Skyscraper Horror by Paul Chadwick
"Wade Hammond" Bucks the Egotist of Crime
THE face of Daugherty, night watchman on the fiftieth floor of the
Empire Towers Building, was putty-hued. His voice was a rasping
"There it is now--you can see it out there, Mr. Hammond!"
Leaning far out of the window he pointed with one trembling
Wade Hammond, newspaper man and special investigator of crime,
bent forward eagerly. The dim light from a hallway bulb shone on his
lean, tanned face with its thin mustache line. His eyes were steel
He still had newspaper connections. He had come up here to
investigate a wild rumor, a story which might make some good copy.
His attitude toward the whole thing had been jocular. But he wasn't
smiling now. He, too, saw something moving along the wall of this
most giant of skyscrapers. His scalp tingled and his heart beat
faster. It was unthinkable that any living thing could creep along
the building's glass-smooth exterior.
The watchman's voice sounded hoarsely in his ear.
"It's the ghost of one of the workmen who was killed when they was
putting 'er up. The place is haunted. No guy could crawl around out
Wade clutched the man's arm tensely.
"It's parallel with this floor," he said, "about twenty windows
away. You have the keys. We'll see if we can't get closer."
The watchman shook his head.
"It won't do any good, Mr. Hammond. It'll be gone when you get
there. I tried it before. It's always gone when you get close."
The eeriness of the night seemed to envelop them. The prickly
sensation along Wade's scalp increased. It was quiet up here. The
traffic noises came in a sound that was no more than the faint wash
of a distant sea. A maze of streets showed far below. The motor cars
were tiny beetles with phosphorescent eyes. The people were
infinitesimal dots, fusing and separating like microbes in a
"Give me the keys anyway," said Wade.
With the watchman following him shakily he ran back along the
hallway to a point opposite the spot where the mysterious shadow had
He found the right key, plunged it into the lock, and entered a
large suite of offices. He strode across a rug, reached a window and
threw it up, then cautiously thrust his head out and stared along the
sides of the building. There was a tightness in his throat now, a
feeling of tenseness and dread that he could not even explain to
himself. What was that thing he had seen on the building's face so
high above the street?
There was nothing visible now. The smooth expanse of the wall
showed no ghostly blur. But he had seen it, and the watchman had seen
it on other nights. It had been spoken of in whispers by the night
employees of the building. It had grown into a spine-chilling
He swiveled his eyes in all directions. Here and there on the
skyscraper's gigantic face, lights still showed in office windows
where some busy executive or clerk was working late. Far overhead, on
the eightieth floor, the windows of the Skyrocket Club, where
hundreds of pleasure seekers came nightly, emitted a corona-like
He drew in his head and closed the window, deeply puzzled.
"I'll stick around and maybe we'll see it again," he said, turning
to the watchman who had trailed into the office after him. The man
shook his head.
"It generally don't show up more than once in a night. It gets
scared off I guess."
Wade laughed jerkily. "Then I'll go home and turn in. I'll drop in
to see you again tomorrow night--and I'll bring the biggest electric
flash I can lay my hands on."
He said good-night to the watchman, then descended to the ground
floor in one of the plummeting elevators. It was a mystery all right,
a big one, but, so far, the crime element hadn't entered into it; and
there was hardly enough material for a story as yet.
ON the pavement, in the act of lighting a cigarette, he stopped
dead short. His head jerked up. A familiar sound reached his ears,
seeming to fill the whole air. It was a banshee-like wail echoing and
re-echoing along the street's dark canyon. A siren!
The sound came closer. The traffic stopped to let a long
blue-bodied car with glaring headlights slip through. The next moment
Wade drew in his breath. For the speeding car was from police
headquarters and it was drawing up before the entrance of the
chromium-sheathed Empire Towers Building.
Two plainclothes men sprang out, then a familiar figure--an
owlish-faced man of middle age. Wade stepped forward smiling.
"Hello, there--what's all the excitement, inspector?"
Inspector Thompson, Homicide Bureau head, turned. His gimlet eyes
focused on Wade.
"What are you doing here?" he countered.
"Looking for ghosts, chief--I just saw one uptop."
A strange expression crossed the inspector's face. He came closer
to Wade. His voice was grim.
"Ghosts, is it? That's not all that's been going on up there
tonight. There's been a murder, Wade. You're at the right spot at the
right time. Come along."
The smile on Wade's face faded. Cold fingers seemed to pass over
his flesh. Somehow his hunch had been warning him of a sinister
something in the air; a sense of impending tragedy. He turned and
followed the old man-hunter. Thompson and he had worked on some tough
cases together. Someone had dubbed them "Twins of Trouble," though
there was thirty years' difference in their ages. He asked no
questions, but he got the details as they shot skyward in an express
Thompson spoke from the corner of his mouth, in abrupt
"Jacob Schmelzer's been murdered--shot. You know who he is--the
big-time meatpacker. He and his brother are the kingpins of the
industry. Rich is no name for it. This is going to raise hell, Wade.
I'm glad you're here. When a big guy's bumped off there's always a
lot of publicity. That's why I came--to see that my boys don't pull a
boner. It's the sort of thing that's got to be cleaned up quick."
Wade nodded, still silent. What connection, if any, did the
ghostly shadow he had seen bear to this murder? And ought he to
mention it to the practical-minded Thompson?
For a full minute they stayed in the rocketing elevator, then
changed to a second car. At the seventy-first floor they got out and
walked down a corridor to the door of a palatial suite of offices.
Across the glass paneling the words "Schmelzer Bros." were written in
conservative lettering. From inside came a buzz of voices.
The talking ceased as Thompson and Wade entered. The place was
alive with men from the Homicide Squad. A beefy-faced cop loomed near
the door of the inner office. A pale, slim girl was standing at one
side of the room, biting her lips and staring aimlessly about out of
worried eyes. A plainclothes man jerked his thumb toward her.
"That's Miss Crocker, chief--the stenog who heard the shot. Her
story sounds a little phony."
Thompson stepped forward and faced the girl. "Tell us about it,"
Wade listened, eyeing the secretary closely. Her voice trembled.
She was obviously wrought up.
"We were working late," she said. "Mr. Schmelzer told me to
stay--to take a few more notes. I waited in the main office. An hour
must have passed. Then I heard what sounded like a shot. I ran to Mr.
Schmelzer's door and tried to open it, but it was locked. So I phoned
the building superintendent and he got a policeman. They broke open
the door and--found--him."
Thompson nodded and pursed up his lips.
"Thanks, Miss Crocker, I'll want to talk to you again later."
He beckoned to Wade and together they entered Schmelzer's private
Wade looked curiously at the figure sitting propped up before the
big mahogany desk, arms sprawled out and head hanging loosely.
Jacob Schmelzer's eyes were open, glazed in death, and a trickle
of crimson ran down from his white head to form a pool on the desk
A detective joined them.
"Someone propped him in his chair after the killing, chief," he
said. "There's some spots of blood over there near the window."
Wade turned and looked. The smooth, velvety green of the expensive
carpet was broken by dark, sinister stains.
HE went closer and examined the dead man. It was incomprehensible
to him why a bullet wound had been inflicted in such a spot. For the
gaping hole that had caused the millionaire's death was directly in
the top of his head.
"It's like I phoned you, chief," the detective said. "The door was
locked on the inside. There ain't no other exits to this office but
"And this is seventy stories up! How could a guy come in by a
As though to convince himself of the impossibility of it, Thompson
went over and threw the sash up. Wade saw that the window was
unlocked. He joined the inspector and stared down the side of the
building toward the streets far below.
"The killer might have come down a rope from one of the floors
above," he said softly.
Thompson nodded. "I thought of that. It's the only explanation if
the girl ain't lying."
"You don't think she could have lifted Schmelzer off the floor and
to his chair?" asked Wade skeptically.
"Maybe she had a boyfriend."
"But the door was locked on the inside."
"That could have been fixed. I've seen it done. We'll keep an eye
Wade shrugged. "I'm going to take a look at the windows of the
floors above this one."
"Go high enough and you'll strike the Skyrocket Club," said
Thompson. "They've got the top on a ten-year lease."
Wade nodded. He remained silent about the thing he had seen--the
"Skyscraper Horror" that crept along the building's face. But he had
a growing hunch that there was something weird and grotesquely
sinister about this affair; something unknown and unguessed.
With the help of the building superintendent he followed the
floors up one by one. The office directly over Schmelzer's was empty
and the dust on the windowsills had not been disturbed. He could find
no trace of an intruder in any of the other offices he visited.
Before the police downstairs had finished their routine
examination, Wade reached the level on which the nightclub was
located. He displayed his special investigator's card to the
uniformed attendant at the door. "I'd like to see the manager," he
A HEAD WAITER led him between rows of tables and around a dance
floor where couples were swaying to the sensuous strains of a jazz
band. They reached the large private office where Russ Vogel, owner
and manager of the Skyrocket Club, conducted his business.
Vogel, suave and bald-headed, rose from his chair. "What's this I
hear--a murder downstairs---old Schmelzer killed?"
Wade nodded. "You know about it, then?"
"It's all over the building. Manny's gone down to get the
"Yes--Manny Arden, my partner."
Wade recalled the name of the ex-gangster with a start. Manny
Arden, so rumor had it, had been connected with a booze racket on a
grand scale, until he had quit to join Vogel in an even more
For ten minutes Wade chatted with the manager, sizing him up. Then
he took a look around the night club, paying particular attention to
the windows on the side of the building above Schmelzer Bros.'
When he descended to the seventy-first floor again there were
three newcomers in the Schmelzer suite--Manny Arden, Jacob
Schmelzer's brother, Manfred, and his nephew Arnold Bassett.
Manfred Schmelzer was like the dead man in appearance, save that
he was a bit stockier. Bassett, a thin blue-eyed young man, had a
pleasant but aloof manner. It was Manny Arden who attracted Wade's
The ex-gangster, who was evidently well acquainted with the
Schmelzers, had the look of his type. Under a surface polish there
were indications of cunning and brutality. He had hard eyes, mean
lips and wore a veiled hostile expression.
Wade exchanged a few words, then drifted on to the group of
detectives around Inspector Thompson.
"Any luck, chief?"
Thompson turned. "Not much. The motive was robbery. But that's all
"Yes, Schmelzer's safe was opened and a thousand in cash was
taken. His brother and nephew agree to that. They remember that the
money was sent in from the bank this morning."
"The murderer went to a lot of trouble for one grand," said Wade,
a shade of doubt in his voice.
Thompson ignored the implication.
"Doctor Morgan is going to perform an autopsy tonight," he said.
"When we get the bullet that killed Schmelzer we may have more to
work on. I think that secretary of his may figure in this. She isn't
as dumb as she looks. Maybe it's a love triangle as well as robbery.
An old guy with a young sweetie, and all that sort of stuff."
Wade's face was serious. He hung around while the police searched
for clues and cross-questioned Miss Crocker without shaking her
story. He left at midnight, after Jacob Schmelzer's body had been
removed to a spot where the medical examiner could probe for the
HE clatter of the telephone jerked Wade out of peaceful slumber.
Milk wagons were rattling in the street outside. The clock showed
six. He picked up the receiver, and the voice of Inspector Thompson
buzzed excitedly in his ear.
"Here's some news for you, Hammond, on that Schmelzer killing.
It's hot stuff."
"Shoot! Don't keep me in suspense."
"Listen--and laugh this off if you can." There was a dramatic
pause at the end of the wire, then Thompson spoke harshly. "Doc
Morgan did his work on Schmelzer--and there wasn't any bullet! Get
that, Wade, a guy shot, and no lead in his head!"
"No bullet!" Wade spoke explosively. Then he whistled. The full
significance of the thing grew on him. It was a weird turn of events.
It made him think again of that fleeting ghostly shadow that crept
along the Empire Towers Building.
"The doc couldn't have made a mistake, I suppose," he
"No--he's not the type." Thompson's voice grew complaining, then
sardonic. "We'll have to look for a gun that kills without bullets.
Let me know if you get any bright ideas."
After he had hung up, Wade paced the floor of his apartment,
smoking cigarettes. His gaunt, young-old face looked troubled.
Thompson's grim joke had set him to thinking. A gun that didn't fire
bullets! Where had he heard of such a thing?
A half-hour later he had dressed, breakfasted, and was on his way
to the Empire Towers Building. He ascended to the fiftieth floor
where he had seen the "ghost" on the previous evening. He got in
touch with the day superintendent and received permission to examine
the outside of the structure.
With the help of one of the janitors and a piece of rope he
climbed out of a window and lowered himself a few feet. He was
intent, oblivious of danger. He did not look down. Then he nodded to
himself as though in silent agreement of some theory he had worked
Frowning intently, Wade climbed back through the window. He
ascended to the seventy-first floor this time, to the Schmelzer
offices. It was too early for the office help to be there. The body
of Jacob Schmelzer no longer reposed gruesomely in the chair. But a
couple of plainclothes men were on duty, and the telltale bloodstains
near the window were still in evidence.
Wade remembered his promise to the watchman, Daugherty. The ghost
might walk again tonight, and if it did he intended to be there.
A CURTAIN of darkness lay upon the city. It seemed to hang over
the Empire Towers Building like a sinister pall. A clock in Madison
Square boomed eight times. A chill wind blew off the river, making
Wade turn up the collar of his coat.
For half an hour he had been patrolling the ledge that ran around
the building at the forty-fifth floor. The street was far below, too
far to give aid if he should be attacked; too far, in spite of its
teeming myriads, to give him a feeling of human companionship.
But he was not alone tonight. At the other edge of the ledge, half
the length of a city block away, one of Thompson's picked men was
stationed; a veteran detective of the Homicide Squad.
Wade knew he could depend on this man, Grady by name; but he knew
also that they were fighting something, some human fiend, whose
methods were outside the realm of everyday police experience. And
each time he walked to the center of the ledge and saw Grady's rugged
bulk, he had a feeling of relief. When they were on opposite ends,
the night shut them in, set them apart, and each man was thrown on
his own initiative.
An hour passed, and Wade kept up his slow, sentry-like pacing. In
the pocket of his overcoat was a long-barreled flashlight and a
snub-nosed Colt automatic. The rubber butt of it gave him a feeling
of reassurance. It had been with him on many a strange adventure.
Every few seconds he leaned over the low stone railing and gazed
down along the side of the building, or looked up to where the dim
light of the stars made the facing visible. But clouds blew across
the sky now, darkening it with black wraithlike fingers. Still he
could see the structure's smooth exterior, for here and there an
office window was lighted. Manfred Schmelzer, with his brother's
secretary, Miss Crocker, was at work tonight straightening out the
confusion in the affairs of the company that Jacob's death had
caused. The power of the Almighty Dollar must not be dimmed even by
the Grim Reaper.
But a plainclothes man patrolled the corridor outside Schmelzer's
door. Another was stationed inside the office.
Wade felt the need of a cigarette. His fingers toyed with the
package inside his coat pocket. His brain toyed with the idea of
smoking. Then suddenly he crouched and stiffened.
Out of the night, in the gloom that hid Detective Grady from his
eyes, came a ghastly cry. It was the cry of a man in mortal terror;
the cry of a man who is face to face with death. Like a mad thing
Wade leaped forward. Whipping his gun and flashlight out he dashed
along the narrow ledge. He sent the long beam probing ahead.
The cry came again, muffled and gasping. The ray of the flashlight
picked out a struggling figure--two--then magically one again. Wade
fired into the air. His breath came in gasps. His teeth were
A form was half over the narrow railing. A white face struggling
to retain its hold on life was turned toward Wade. Hands clutched at
stone in an effort to stay off the plunge that would spell
Wade reached the side of the detective before he slipped over. He
pulled the man back, heaved him onto the ledge, where he lay gasping
and almost sobbing.
"What happened? Where did he come from?"
Wade hurled the questions harshly; then saw that they were
momentarily useless. Grady was too winded to answer, and on his
forehead was a large lump, a bruise.
While the detective was recovering his breath and gathering his
dazed faculties, Wade turned his flashlight up and down the face of
the building. But the thing, the horror, had gone.
"It--slipped--down--from--above," croaked Grady. "It grabbed me,
struck me, and tried to throw me over. I fought back. If you hadn't
"We'd better go inside," said Wade. "We'll call up headquarters
and have a squad of men search every office in the building."
"Wait," said Grady. "I can't move yet."
It was five minutes before the big detective could stand on his
feet. With Wade's help he reached the nearest doorway to the ledge.
The warm inside air touched their faces. They walked into the glowing
light of the corridor.
But a figure was running toward them--a detective, another
headquarters man. His face was drawn with excitement. He was waving
"Did you see him?" he cried. "Did he come here?"
"Yes," said Wade grimly. "Why? What's happened?"
"Happened!" The dick almost choked. "Plenty, Hammond--plenty! The
other Schmelzer got it, too--murdered. The nightclub's been robbed.
There's hell to pay."
"What!" Wade ripped out the one word, then became electrified into
action. "I thought you boys were guarding Schmelzer?"
"We were--until they telephoned down that the nightclub had been
robbed. Then we went up--and Schmelzer was dead when we got back. The
place is surrounded now. Every dick on the force is coming here."
"Where's Vogel and Manny Arden?" said Wade.
"Vogel's upstairs. We don't know where Arden is."
"Ah!" Wade's breath hissed between tight lips.
HE was off down the corridor, jabbing the elevator button. He was
cursing himself for a blunder, for not anticipating this. Out of the
confused series of happenings he was beginning to see a pattern. The
secret lay there with a man whose brain rose to hysterical heights of
cunning. A supreme egotist of crime who thought he could lick the
The elevator shot Wade up to the nightclub.
"Where's Arden?" he gasped, collaring the manager, Vogel.
"Haven't seen him for an hour. I've forgot about him in the
excitement. Our guests have been robbed--all their jewelry and money
Wade wheeled on a couple of detectives who seemed to be wandering
futilely about. His voice cracked with authority.
"Go down through every office and every vacant room. Find Manny
They turned to obey him and he followed after. They covered floor
after floor, probing with flashlights, searching closets and
Sergeant Terrant was there, red-faced and perspiring, a veteran
hunter of murderers, and an old friend of Wade's. They reached the
end of the corridor. Terrant threw up a window and leaned out.
Then his face turned a sickly white. They all heard it. Up out of
the darkness came a sound, a scream high-pitched and terrible, a cry
that was almost unearthly. Again and again it came beating
intolerably on the eardrums. Then it stopped as abruptly as it had
sounded, seeming to leave a hole in the darkness.
Somewhere a telephone jangled. A detective answered it.
"They're calling from below," he said hoarsely. "They've found
him--the murderer. That was him we heard slipping. He fell."
They all got into the elevator car and stood silently while it
descended. Wade's face was inscrutable.
On the pavement, inside the police cordon, a group of men were
bent over something. Inspector Thompson was there. The dark object on
the pavement did not move. It was sprawled horribly. Crimson ran from
it. Wade came close.
"That's him," said Thompson, "the robber and murderer. He's got
the jewels and the money in his pockets. He fell--trying to get
away--and it served him right."
Wade saw the distorted, mutilated face of Manny Arden. He saw the
detectives holding the stolen loot in their hands. And suddenly he
bent down and touched one of the dead man's hands.
He recoiled as though in horror, but it was something else, some
other emotion that snapped his figure erect.
"Feel them--feel his hands, inspector. They're cold--he's been
dead a half hour or more."
"What!" Thompson was bending down, reaching with trembling fingers
for the exgangster's lifeless hands.
"My God--he's right. What does this mean, Wade?"
"It means that this is a trick--the murderer's still at large.
We're dealing with a man who might have been a genius if he wasn't a
maniac--a man who has overreached himself. Keep your men posted,
chief. Don't let anybody in or out of the building."
Wade turned and dashed back in himself, ignoring the order that he
had prescribed for others. He took the elevator to the first set-back
ledge. He dashed out of it, along the corridor and out the first
door. His flashlight was stabbing in all directions. He ran along the
ledge probing the darkness. Then his whole body stiffened. Ahead of
him something black showed, a snakelike coil of wire. It was moving
He ran toward it; but it jerked up, disappeared. He turned his
flashlight aloft, gasped and whipped out his gun. But in that instant
something huge and black descended upon him. A sound like the snarl
of an animal was in his ears. Arms locked around his body.
If the attack had not been so swift, so unexpected, he would not
have gone down. As it was he fought tigerishly; fought, and felt his
gun kicked out of his hand; felt something striking against his
shoulder and reaching for his head.
He breathed through clenched teeth. His muscles were straining.
Spots of light danced before his eyes. Then with a mighty effort he
hurled his assailant off and stumbled backwards himself, striking his
skull against metal. He arose groggily to his feet, prepared for a
new attack. But none came.
The dark bulk on the ledge was running toward the corner of the
building with rat-like quickness. A voice suddenly sounded, muffled
"One more to go--a woman, this time."
The words were followed by a brutal, mocking laugh. There was a
faint clicking sound. Then the human ghost disappeared from sight,
seemed to leap up the side of the building and whisk around a
WADE'S gun and flashlight were gone. He did not attempt to
retrieve them. He had a sense of all-pervading horror; but his quick
mind jumped and sought to answer the riddle of those mocking
words--"a woman this time." There was only one he could think
of--Miss Crocker. She had been closely associated with the murdered
brothers. She might have information that would make her dangerous to
the killer. Was her life to be snuffed out, too, by this assassin who
slew with a bulletless gun?
There were harsh, bitter lines in Wade Hammond's face now. He
sprang forward toward the door of the building. There might still be
time to save the girl--if he could prevent the murderer from reaching
He dashed along a corridor, reached with groping fingers for a
wall telephone. His voice was snapping.
"Give me the head electrician. Yes, this is Wade Hammond speaking.
It's a police order. Turn off the lights--throw the main switch--cut
off all power in the building. Quick--now!"
He stood tensely, silently as the corridor lights winked out, as
the whole vast edifice was plunged in darkness. The seconds seemed
like an eternity, until he heard what he was listening for.
It was a sound, a scream again. And this time it was a scream that
he would never forget to his dying day; a scream that whipped past
the windows with the onrush of a falling body; a scream that
continued on downward fainter and fainter till it was lost in
And Wade knew that he had cheated the law, put a murderer to death
as surely as though he had thrown the switch of an electric
He picked up the telephone again.
"Lights on," he said. "Thanks, old man."
He was fumbling for a cigarette as he pressed the elevator button.
He was puffing on it as he descended to the street floor. And he came
out of the vestibule with the calmness of a man who knows what he
Detectives were swearing outside. Inspector Thompson's voice was
the loudest of the lot.
"What the hell--is it raining bodies tonight? That's the second
man who's fallen. We'd better get the fire nets to catch 'em!"
"There won't be any more," said Wade quietly. "There's the real
murderer. There's a scientific genius for you--look at that
contraption on his body. I had to take a chance that he would fall
inside your police line down here and not hit anyone."
"Who is it? What's he got on?"
"Arnold Bassett," said Wade softly. "Old Schmelzer's nephew--a man
who had ambitions to inherit all the millions in the packing
industry; a man who committed a couple of robberies and an extra
murder just to throw us off the trail."
"And what are those things on his wrists?"
"Magnets," said Wade. "He's got them strapped to his knees, too.
That thing on his back is a smallsize transformer, stepping up the
current Lord knows how many volts. He's the greatest human fly you'll
ever see, chief. He's a man who saw the possibilities in a building
faced with chromium steel, and who equipped himself to move up and
down it and around it as easily as you and I walk on the pavement.
He's a man who planned the deaths of his uncles weeks or months in
"And what made him fall like that?"
"I am responsible for it," said Wade, his voice hard. "It was a
question of Miss Crocker's life or his. He was going up to finish her
off, because she knew too much--or he was afraid she did. I ordered
the power switch thrown. Bassett here depended on a wire attached to
the light circuit to operate his electro-magnets.
"The four metal plates at his wrists and knees must have had a
make-and-break contact system so that when the top ones were gripping
the lower ones were free. He could draw himself up like an inch worm.
But with the current off his grip was gone and he fell."
"What made you get onto him, Wade?" Inspector Thompson's tone held
"I noticed some scratches his metal plates had made on the
building--and see here--"
Wade reached down and pulled something out of the dead man's
pocket. It looked like an ordinary automatic pistol, except that
there was no opening at its end; nothing but a round piece of metal
that fitted inside the barrel. Wade held the weapon up.
"We knew that a bullet-less gun had been used. It sounded
phony--but I had heard of such a gun. Here it is--the kind used in
slaughterhouses to kill cattle. The bolt always remains in the
barrel. There is a rim on the inside end of it to hold it in. It is
like a piston that the powder explosion drives forward four or five
inches, but does not let it leave the barrel. This vent at the side
of the barrel allows the gases of the explosion to escape when the
bolt has reached the limit of its movement. Bassett probably tapped
on the glass, and when his Uncle Jacob came forward to open the
window and look out, Bassett shot him through the head with the gun
held close. He propped him in his chair afterward to make the killing
look even more fantastic.
"The use of such a weapon made me suspect someone familiar with
the packing industry. When I saw Manny Arden's dead body with the
jewelry and money planted on him, I knew who the killer must be. He
had, of course, killed Arden in advance, before he staged the
robbery. That first scream of Bassett's was a good imitation of a man
falling. But the second one was genuine enough---too genuine for
Wade took out a pocket handkerchief and mopped his glistening
"I had to do it, chief, to save the life of an innocent girl. He
would have gone to the chair anyway. I finished him by having the
current turned off instead of on. Just a mere technicality."