Mr. Gryce was melancholy. He had attained that period in life when the spirits flag and enthusiasm needs a
constant spur, and of late there had been a lack of special excitement, and he felt dull and superannuated. He
was even contemplating resigning his position on the force and retiring to the little farm he had bought for
himself in Westchester; and this in itself did not tend to cheerfulness, for he was one to whom action was a
necessity and the exercise of his mental faculties more inspiring than any possible advantage which might
accrue to him from their use.
But he was not destined to carry out this impulse yet. For just at the height of his secret dissatisfaction there
came a telephone message to Headquarters which roused the old man to something like his former vigor and
gave to the close of this gray fall day an interest he had not expected to feel again in this or any other kind of
day. It was sent from Carter’s well-known drug store, and was to the effect that a lady had just sent a boy in
from the street to say that a strange crime had been committed in —-‘s mansion round the corner. The boy did
not know the lady, and was shy about showing the money she had given him, but that he had money was very
evident, also, that he was frightened enough for his story to be true. If the police wished to communicate with
him, he could be found at Carter’s, where he would be detained till an order for his release should be received.
A strange crime! That word “strange” struck Mr. Gryce, and made him forget his years in wondering what it
meant. Meanwhile the men about him exchanged remarks upon the house brought thus unexpectedly to their
notice. As it was one of the few remaining landmarks of the preceding century, and had been made
conspicuous moreover by the shops, club-houses, and restaurants pressing against it on either side, it had been
CHAPTER I. 3a marked spot for years even to those who knew nothing of its history or traditions.