ISBNs ISBN: (hardcover) ISBN: (softcover) Back Cover Copy The criminal cases of Inspector Elk—six novels in three volumes
There was a time, nostalgically familiar from the black and white British movies made from the late 1930s to the mid-1950s, when the detectives of the C. I. D, the men from Scotland Yard in plain clothes, were as recognisable to audiences as they were to the criminals they pursued. They were perennially portrayed as big, dour, doggedly stubborn men dressed in shabby and poorly fitting suits over which they wore a ‘never to be buttoned’ overcoat or trench style waterproof. To crown this effect each wore a squarely positioned black bowler or derby hat. All stereotypes have a foundation in fact and most certainly in fiction, for this is the description of the principal character of this special three volume Leonaur collection of detective fiction, featuring the complete cases of Detective Sergeant—soon to be Detective Inspector—Elk of the Yard. His creator, British author Edgar Wallace, was a prolific writer responsible for a number of memorable characters, among them the unforgettable J. G. Reeder, the Four Just Men and the Colonial administrator Sanders (whose exploits are all available as Leonaur collections), whose purpose was to bring the criminal class to their just desserts. Elk is less well-known and in him we have a different breed of ‘hero.’ Here is the detective for everyman, the kind of work-a-day ‘copper’ that all of Wallace’s audience would recognise. Elk is the policeman who in stories of more exotic detectives is a figure of fun, but who always pursues his quarry until, through the application of solid ‘police-work,’he gets his man.
This final volume featuring Edgar Wallace’s Scotland Yard sleuth, Inspector Elk, features the fifth novel ‘White Face’ and the sixth, the sinister ‘Silinski-Master Criminal.’
Leonaur editions are newly typeset and are not facsimiles; each title is available in softcover and hardback with dustjacket.
He was still whistling when he walked to the green-painted wicket door and pushed. It was locked now. If he’d only thought of trying that door—but if there had been a man behind it he would have had the sense to have shot in the bolts. He must have been hiding in there when Elk was searching the yard for the pocket case and watch. But if Mrs. Albert had talked—<br>
He confided his woes to Michael, a safe and sure recipient, for Michael Quigley knew just what not to print.
“You get that sort of thing in all these cases,” said Michael philosophically. “And you expect it, anyway. Nobody tells the truth, because there’s some twiddling little thing to hide that may bring discredit upon them. Personally, I can’t understand their mentality.”<br>
His eyes roved over the pavement.<br>
“You searched the gutter, I suppose? There’s a distinct slope to this sidewalk.”<br>
Mason looked inquiringly at one of the detectives, but nobody could tell him anything except that the traps where storm water runs had been emptied and the mud at the bottom carefully searched, without anything of value being found.<br>
Michael straddled the gutter, and, pulling up his sleeve, ran his fingers through the slowly moving water, groping. . .<br>
“First shot!” he cried exultantly. “What’s this?”<br>
Mason took it in his hand. It looked like a button or a tiny brown electric light bulb. One of the detectives put his light upon the find as it lay in Mason’s hand.<br>
“It looks to me like a capsule,” said Michael, turning it over curiously.<br>
It was indeed a tiny capsule of thin glass, containing something the colour of which was indistinguishable.<br>
“I seem to know the shape, too. Now where the devil have I seen those before?”<br>
“It can go to the police analyst, anyway,” said Mason, and put it carefully in his pocket. “Mike, you’re lucky: try again.”<br>
Michael’s wet hand went through the water, but he could find nothing. And then he saw what hundreds of pairs of eyes, focused on that strip of pavement, had not seen. It lay poised upon the sharp edge of the kerb, as if it had been carefully placed there, though it must have rolled and fallen into its position through no other agent than the force of gravity. The long stone hung over the kerb: the platinum circle was so dulled with rain that it was indistinguishable from the granite on which it rested.<br>
He picked it up, his heart thumping painfully.<br>
“What is this?”<br>
Mason took it from his unwilling hand.<br>
“A ring! To think those poor, blind bats—a ruby ring! I suppose the ruby’s an imitation, but it looks ruby.”<br>
Michael Quigley said nothing. The men were swaying blurs of shadow; he found a difficulty in breathing. Something in his attitude must have attracted Mason’s attention, for he looked at him sharply.<br>
“What’s the matter with you? God Almighty, you look like a dead man! It was stooping down that did it—the blood rushing to your head, eh?”