Oh, it was a man,” Vance replied casually. Garden pursed his lips and, after a moment’s meditation, said quietly:<br>
“Well, anyway, I’m damned glad you did come. . .What can I tell you that might be of help? Anything you want, old man.”<br>
“First of all, then,” asked Vance, “did you recognize the revolver? I saw you looking at it rather apprehensively when we came out on the roof.”<br>
Garden frowned, busied himself for a moment with his pipe, and finally answered, as if with sudden resolution:<br>
“Yes! I did recognize it, Vance. It belongs to the old gentleman—”<br>
“Your father?”<br>
Garden nodded grimly. “He’s had it for years. Why he ever got it in the first place, I don’t know—he probably hasn’t the slightest idea how to use it. . .”<br>
“By the by,” Vance put in, “what time does your father generally return home from the University?”<br>
“Why—why—” Garden hesitated and then continued: “On Saturdays he’s always here early in the afternoon—rarely after three. Gives himself and his staff a half-holiday. . .But,” he added, “father’s very erratic. . .” His voice trailed off nervously.<br>
Vance took two deep inhalations on his cigarette: he was watching Garden attentively. Then he asked in a soft tone:<br>
“What’s on your mind?—Unless, of course, you have good reason for not wanting to tell me.”<br>
Garden took a long breath and stood up. He seemed to be deeply troubled as he walked across the room and back.<br>
“The truth is, Vance,” he said, as he resumed his place on the davenport, “I don’t even know where the pater is this afternoon. As soon as I came downstairs after Woody’s death, I called him to give him the news. I thought he’d want to get here as soon as possible, in the circumstances. But I was told that he’d locked up the laboratory and left the University about two o’clock.” Garden looked up quickly. “He’s probably gone to the library for some research work. Or he may have swung round to Columbia. He spends a good bit of his time there.”<br>
I could not understand the man’s perturbation; and I could see that it puzzled Vance as well. Vance endeavoured to put him at his ease.<br>
“It really doesn’t matter,” he said, as if dismissing the subject. “It may be just as well that your father doesn’t learn of the tragedy till later.” He smoked for a moment. “But to get back to the revolver: where was it usually kept?”<br>
“In the centre drawer of the desk upstairs,” Garden told him promptly.<br>
“And was the fact generally known to the other members of the household, or to Swift himself?”<br>
Garden nodded. “Oh, yes. There was no secret about it. We often joked with the old gentleman about his ‘arsenal.’ Only last week, at dinner, he thought he heard some one in the garden and ran upstairs to see who it was. The mater called after him spoofingly: ‘At last you may have a chance to use your precious revolver.’ The old gentleman returned in a few minutes rather sheepishly. One of the flower-pots had been blown over and had rolled across the tiles. We all rode him good-naturedly for the rest of the meal.”
“And the revolver was always loaded?”<br>
“So far as I know, yes.”<br>
“And was there an extra supply of cartridges?”<br>
“As to that, I cannot say,” Garden answered; “but I don’t think so.” <br>
“And here’s a very important question, Garden,” Vance went on. “How many of the people that are here today could possibly have known that your father kept this loaded revolver in his desk? Now, think carefully before answering.”
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