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John L. Benton No Blood Popular Detective, January, 1936
There Is Slaughter Even When There Is 
No Blood
HERE was to be no shedding of
blood. Because, Alfred Graemlein
knew, the shedding of blood had
been the undoing of countless
murderers before him.
His brother lay sleeping in the
next room—a sleep from which he
would never awaken, Graemlein was grimly
resolved. He went carefully into the bedroom. In
his hand he held the hypodermic syringe filled
with a pale, deadly fluid of his own concoction.
He approached carefully, on tiptoe, breathing
so quietly that the thumping of his heart boomed
like thunder in his brain. He would be glad
enough when the pulse of his brother no longer
fluttered. His brother was a detective—one of
those righteous fellows who would have put
Graemlein behind prison bars, regardless of
kinship. Graemlein was a thief—and that fact had
at last been discovered by the detective who,
Graemlein knew, meant to expose him eventually.
Unless Graemlein made restitution.
Give back all that money—after the risks he
had taken? Not a chance! And in that moment of
rage shot the needle home.
So slender was the needle-point, so brief the
puncture, that the sleeping man hardly felt it, for
he did not waken. He turned once—moaned. After
a minute he began to breathe loudly—a choking,
rasping sound. Graemlein waited, and the sound
became feebler—ceased altogether.
It took Graemlein a long time to dig the
grave outside. He worked silently, delving into the
hard-caked earth with his spade. The pale shroud
of the late moon appeared over the canyon as he
carried his brother’s body to the grave behind the
house. Quickly he heaped the clods of hard earth
over the body, and stamped it down until the
surface of the grave was level with the rest of the
ground, with the same hard-caked appearance....
It was late in the morning when he was
awakened by a loud knocking on the door.
“Who is it?” he called out.
“Matchen. Your brother was supposed to
meet me at nine. I came to find out what was the
matter. Afraid of getting wet, is he?”
“Wet?” Graemlein looked out of the window.
It had begun to rain.
He got up to let Matchen in. But when he
arrived at the door he saw that Matchen, a
detective friend of his brother, was staring beyond
the house, toward the shed.
Toward the grave!
In that one spot where the corpse lay, tiny
bubbles arose in an area which was the length
of—vaguely the shape of—a man!
Matchen turned upon Graemlein. “Somebody
must have been digging there,” he said. “Recently,
too. Because when water gets into ground that’s
been recently dug up, bubbles are bound to rise—
Where’s your brother?” he demanded, suddenly
eyeing Graemlein narrowly.
As Graemlein stood staring in frozen horror
at the telltale bubbles, Matchen went on,
“Your brother told me about your stealing—”
He did not finish. In wild panic Graemlein flung
himself at the detective. But his sudden swing was
impetuous, blundering. Matchen felled him with a
single blow, handcuffed him—and then went to
the spot where the myriad strange bubbles arose.
Author of “Death’s Chill Hand,” etc.

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