Edgar Wallace

The Daffodil Mystery

When Mr Thomas Lyne, poet, poseur and owner of Lyne's Emporium insults a cashier, Odette Rider, she resigns. Having summoned detective Jack Tarling to investigate another employee, Mr Milburgh, Lyne now changes his plans. Tarling and his Chinese companion refuse to become involved. They pay a visit to Odette's flat. In the hall Tarling meets Sam, convicted felon and protégé of Lyne. Next morning Tarling discovers a body. The hands are crossed on the breast, adorned with a handful of daffodils.
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  • I NADEJDAhar citeretsidste år
    Ling Chu nodded.

    "It is true, master," he said. "The Little Narcissus, or as the foreigners called her, the Little Daffodil, was my sister. She became a dancer in a tea-house against my wish, our parents being dead. She was a very good girl, master, and as pretty as a sprig of almond blossom. Chinese women are not pretty to the foreigner's eyes, but little Daffodil was like something cast in porcelain, and she had the virtues of a thousand years."

    Tarling nodded.

    "She was a good girl?" he repeated, this time speaking in Chinese and using a phrase which had a more delicate shade of meaning.

    "She lived good and she died good," said the Chinaman calmly. "The speech of the Englishman offended her, and he called her many bad names because she would not come and sit on his knee; and if he put shame upon her by embracing her before the eyes of men, she was yet good, and she died very honourably."

    Another interval of silence.

    "I see," said Tarling quietly. "And when you said you would come with me to England, did you expect to meet—the bad Englishman?"

    Ling Chu shook his head.
  • I NADEJDAhar citeretsidste år
    Whiteside scratched his nose in perplexity.

    "The further this case goes, the more puzzled I am," he said. "Here is a man, a wealthy man, who has apparently no bitter enemies, discovered dead in Hyde Park, with a woman's silk night-dress wound round his chest, with list slippers on his feet, and a Chinese inscription in his pocket—and further, to puzzle the police, a bunch of daffodils on the chest. That was a woman's act, Mr. Tarling," he said suddenly.

    Tarling started. "How do you mean?" he asked.

    "It was a woman's act to put flowers on the man," said Whiteside quietly. "Those daffodils tell me of pity and compassion, and perhaps repentance."

    A slow smile dawned on Tarling's face.

    "My dear Whiteside," he said, "you are getting sentimental! And here," he added, looking up, "attracted to the spot, is a gentleman I seem to be always meeting—Mr. Milburgh, I think."
  • I NADEJDAhar citeretsidste år
    It may be said in truth that Mr. Lyne did not care very much whether Sam kept straight or not. He might indeed have been very much disappointed if Sam had kept to the straight and narrow path. He "kept" Sam as men keep chickens and prize cows, and he "collected" Sam as other men collect stamps and china. Sam was his luxury and his pose. In his club he boasted of his acquaintance with this representative of the criminal classes—for Sam was an expert burglar and knew no other trade—and Sam's adoration for him was one of his most exhilarating experiences.

    And that adoration was genuine. Sam would have laid down his life for the pale-faced man with the loose mouth. He would have suffered himself to be torn limb from limb if in his agony he could have brought ease or advancement to the man who, to him, was one with the gods.

    Originally, Thornton Lyne had found Sam whilst that artist was engaged in burgling the house of his future benefactor. It was a whim of Lyne's to give the criminal a good breakfast and to evince an interest in his future. Twice had Sam gone down for a short term, and once for a long term of imprisonment, and on each occasion Thornton Lyne had made a parade of collecting the returned wanderer, driving him home, giving him breakfast and a great deal of worldly and unnecessary advice, and launching him forth again upon the world with ten pounds—a sum just sufficient to buy Sam a new kit of burglar's tools.
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