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Nick Carter at Headquarters: Work on the Inspector's Scrapbook

213 pages
Library of Alexandria
A gentle tap sounded at the door of the inspector’s private office in police headquarters in the city of New York. “Come!” exclaimed the inspector. The door opened and a sergeant entered. “Someone to see you, chief,” announced the sergeant. “Who?” “Says his name is Jingle. He’s a countryman.” “Show him in.” The sergeant departed; but two minutes later he returned accompanied by an unmistakable specimen of the Connecticut farmer. “Take a seat, sir,” said the inspector. Then, as soon as the sergeant had withdrawn, he added: “Now, what can I do for you?” “The question is, what can I do for you,” was the reply, in the unmistakable tones of Nick Carter, the great detective. The inspector’s face changed. He smiled broadly. “Bless me!” he exclaimed. “Why did you assume a disguise in order to come here, Nick?” “Oh, I happened to be rigged out when I received your message, so I came along just as I was.” “Then you are busy now?” “Yes.” “I’m sorry that you are not free.” “Why?” “Well, I had a matter on hand that I wished you to take in charge. Is this case, upon which you are already engaged, important?” “It seems to be.” “What is it?” “A disappearance. A beautiful girl, just of age, rich, accomplished, about to be married to the man she loved, is missing from Philadelphia.” “Who engaged you in the matter?” “The man she was to marry.” “How long has the young lady been among the missing?” “About a month.” “And they have just begun the search?” “So it seems. I gather from the facts as they were related to me, that not much importance was attached to her disappearance at first. “She was or is a girl who was or is singularly independent in her actions, and—Well, the young man has finally made up his mind that there has been foul play, and engaged me to find out the truth.” “Give me the story.” “It is short. Sara Varney was left an orphan and an heiress at the age of sixteen. At twenty-one she came into full possession of her property, which was partly in real estate and the balance, about $58,000 in cash, in bank. “She reached her majority six weeks to a day before her disappearance, and had drawn about four thousand dollars from the bank, by checking against her account. “Since her disappearance three checks, which either bear her signature, or are very expertly forged, have appeared. Each is for fifteen thousand dollars. The first two were paid, and the third, by my advice, was pronounced a forgery and held. “She disappeared just a week before her prospective wedding day. “A messenger came to the house where she lived on Chestnut street, soon after dark. She read the message, and ordered her carriage at once. “She was driven to the Pennsylvania depot. There she told her coachman to return home, and added that she would not be back until the following day, or perhaps even later. She has not been seen since.”