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Death on Pine Street
by [?]

A plump maid with bold green eyes and a loose, full-lipped mouth led me up two flights of steps and into an elaborately furnished boudoir, where a woman in black sat at a window. She was a thin woman of a little more than thirty, this murdered man’s widow, and her face was white and haggard.

“You are from the Continental Detective Agency?” she asked before I was two steps inside the room.


“I want you to find my husband’s murderer.” Her voice was shrill, and her dark eyes had wild lights in them. “The police have done nothing. Four days, and they have done nothing. They say it was a robber, but they haven’t found him. They haven’t found anything!”

“But, Mrs. Gilmore,” I began, not exactly tickled to death with this explosion, “you must —”

“I know! I know!” she broke in. “But they have done nothing, I tell you—nothing. I don’t believe they’ve made the slightest effort. I don’t believe they want to find h—him!”

“Him?” I asked, because she had started to say her. “You think it was a man?”

She bit her lip and looked away from me, out of the window to where San Francisco Bay, the distance making toys of its boats, was blue under the early afternoon sun.

“I don’t know,” she said hesitantly; “it might have —”

Her face spun toward me — a twitching face — and it seemed impossible that anyone could talk so fast, hurl words out so rapidly one after the other.

“I’ll tell you. You can judge for yourself. Bernard wasn’t faithful to me. There was a woman who calls herself Cara Kenbrook. She wasn’t the first. But I learned about her last month. We quarrelled. Bernard promised to give her up. Maybe he didn’t. But if he did, I wouldn’t put it past her — a woman like that would do anything — anything. And down in my heart I really believe she did it!”

“And you think the police don’t want to arrest her?”

“I didn’t mean exactly that. I’m all unstrung, and likely to say anything. Bernard was mixed up in politics, you know; and if the police found, or thought, that politics had anything to do with his death, they might — I don’t know just what I mean. I’m a nervous, broken woman, and full of crazy notions.” She stretched a thin hand out to me. “Straighten this tangle out for me! Find the person who killed Bernard!”

I nodded with empty assurance, still not any too pleased with my client.

“Do you know this Kenbrook woman?” I asked.

“I’ve seen her on the street, and that’s enough to know what sort of person she is!”

“Did you tell the police about her?”

“No-o.” She looked out of the window again, and then, as I waited, she added, defensively:

“The police detectives who came to see me acted as if they thought I might have killed Bernard. I was afraid to tell them that I had cause for jealousy. Maybe I shouldn’t have kept quiet about that woman, but I didn’t think she had done it until afterward, when the police failed to find the murderer. Then I began to think she had done it; but I couldn’t make myself go to the police and tell them that I had withheld information. I knew what they’d think. So I — You can twist it around so it’ll look as if I hadn’t known about the woman, can’t you?”

“Possibly. Now as I understand it, your husband was shot on Pine Street, between Leavenworth and Jones, at about three o’clock Tuesday morning. That right?”