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AN ARTIST IN CRIME

BY RODRIGUES OTTOLENGUI

G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS
NEW YORK LONDON
27 WEST TWENTY-THIRD STREET 24 BEDFORD STREET, STRAND
THE KNICKERBOCKER PRESS
1903


COPYRIGHT, 1892
BY
G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS

_Entered at Stationers' Hall, London_
BY G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS

The Knickerbocker Press, New Rochelle, N. Y.

* * * * *

By RODRIGUES OTTOLENGUI

+An Artist in Crime.+ 16, $1.00; paper, 50 cts.

+A Conflict of Evidence.+ 16, $1.00; paper, 50 cts.

+A Modern Wizard.+ 16, $1.00; paper, 50 cts.

+The Crime of the Century.+ 16, $1.00; paper, 50 cts.

+Final Proof, or, the Value of Evidence.+ 16, $1.00; paper, 50 cts.

G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS
NEW YORK & LONDON

* * * * *

CONTENTS.


CHAPTER PAGE
I. A GENTLEMAN THINKS HE CAN COMMIT
A CRIME AND ESCAPE DETECTION 1

II. A DARING AND SUCCESSFUL TRAIN ROBBERY 16

III. MR. BARNES DISCOVERS AN ARTISTIC
MURDER 30

IV. DIAMOND CUT DIAMOND 46

V. THE SEVENTH BUTTON 56

VI. MR. BARNES'S TRAP 75

VII. MR. RANDOLPH HAS A FIGHT WITH HIS
CONSCIENCE 95

VIII. LUCETTE 115

IX. THE DIARY OF A DETECTIVE 129

X. ALI BABA AND THE FORTY THIEVES 138

XI. MR. BARNES RECEIVES SEVERAL LETTERS 154

XII. THE HISTORY OF THE RUBY 169

XIII. MR. BARNES GOES SOUTH 189

XIV. AN INTERRUPTED WEDDING 208

XV. MR. MITCHEL EXPLAINS A FEW THINGS 223

XVI. MR. BARNES DISCOVERS A VALUABLE CLUE 239

XVII. A NEW YEAR'S DINNER PARTY 255

XVIII. MR. BARNES'S NARRATIVE 273




AN ARTIST IN CRIME.




CHAPTER I.

A GENTLEMAN THINKS HE CAN COMMIT A CRIME AND ESCAPE DETECTION.


"Jack Barnes never gets left, you bet."

"That was a close call, though," replied the Pullman porter who had
given Mr. Barnes a helping hand, in his desperate effort to board the
midnight express as it rolled out of Boston. "I wouldn't advise you to
jump on moving trains often."

"Thank you for your good advice, and for your assistance. Here's a
quarter for you. Show me to my section, I am nearly dead, I am so
tired."

"Upper ten, right this way, sir. It is all ready for you to turn in."

When Mr. Barnes entered the coach, no one was in sight. If there were
other passengers, they were abed. A few minutes later, he himself was
patting two little bags of feathers, and placing one atop of the other
in a vain attempt to make them serve as one pillow. He had told the
porter that he was tired, and this was so true that he should have
fallen asleep quickly. Instead, his brain seemed specially active, and
sleep impossible.

Mr. Barnes, Jack Barnes, as he called himself to the porter, was a
detective, and counted one of the shrewdest in New York, where he
controlled a private agency established by himself. He had just
completed what he considered a most satisfactory piece of work. A large
robbery had been committed in New York, and suspicion of the strongest
nature had pointed in the direction of a young man who had immediately
been arrested. For ten days the press of the country had been trying and
convicting the suspect, during which time Mr. Barnes had quietly left
the Metropolis. Twelve hours before we met him, those who read the
papers over their toast had been amazed to learn that the suspect was
innocent, and that the real criminal had been apprehended by the
keen-witted Jack Barnes. What was better, he had recovered the lost
funds, amounting to thirty thousand dollars.

He had had a long chase after his man, whom he had shadowed from city to
city and watched day and night, actuated to this course by a slight clue
in which he had placed his faith. Now, his man fast in a Boston prison,
he was on his way to New York for requisition papers. As he had said, he
was tired, yet despite his need of complete rest his thoughts persisted
in rehearsing all the intricate details of the reasoning which had at
last led him to the solution of the mystery. As he lay in his upper
berth awake these words reached his ears:

"If I knew that man Barnes was after me, I should simply surrender."

This promised to be the beginning of an entertaining conversation, and
as he could not sleep, Mr. Barnes prepared to listen. Extensive
experience as a detective had made him long ago forget the philosophic
arguments for and against eavesdropping. The voice which had attracted
him was low, but his ears were keen. He located it as coming from the
section next ahead of his, number eight. A second voice replied:

"I have no doubt that you would. But I wouldn't. You overestimate the
ability of the modern detective. I should actually enjoy being hounded
by one of them. It would be so much pleasure, and I think so easy, to
elude him."

The last speaker possessed a voice which was musical, and he articulated
distinctly, though he scarcely ventured above a loud whisper. Mr. Barnes
cautiously raised his head, arranging his pillows so that his ear would
be near the partition. Fortunately, the two men next to him had taken
the whole section, and the upper berth had been allowed to remain
closed. Mr. Barnes now found that he could readily follow the
conversation, which continued thus:

"But see how that Barnes tracked this Pettingill day and night until he
had trapped him. Just as the fellow supposed himself safe, he was
arrested. You must admit that was clever work."

"Oh, yes, clever enough in its way, but there was nothing specially
artistic about it. Not that the detective was to blame; it was the
fault of the criminal. There was no chance for the artistic." Yet Mr.
Barnes had used that very adjective to himself in commenting upon his
conduct of this case. The man continued: "The crime itself was
inartistic. Pettingill bungled, Barnes was shrewd enough to detect the
flaw, and with his experience and skill in such cases the end was
inevitable."

"It seems to me either that you have not read the full account of the
case, or else you do not appreciate the work of the detective. Why, all
the clue he had was a button."

"Ah! Only a button--but such a button! That is where I say that the
criminal was inartistic. He should not have lost that button."

"It was an accident I suppose, and one against which he could not have
guarded. It was one of the exigencies of his crime."

"Exactly so; and it is these little accidents, always unforeseen, though
always occurring, which hang so many, and jail so many, and give our
detectives such an easy road to fame. That is the gist of the whole
matter. It is an unequal game, this between the criminal and the
detective."

"I don't catch what you are driving at?"

"I'll give you a dissertation on crime. Attend! In ordinary business it
is brains _versus_ brains. The professional man contends with his
fellows, and if he would win the race towards fortune he must show more
brains. The commercial man competes with other tradesmen all as clever
as himself. So it goes from the lawyer to the locksmith, from the
preacher to the sign painter. It is brains rubbing against brains, and
we get the most polished thought as the result. Thus the science of
honest living progresses."

"What has this to do with the criminal class?"

"One moment. Let the philosopher teach you in his own way. With the
criminal it is different. He is matched against his superior. Those in
his own class do not contend with him; they are rather his partners, his
'pals,' as they term it. His only contention therefore is with the
detective who represents society and the law. No man, I suppose, is a
criminal from choice, and it is the criminal's necessity which leads to
his detection."

"Then all criminals should be caught."

"All criminals should be caught. That they are not is a strong argument
against your detective; for every criminal, we may say is actuated by
necessity, and therein lies the possibility of his defeat. For example:
You may claim that the expert burglar lays his plans in advance, and
that the crime being premeditated he should be able to make such careful
pre-arrangements that he could avoid leaving tell-tale marks behind him.
This, however, is rarely the case, for this reason: the unexpected
often, if not always, happens, and for that he has not prepared. In a
moment he sees prison ahead of him, and his fear steals away his
caution, so that, as we have seen, he does leave a clue behind him."

"But when you say the unexpected happens, you admit the possibility for
that to occur which could not have been premised, and therefore could
not have been guarded against."

"That is true as the case stands. But remove the necessity which
actuates our criminal, and make of him simply a scientific man pursuing
crime as an art! In the first place, we get an individual who will
prepare for more accidents, and secondly, would know how best to meet
emergencies which occur during the commission of his crime. For example:
if you will pardon the conceit, were I to attempt a crime I should be
able to avoid detection."

"I should think that from your inexperience as a criminal you would be
run to earth--well, about as quickly as this man Pettingill. This was
his first crime you know."

"Would you be willing to make a wager to that effect?" This last remark
fairly startled Mr. Barnes, who instantly understood the meaning, which,
however, at first escaped the other listener. He waited eagerly for the
reply.

"I don't grasp the idea. Make a wager about what?"

"You said that were I to commit a crime I should be captured about as
quickly as Pettingill.



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