Detective Jefferson Hastings is visiting the home of wealthy and eccentric Arthur Sloane when two guests stumble across a body on the lawn. Sloane’s daughter Lucille asks Hastings to help solve the crime, but Hastings gets surprisingly little help from anyone else -- including Mr. Sloane, and even the mother of the victim! With few clues to aid him and nobody beyond suspicion Hastings must rely on subtle expressions and scant evidence to solve the murder.
Mr. Sloane found compliance impossible. He could not steady his hand sufficiently.
"Hold that torch, judge," Hastings prompted.
"It's knocked me out--completely," Sloane said, surrendering the torch to Wilton.
Webster, the pallor still on his face, a look of horror in his eyes, stood on the side of the body opposite the detective. At brief intervals he raised first one foot, then the other, clear of the ground and set it down again. He was unconscious of making any movement at all.
Hastings, thoroughly absorbed in the work before him, went about it swiftly, with now and then brief, murmured comment on what he did and saw. Although his ample night-shirt, stuffed into his equally baggy trousers, contributed nothing but comicality to his appearance, the others submitted without question to his domination. There was about him suddenly an atmosphere of power that impressed even the little group of awe-struck servants who stood a few feet away.
"Stabbed," he said,