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The Spike or Victoria College Review October 1929

Chapter VII

Chapter VII.

"Now, let me get your story straight, Dagg," said the High Chief Commissioner to the man sitting before him. "Somebody chuckled. The lights went out. I shot the cat. You got a crack on the head. When you woke up, there was Kant going through your pockets."

"That's right," said Second Assistant Chief Deputy Divisional Detective Superintendent Ardshott Dagg. "And the room was full of millions and millions of corpses, every one of them barbariously mutilated."

"Good," said the Chief.

"Eh?" said Dagg, startled.

"One thing at a time," said the Chief. "The problem is—"

"Who done it," decided Dagg.

"Brainy. Brainy," commended the Chief. "You have a penetrating intellect, Dagg."

Dagg made an effort to look like a gimlet.

"First of all," said the Chief, "who was it that chuckled?"

"The Mucker," said Dagg, promptly.

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"A most brilliant guess," said the Chief, "but wrong. It was the cat."

"What!" exclaimed Dagg.

"Yes," said the Honourable Citron Peale. "I taught that chuckle to the cat myself. It was a Cheshire cat—a most intelligent creature. Poor Angelica, poor Angelica."

He turned aside to wipe away the tear that glistened in his eye. With a sympathy born of loyalty, Dagg turned aside also and blew his nose.

"Let us be strong," said the Chief, resuming his professional manner. "The next question is: Who killed Angelica?"

"Why, you did yourself, sir," said Dagg.

"Wonderful, wonderful, Dagg," said the Chief, in a pleasant manner, "but wrong again. Let us, however, assume for the moment that I killed the cat. What comes next?"

"Who was it konked me," suggested Dagg.

"You have the gift of consecutive thought, Dagg," said the Chief. "Who, indeed, was it that konked you? Who would find it in his heart to konk you?"

"The Mucker," growled Dagg. "That blighter there." He pointed to the unconscious form of Kruschen Kant. The Honourable Citron Peale shook his head.

"Undoubtedly it was The Mucker who konked you, Dagg, but Kant is not The Mucker."

"Blimey Charley, sir," protested Dagg. "What about in there?" He jerked his thumb in the direction of the concealed door, which was now closed.

"Dagg," said the Chief kindly, "Kant is, next to myself, if I may be permitted to say so, the most amazing deteckative in the annals of crime. He was my collaborator in the dangerous and difficult business of hunting down The Mucker."

"But the corpses,"remonstrated the bewildered Dagg. "He hacked them about something cruel."

"I told him to do so," said the Chief calmly.

Dagg looked worried. "I really don't get you, sir," he said.

"They weren't corpses at all," said the High Chief Commissioner. "They were merely outsize rubber dolls made up to look like corpses. Wonderful jobs, too. Each doll was fitted up inside with an ingenious mechanism that permitted it to execute a variety of human movements. The Mucker played all sorts of monkey tricks with them. Sometimes he'd get tired of them and hack one or two of them about. That's why everybody's after him for murder."

"Lummy," gasped Dagg, "then he hasn't done any murder at all?"

"I wouldn't say that," said the Chief. "He had a shot at Kant, but one of his pets blew up in Kant's office, and that put us on the track. And he's killed Angelica. Poor Angelica! I'm going to get him for that, if for nothing else, Dagg."

Dagg shuddered at the look in the Chief's eyes.

"Rummy go, sir, fitting up a corpse factory, as you might say sir right here in Police Headquarters," he said uneasily.

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"Riddling the place with secret passages, too," added the Chief. "And secret doors and what not. One thing the Police will not stand, Dagg," he declared, glaring at his subordinate, "is to be poked borax at. It's blasphemy, that's what it is!"

"I say, Chief," said Dagg, in a disturbed voice, "who is the swine, anyway?"

The Chief looked at him solemnly.

"You—" he said.

Dagg's chair overturned with a crash as he sprang to his feet.