The Circular Staircase (Chapter 5, page 1 of 7)


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Chapter 5

At ten o'clock the Casanova hack brought up three men. They introduced
themselves as the coroner of the county and two detectives from the
city. The coroner led the way at once to the locked wing, and with the
aid of one of the detectives examined the rooms and the body. The
other detective, after a short scrutiny of the dead man, busied himself
with the outside of the house. It was only after they had got a fair
idea of things as they were that they sent for me.

I received them in the living-room, and I had made up my mind exactly
what to tell. I had taken the house for the summer, I said, while the
Armstrongs were in California. In spite of a rumor among the servants
about strange noises--I cited Thomas--nothing had occurred the first
two nights. On the third night I believed that some one had been in
the house: I had heard a crashing sound, but being alone with one maid
had not investigated. The house had been locked in the morning and
apparently undisturbed.

Then, as clearly as I could, I related how, the night before, a shot
had roused us; that my niece and I had investigated and found a body;
that I did not know who the murdered man was until Mr. Jarvis from the
club informed me, and that I knew of no reason why Mr. Arnold Armstrong
should steal into his father's house at night. I should have been glad
to allow him entree there at any time.

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