**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

The Radiograph Witness
by [?]

It was apparent that quick action was necessary if the mystery was ever to be solved. Kennedy evidently thought so, too, for he did not wait even until he returned to his laboratory to set in motion, through our old friend, Commissioner O’Connor, the machinery that would result in warrants to compel the attendance at the laboratory of all those interested in the case. Then he called up Dr. Leslie and finally Dr. Blythe himself.

Back again in the laboratory, Kennedy employed the time in developing some plates of the pictures he had taken, and by early evening, after a brief study of them, his manner indicated that he was ready.

Dr. Leslie, whom he had asked to come a little before the rest, arrived early, and a few moments later Dr. Blythe, very much excited by the message he had received.

“Have you found anything?” he asked eagerly. “I’ve been trying all sorts of tests myself, and I can’t prove the presence of a thing–not a thing.”

“Not ergot?” asked Kennedy quietly.

“No,” he cried, “you can’t prove anything–you can’t prove that she was poisoned by ergot.”

Dr. Leslie looked helplessly at Kennedy, but said nothing.

“Not until recently, perhaps, could I have proved anything,” returned Kennedy calmly. “Evidently you didn’t know, Dr. Blythe, that the first successful isolation of an alkaloid of ergot from the organs in a case of acute ergotism had been made by two Pittsburgh scientists. True, up to the present toxicologists had to rely on the physical properties of this fungus of rye for its identification. That may have made it seem like a safe poison to someone. But I have succeeded in isolating ergotinin from the sample of the contents of the organs of the poor girl.”

Without pausing, he picked up a beaker. “Here I have the residue left from an acid solution of an extract of the organs, treated with chloroform. It is, as you see, crystalline.”

In his other hand he held up another beaker. “Next I got the residue obtained by extraction of the acid aqueous liquid with ether. That, too, is crystalline.”

Kennedy displayed something in the shape of long needles, the sides of which were not quite parallel and the ends replaced by a pair of faces.

Quickly he dissolved some of the crystals in sulphuric acid. Then he added another chemical from a bottle labeled ferro chlorid. The liquid, as we bent over it, changed quickly to a brilliant orange, then a crimson, next a green, and finally became a deep blue.

“What he has derived from the body responds to all the chemical tests for ergotinin itself,” remarked Dr. Leslie, looking quickly across at Dr. Blythe.

Dr. Blythe said nothing.

I smelt of the stuff. Odors with me, as, I suppose, with other people, have a psychological effect, calling up scenes associated with them. This odor recalled something. I strove to recollect what it was. At last it came with a rush.

“The meat sauce!” I exclaimed involuntarily.

“Exactly,” replied Kennedy. “I have obtained that bottle. There was ergot in it, cleverly concealed by the natural smell and taste of the sauce. But who put it there? Who had the knowledge that would suggest using such a poison? Who had the motive? Who had been dining with her that fatal evening?”

Kennedy had no chance to answer his questions, even if he had intended to do so.

The door of the laboratory opened and Rita Tourville, in charge of one of O’Connor’s men, who looked as if he might have enjoyed it better if the lady had not been so angry, entered. Evidently O’Connor had timed the arrival closely to what Craig had asked, for scarcely a moment later Faber came whirling up in one of his own cars. Not a word passed between him and Rita, yet I felt sure that they had some understanding of each other. Leila arrived shortly, and it was noticeable that Rita avoided her, though for what reason I could not guess. Finally came Jacot, blustering, but, having made the officer the safety-valve of his mercurial feelings, quickly subsiding before us. Dr. Blythe appeared amazed at the quickness with which Kennedy moved now.