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The Solar Plexus
by [?]

It was after the dinner hour that we found ourselves at the Country Club again. Wyndham had not come back from the city, but Allison was there and had gathered together all the Club help so that Kennedy might question them.

He did question them down in the locker-room, I thought perhaps for the moral effect. The chef, whom I had suspected of knowing something, was there, but proved to be unenlightening. In fact, no one seemed to have anything to contribute. Quite the contrary. They could not even suggest a way in which the trunk might have been taken from the steward’s room.

“That’s not very difficult,” smiled Kennedy, as one after another the servants asserted that it would be impossible to get it around the turns in the stairs without making a noise. “Where was Benson’s room?”

The chef led the way to the door, that by which we had gone out before when we had seen the rubbish barrels.

“Up there,” he pointed, “on the third floor.”

There was no fire escape, nor were there any outside balconies, and I wondered how Craig would account for it.

“Someone might have lowered the trunk from the window by a rope, might they not?” he asked simply.

“Yes,” returned the chef, unconvinced. “But his door was locked and he had his keys in his pocket. How about that?”

“It doesn’t follow that he was killed in his room, does it?” asked Craig. “In fact it is altogether impossible that he could have been. Suppose he was killed outside. Might not someone have taken the keys from his pocket, gone up to the room without making any noise and let the trunk down here by a rope? Then if he had dropped the rope, locked the door, and returned the keys to Benson’s pockets–how about that?”

It was so simple and feasible that no one could deny it. Yet I could not see that it furthered us in solving the greater mystery.

We went up to the steward’s room and searched his belongings, without finding anything that merited even that expenditure of time.

However, Craig was confident now, although he did not say much, and by a late train we returned to the city in preference to using Mrs. Ferris’s car.

All the next day, Kennedy was engaged, either in his laboratory or on an errand that took him downtown during most of the middle of the day.

When he returned, I could tell by the look on his face that his quest, whatever it had been, had been successful.

“I found Wyndham–had a long talk with him,” was all he would say in answer to my questions, before he went back to whatever he was studying at the laboratory.

I had made some inquiries myself in the meantime, especially about Wyndham. As nearly as I could make out, the young men at Briar Lake were afflicted with a disease which is very prevalent–the desire to get rich quick. In that respect Fraser Ferris was no better than the rest. Nor was Irving Evans. Allan Wyndham had been a plunger almost from boyhood, and only the tight rein that his conservative father held over him had checked him. Sometimes the young men succeeded, and that had served only to whet their appetites for more easy money. But more often they had failed. In most cases, it seemed, Dean Allison’s firm had been the brokers through whom they dealt, particularly Wyndham.

In fact, with more time on my hands during the day than I knew what to do with, in the absence of Kennedy I had evolved several very pretty little theories of the case which involved the recouping of dissipated fortunes by marriage with the popular young heiress.

It was late in the afternoon that the telephone rang, and, as Craig was busy, I answered it.

“Oh, Mr. Jameson,” I heard Mrs. Ferris’s voice calling over long distance from Briar Lake anxiously, “is Mr. Kennedy there? Please let me speak to him.”