The Efficiency Expert

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 95

ascending, went straight to Mr.
Compton's office, turned the knob, and opened the door, to find that the
interior was dark.

"Strange," he thought, "that after sending for me the fellow didn't
wait." As these thoughts passed through his mind he fumbled on the wall
for the switch, and, finding it, flooded the office with light.

As he turned again toward the room he voiced a sudden exclamation of
horror, for on the floor beside his desk lay the body of Mason Compton!
As Jimmy stepped quickly toward Compton's body and kneeled beside it a
man tiptoed quietly up the front stairway, while another, having
ascended from the rear, was crossing the outer office with equal
stealth.

Jimmy felt of Compton's face and hands. They were warm. And then he
placed his ear close against the man's breast, in order to see if he
could detect the beating of the heart. He was in this position when he
was startled by a gruff voice behind him.

"Put 'em up!" it admonished curtly, and Jimmy turned to see two men
standing in the doorway with pistols leveled at him.




CHAPTER XXV.

CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE.

At first Jimmy thought they were the perpetrators of the deed, but
almost immediately he recognized one of them as O'Donnell, the erstwhile
traffic officer who had been promoted to a detective sergeancy since
Jimmy had first met him.

"Compton has been murdered," said Jimmy dully. "He is dead."

"Put up your hands," snapped O'Donnell for the second time, "and be
quick about it!"

It was then for the first time that Jimmy realized the meaning that
might be put upon his presence alone in the office with his dead
employer. O'Donnell's partner searched him, but found no weapon upon
him.

"Where's the gat?" he asked.

"Whoever did this probably took it with him," said Jimmy. "Find the
watchman."

They made Jimmy sit down in a corner, and while one of them guarded him
the other called up central, made his report, and asked for an ambulance
and the wagon. Then O'Donnell commenced to examine the room. A moment
later he found an automatic behind the door across the room from where
Compton's body lay.

"Ever see this before?" asked O'Donnell, holding the pistol up to Jimmy.

"If you're asking me if it's mine, no," said Jimmy. "I have a gun, but
it's home. I never carry it. I didn't do this, O'Donnell," he continued.
"There was no reason why I should do it, so instead of wasting your time
on me while the murderer escapes you'd better get busy on some other
theory, too. It

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