By midday on the following morning
London was placarded with notices,
the heading of which was sensational
enough to attract observation
from every passer-by, young or
old, rich or poor. One thousand
pounds' reward for the apprehension
of the murderer of either Hamilton
Fynes or Richard Vanderpole!
Inspector Jacks, who was amongst
the first to hear the news, after
a brief interview with his chief
put on his hat and walked round
to the Home Office. He sought
out one of the underlings with
whom he had some acquaintance,
and whom he found ready enough,
even eager, to
discuss the matter.
"There wasn't a word about
any reward," Inspector Jacks
was told, "until this morning.
We had a telephone message from
the chief's bedroom and phoned
you up at once. It's a pretty
stiff amount, isn't it?"
"It is," the Inspector admitted. "Our
chief seems to be taking quite
a personal interest in the matter
all at once."
"I'll lay two to one that some
one was on to him at Sir Edward
Bransome's reception last night," the
other remarked. "I know very
well that there was no idea of
offering a reward yesterday afternoon.
We might have come out with a
hundred pounds or so, a little
later on, perhaps, but there
was nothing of this sort in the
air. I've no desire to seem censorious,
you know, Jacks," the young man
went on, leaning back in his
chair and lighting a cigarette, "but
it does seem a dashed queer thing
that you can't put your finger
upon either of these fellows."
Inspector Jacks nodded gloomily.
"No doubt it seems so to you," he
admitted. "You forget that we
have to have a reasonable amount
of proof before we can tap a
man on the shoulder and ask him
to come with us. It isn't so
abroad or in America. There they
can hand a man up with less than
half the evidence we have to
be prepared with, and, of course,
they get the reputation of being
smarter on the job. We may learn
enough to satisfy ourselves easily,
but to get up a case which we
can put before a magistrate and
be sure of not losing our man,
"So you've got your eye on
some one?" The young man asked
"I did not say so," the Inspector
answered warily. "By the bye,
do you think there would be any
chance of five minutes' interview
with your chief?"
The young man shook his head
"What a cheek you've got, Jacks!" he
declared. "You're not serious,
"Perfectly," Inspector Jacks
answered. "And to tell you the
truth, my young friend, I am
half inclined to think that when
he is given to understand, as
he will be by you, if he doesn't
know it already, that I am in
charge of the investigations
concerning these two murders,
he will see me."
The young man was disposed
to consider the point.
"Well," he remarked, "the
chief does seem plaguy interested,
all of a sudden. I'll pass your
name in. If you take a seat,
it's just possible that he may
spare you a minute or two in
about an hour's time. He won't
be able to before then, I'm sure.
There's a deputation almost due,
and two other appointments before
The Inspector accepted a newspaper
and an easy chair. His young
friend disappeared and returned
almost immediately, looking a
"I've managed it for you," he
explained. "The chief is going
to spare you five minutes at
once. Come along and I'll show
Inspector Jacks took up his
hat and followed his acquaintance
to the private room of the Home
Secretary. That personage nodded
to him upon his entrance and
continued to dictate a letter.
When he had finished, he sent
his clerk out of the room and,
motioning Mr. Jacks to take a
seat by his side, leaned back
in his own chair with the air
of one prepared to relax for
a moment. He was a man of somewhat
insignificant presence, but he
had keen gray eyes, half the
time concealed under thick eyebrows,
and flashing out upon you now
and then at least expected moments.
"From Scotland Yard, I understand,
Mr. Jacks?" he remarked.
"At your service, sir," the
Inspector answered. "I am in
charge of the investigations
concerning these two recent murders."
"Quite so," the Home Secretary
remarked. "I am very glad to
meet you, Mr. Jacks. So far,
I suppose, you are willing to
admit that you gentlemen down
at Scotland Yard have not exactly
"We are willing to admit that," Inspector
"I do not know whether the
reward will help you very much," the
Home Secretary continued. "So
far as you people personally
are concerned, I imagine that
it will make no difference. The
only point seems to be that it
may bring you outside help which
at the present time is being
"The offering of the reward,
sir," Inspector Jacks said, "can
do no harm, and it may possibly
assist us very materially."
"I am glad to have your opinion,
Mr. Jacks," the Home Secretary
There was a moment's pause.
The Minister trifled with some
papers lying on the desk before
him. Then he turned to his visitor
"You will forgive
my reminding you, Mr. Jacks,
that I am a busy
man and that this is a busy morning.
You had some reason, I presume,
for wishing to see me?"
"I had, sir," the Inspector
answered. "I took the liberty
of waiting upon you, sir, to
ask whether the idea of a reward
for so large a sum came spontaneously
from your department?"
The Home Secretary raised his
"Really, Mr. Jacks," he
"I hope, sir," the Inspector
protested, "that you will not
think I am asking this question
through any irrelevant curiosity.
I am beginning to form a theory
of my own as to these two murders,
but it needs building up. The
offering of a reward like this,
if it emanates from the source
which I suspect that it does,
gives a solid foundation to my
theories. I am here, sir, in
the interests of justice only,
and I should be exceedingly obliged
to you if you would tell me whether
the suggestion of this large
reward did not come from the
The Minister considered for
several moments, and then slowly
inclined his head.
"Mr. Jacks," he said, "your
question appears to me to be
a pertinent one. I see not the
slightest reason to conceal from
you the fact that your surmise
is perfectly accurate."
A flash of satisfaction illuminated
for a moment the detective's
inexpressive features. He rose
and took up his hat.
"I am very much obliged to
you, sir," he said. "The information
which you have given me is extremely
"I am glad to hear you say
so," the Home Secretary declared. "You
understand, of course, that it
is within the province of my
department to assist at all times
and in any possible way the course
of justice. Is there anything
more I can do for you?"
Inspector Jacks hesitated.
"If you would not think it
a liberty, sir," he said, "I
should be very glad indeed if
you would give me a note which
would insure me an interview
with Sir Edward Bransome."
"I will give it you with pleasure," the
Secretary answered, "although
I imagine that he would be quite
willing to see you on your own
He wrote a few lines and passed
them over. Inspector Jacks saluted,
and turned towards the door.
"You'll let me know if anything
turns up?" the Home Secretary
"You shall be informed at once,
sir," the Inspector assured him,
a as he left the room.
Sir Edward Bransome was just
leaving his house when Inspector
Jacks entered the gate. The latter,
who knew him by sight, saluted
and hesitated for a moment.
"Did you wish to speak to me?" Sir
Edward asked, drawing back from
the step of his electric brougham.
The Inspector held out his
letter. Sir Edward tore it open
and glanced through the few lines
which it contained. Then he looked
keenly for a moment at the man
who stood respectfully by his
"So you are Inspector Jacks
from Scotland Yard," he remarked.
"At your service, sir," the
"You can get in with me, if
you like," Sir Edward continued,
motioning toward the interior
of his brougham. "I am due in
Downing Street now, but I dare
say you could say what you wish
to on the way there."
"Certainly, sir," Inspector
Jacks answered. "It will be very
good of you indeed if you can
spare me those few minutes."
The brougham glided away.
"Now, Mr. Jacks," Sir Edward
said, "what can I do for you?
If you want to arrest me, I shall
The Inspector smiled.
"I am in charge, sir," he said, "of
the investigations concerning
the murder of Mr. Hamilton Fynes
and Mr. Richard Vanderpole. The
news of the reward came to us
at Scotland Yard this morning.
Its unusual amount led me to
make some injuries at the Home
Office. I found that what I partly
expected was true. I found, sir,
that your department has shown
some interest in the apprehension
of these two men."
Sir Edward inclined his head
"Sir Edward Bransome," the
Inspector continued, "I have
a theory of my own as to these
murders, and though it may take
me some time to work it out,
I feel myself day by day growing
nearer the truth. These were
not ordinary crimes. Any one
can see that. They were not even
crimes for the purpose of robbery--not,
that is to say, for robbery in
the ordinary sense of the word.
That is apparent even to those
who write for the Press. It has
been apparent to us from the
first. It is beginning to dawn
upon me now what the nature of
the motive must be which was
responsible for them. I have
in my possession a slight, a
very slight clue. The beginning
of it is there, and the end.
It is the way between which is
Sir Edward lit a cigarette
and leaned back amongst the cushions.
With a little gesture he indicated
his desire that Inspector Jacks
"My object in seeking for a
personal interview with you,
sir," Inspector Jacks continued, "is
to ask you a somewhat peculiar
question. If I find that my investigations
lead me in the direction which
at present seems probable, it
is no ordinary person whom I
shall have to arrest when the
time comes. The reward which
has been offered is a large one,
and it is not for me to question
the bona fide nature of it. I
would not presume, sir, even
to ask you whether it was offered
by reason of any outside pressure,
but there is one question which
I must ask. Do you really wish,
sir, that the murderer or murderers
of these two men shall be brought
Sir Edward looked at his companion
in steadfast amazement.
"My dear Inspector," he said, "what
is this that you have in your
mind? I hold no brief for any
man capable of such crimes as
these. Representations have been
made to us by the American Government
that the murder of two of her
citizens within the course of
twenty-four hours, and the absence
of any arrest, is somewhat of
a reflection upon our police
service. It is for your assistance,
and in compliment to our friends
across the Atlantic, that the
reward was offered."
Inspector Jacks seemed a little
at a loss.
"It is your wish, then, sir," he
said slowly, "that the guilty
person or persons be arrested
without warning, whoever they
"By all means," Sir Edward
affirmed. "I cannot conceive,
Inspector, what you have in your
mind which could have led you
for a moment to suspect the contrary."
The brougham had come to a
standstill in front of a house
in Downing street. Inspector
Jacks descended slowly. It was
hard for him to decide on the
spot how far to take into his
confidence a person whose attitude
was so unsympathetic.
"I am exceedingly obliged to
you for your answer to my question,
sir," he said, saluting. "I hope
that in a few days we shall have
some news for you."
Sir Edward watched him disappear
as he mounted the steps of the
Prime Minister's house.
"I wonder," he said to himself
thoughtfully, "what that fellow
can have in his mind!"
Inspector Jacks did not at
once return to Scotland Yard.
On his way there he turned into
St. James' Square, and stood
for several moments looking at
the corner house on the far side.
Finally, after a hesitation which
seldom characterized his movements,
he crossed the road and rang
the bell. The door was opened
almost at once by a Japanese
"Is your master at home?" the
"His Highness does not see
strangers," the man replied coldly.
"Will you take him my card?" the
The man bowed, and showed him
into an apartment on the ground
floor. Then with the card in
his hand, he turned reluctantly
"His Highness shall be informed
that you are here," he said. "I
fear, however, that you waste
your time. I go to see."
Inspector Jacks subsided into
a bamboo chair and looked out
of the window with a frown upon
his forehead. It was certain
that he was not proceeding with
altogether his usual caution.
As a matter of tactics, this
visit of his might very well