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Secret Agent X, August, 1935
Mark Hazzard, fighting D. A., knew he’d sent an innocent man to the death house. And now to save
that man from the last mile, he was ready to become the corpus delicti that would point death’s finger
at the real murderer.
CHAPTER I
COURT OF DOOM
ISTRICT ATTORNEY Mark Hazzard
climbed the black fire-stairs with the firm
intention of breaking the law.
He paused on the platform at the twelfth
floor and levered a sharp tool into the crack of the
one-way door. He was the youngest prosecutor
ever to battle the state’s cases in King’s County.
His red hair was a warning of a hot temper that
made fearful defendants squirm while he fought
for legal justice in the court room. He was a twofisted terror to those who faced him from the
witness stand with guilt in their hearts. Yet tonight
Hazard was making himself as liable under the
criminal code as they, by forcing his way through
this sealed door.
D
Secret Agent X 2
He strode along the silent corridor to an
entrance lettered Lockridge, Culver and Hintan,
Attorneys, and slipped a skeleton key into the lock.
That painted line might have read Lockridge,
Culver and Hazzard, if the hotheaded young
lawyer who was once slated for a junior
partnership had not chosen to fight at the polls for
the office of prosecuting attorney—and won.
When Mark Hazard alertly entered the
black law office, he stood in the rooms, where his
career as a lone wolf of justice had begun. The
silent office recalled vividly the bitter mischance
that first led him to study law.
He snapped a switch, swung a chair under
a light fixture, and climbed up. He quickly
unfastened the milk-glass bowl and unscrewed the
bulb. The globe which he removed from his
pocket and twisted into the socket looked quite
ordinary; but it was not. Once it was gleaming,
Hazzard spoke to it in a whisper:
“Are you there, Ann? Can you hear me?
Keep listening.”
Hazzard replaced the reflector bowl, slid
the chair back and stepped quickly to the wall
switch. He unfastened the plate with a screw
driver and hooked the leads of a small condenser
across the terminals. Sure of the connection, he
replaced the plate, and hurried into one of the
partitioned offices. Again he spoke into empty air:
“Can you hear me now, Ann? I’m
standing near Culver’s desk. Adjust the knob so
you can hear me plainly. I’m coming down to
check and—somebody’s coming!”
He had heard brisk footfalls in the
corridor. He sped to the switch and clicked darkness into the office: he looked around swiftly for a
place to hide. Shadows were moving on the
pebbled pane of the entrance when he hurried to a
door in the side wail. A key was turning in the
lock when he closed himself in thick darkness. He
stood in the supply closet, heart speeding,
listening, while the entrance opened and two men
strode in.
“There’s nobody here,” one of them
exclaimed.
“That’s strange. I’m sure I saw a light,” the other
insisted.
“Better look around, Larry,” the first
suggested warily. “There’s been a petty thief
working in the building.”
Hazzard recognized the voices as those of
Vinton Culver and Lawrence Hinton, partners in
the law firm. Standing anxiously at the door, he
heard the footfalls move into the adjoining offices.
When both men were beyond other doors, he
inched the closet open and tensed to speed across
to the entrance and out. Instantly he drew back,
dismayed and breathless. One of the men was
returning.
“I don’t like this. Larry,” Culver said.
“You saw a light. There’s somebody in here.”
“Hiding,” Hinton’s voice answered. “How
about the supply closet? Watch it while I—”
Hazzard’s tight lips suppressed a moan.
He heard two quick steps and the sliding noise of a
desk drawer. Knowing that discovery was a
certainty, he twisted the inner knob. When he
stepped out in bright light, Vinton Culver gasped
and Lawrence Hinton whirled from a desk. Culver
blurted “Hazzard!” as Hinton lifted the automatic
he had taken from the drawer. It glinted
dangerously at Hazzard as he smiled and said:
“Good evening, gentlemen. Weren’t you
expecting me?”
Culver snapped: “I expect any sort of
trickery from you, Hazzard. What the devil are
you doing here? What do you mean by sneaking
into this office in the middle of the night?”
“I’ll keep my purpose to myself, if you
don’t mind,” Hazzard answered wryly. “I assure
you it’s quite unnecessary to point that gun at me.”
Hinton’s lips curled. “You deserve to be
treated like a common burglar, Hazzard. That’s
what you’ve made of yourself by sneaking in
here.”
Culver added bitingly: “Exactly, Hazzard!
The estimable district attorney is guilty of the
crime of breaking and entering. Keep him covered,
Larry—and call the police.”
NE moment, Hinton.” Mark Hazzard
stepped forward tensely, studying Culver’s
cold eyes, Hinton’s scornful smile. “You are quite
right. I have no search warrant. I am guilty of
burglary. You have only to call the police, and I’ll
be forced out of office and made to face the charge
in court. Before you do that—”
“You deserve that!” Culver straightened
stiffly. “Duncan Lockridge took you into this
office when you were down and out. He trained
you as a trial lawyer because he had faith in you.
He backed you at the polls, helped more than any
“O
Juggernaut Justice 3
other man living to elect you to office. You’ve
repaid his generosity and trust by bringing him to
trial and convicting him of murder!”
“True,” Hazzard admitted, “but—”
Lawrence Hinton spoke through curling
lips. He was the young attorney who had
succeeded to the junior partnership which Mark
Hazzard might have had. Hazzard’s withdrawal
had raised him to that position prematurely. Yet
now his eyes were a denunciation and his words a
lash:
“You know damned well his appeal will
be denied, Hazzard. You tried to break Duncan
Lockridge on the witness stand. You pounded at
him with every piece of evidence you could find.
That man was your friend—he made you—but all
you thought of was making yourself a glorious
hero in the eyes of the public. Lockridge is the
squarest man who ever lived, but he’s going to the
electric chair—and you’ve sent him there!”
“Gentlemen.” Mark Hazzard’s face
pictured keen pain. “I did convict Duncan
Lockridge for murder in the first degree. If he goes
to the chair, it will be because of the case I built up
against him. It was my duty to do that. I was
forced to present those facts to the jury. You may
believe Lockridge is innocent of murder—but
you’re not half as convinced of it as I am.”
“What!” Culver snapped in a rage. “How
can you have the effrontery to say that after you
and you alone, sent him to the death house?”
Hazzard’s eyes blazed. “Would Lockridge
have come off better at the trial if I’d turned the
case over to one of my over-ambitious assistants?
Certainly not! He couldn’t escape the facts the
police built up against him. I wasn’t trying to
break him on the stand. No! I was doing my best
to get at some clue, some little contradiction of
circumstances that would bring the whole case
crashing down. Whether you believe it or not, I’m
still doing my damnedest to clear Lockridge.”
Hazzard’s knuckles clicked to the desk.
“You don’t need to remind me that he’s my friend.
I haven’t forgotten that he gave me my chance. I
know I have to thank him more than any other
man, for being state’s attorney. God, I’m not
persecuting him! I’m trying to use the power he
gave me to save him. In spite of all the evidence,
in spite of the jury’s verdict, I know that Duncan
Lockridge didn’t kill Walter Platt.”
“Very pretty, Hazzard,” Hinton sneered.
“Very noble. But the fact remains you convicted
him.”
Hazzard moaned in despair. “A dozen
times during the trial I moved that the charge be
dismissed for lack of evidence, but each time the
court overruled me. Twice since the conviction.
I’ve gone to the governor and pled that the verdict
be set aside, and he’s refused. You’ve overlooked
that, haven’t you? I’m still trying. I’m going to
stop at nothing until I’ve found evidence to clear
Lockridge—and even your bringing me up for
burglary, gentlemen, won’t keep me from it!”
“Do you expect to find your evidence
here?” Culver demanded coldly. “Do you think
that Hinton or I are guilty? Do you dare hint that
either of us would allow Lockridge to take the
blame for something we did—the man who’s
closer to us than anyone else in the world? By
God, Hazzard—!”
“I don’t know who’s guilty,” Hazzard
broke in, “but I know Lockridge isn’t. I’d keep on
trying to prove it if I suspected my own brother.
Listen to me, both of you. What if Lockridge’s
appeal is denied tonight? What if Governor Bryant
repeats his refusal to intervene? What chance will
Lockridge have of escaping the chair then? One
and only one—a district attorney who’s doing his
damnedest to serve justice above the written law.”
Hazzard strode to the desk where Hinton
stood, his temper raging hot.
“If you choose to charge me with breaking
and entering, gentlemen, you have your case. You
can force me out of office, and by doing so you’ll
destroy the last chance of proving Duncan
Lockridge’s innocence. If you two men—closer to
him than anyone else in the world—are willing to
shoulder the blame for his death, here’s the
telephone.”
He lifted the instrument from the desk and
held it toward Vinton Culver. Culver’s eyes were
still blazing with contempt, but a flicker of
uncertainty had crept into them. Hinton’s gun
wavered. Hazzard’s firm lips curved, coolly as he
replaced the telephone and strode briskly to the
entrance.
“In that case, gentlemen, I trust you wish
me the best of luck. Goodnight!”
H
AZZARD’S jaw muscles were lumped with
anger, his pulse was still hammering, when
the elevator cab dropped him from the twelfth
Secret Agent X 4
floor of the Lambert Building to the eleventh. He
needed no skeleton key to open the office directly
below the suite of Lockridge, Culver and Hinton.
Through dim light, he strode toward the girl who
was sitting with phones pressed to her ears at a
recording microphone.
She searched Hazzard’s eyes anxiously,
and kept listening, while he listened through a
second hand-set. The bulb he had screwed into the
light fixture on the floor above was one which
concealed a sensitive pick-up. The condenser he
had mounted in the switch box was a device which
passed the sound impulses even though the lights
were off. Hazzard listened to voices traveling over
the wire of the light circuit while his secretary
watched a diamond stylus recording the words on
a composition disc.
Culver’s voice came: “I don’t trust
Hazzard. He’s not trying to clear Lockridge. He
came here hunting for evidence, all right, but not
for Duncan’s sake. I think he suspects us of jury
tampering—he’s trying to disbar us both and make
himself Public Hero Number One.”
Hinton’s reply came through: “Certainly!
If he makes the slightest move in that direction,
I’ll prefer charges against him for burglary. I’ll
break him out of office. God, it’s awful—waiting
to hear from the Court of Appeals!”
Culver spoke: “The decision is due
sometime tonight. It will mean the chair for
Duncan if they deny the appeal—in spite of what
Hazzard says about trying to save him. I don’t
trust him!”
Hinton’s voice lowered. “Listen. I think I
know why Hazzard came here. He couldn’t hope
to find any documentary evidence. He’s planted a
microphone somewhere. He’s got someone
listening in on everything said here. Look around!
We’ve got to find it!”
Hazzard tensed with alarm while he heard
the sounds of movements in the office above,
brought to his ears by the sensitive device. He
lowered the phones while Ann Nash looked up
with hurt eyes.
“They don’t understand, Mark!” she
exclaimed anxiously. “You told them the truth—I
heard every word—and you are trying your best to
save Lockridge. Will—will they find the
microphone?”
“It’ll take a good job of hunting-”
Hazzard’s eyes narrowed. “I’m convinced either
Culver or Hinton is guilty of that murder. The
facts show it—there’s no other answer. But
finding; proof—” His voice faded hopelessly.
“Stick at that machine, Ann. I want a record of
every word spoken in that room.”
Ann Nash answered alertly: “On the job,
Mark.”
The silence in the phones meant that now
both men were searching for the hidden
microphone. Hazzard lifted the telephone, spun the
number of his office. Frank Mayton, his assistant,
answered.
“Any message, Frank?” Hazzard asked
anxiously.
“Yes, from Inspector Trencher. He wants
you over in his office as quick as you can make
it.”
“Trencher?” A chill tingled along
Hazzard’s nerves. “Ring him that I’ll be right
over.”
His fingers warmly pressed Ann Nash’s
arm; he left the office with quick strides.
“Duncan Lockridge is innocent—
innocent—innocent,” had drummed through Mark
Hazzard’s mind since the moment of Lockridge’s
sensational arrest. “Innocent—innocent” all the
while he had presented damning evidence against
Lockridge in court because his duty demanded it.
It had become an obsession that drove him day
and night. “You’ve got to prove Duncan
Lockridge did not commit murder. You and you
alone must prove it—”
When Hazzard swung his car from the
curb, newsboys on the corner were howling
headlines that mocked him:
“Appeal Decision Due Tonight on
Lockridge Murder!”
“Court Deliberating Lockridge’s Case!”
“Noted Lawyer Awaiting Final Verdict!”
“Death or New Trial for Lockridge—
Decision Tonight!”
In a squalid upstate town, Duncan
Lockridge was caged in the grim death house. The
bleak corridor which passed his cell ended at the
door of the chamber where prisoners met their
doom in the electric chair. There Lockridge was
waiting for word of the decision to penetrate the
gray stone walls of the prison while, in a stately
building in this city, the Court of Appeals was
sitting in extraordinary session. Tonight their
judgment would be announced. Tonight the zero
Juggernaut Justice 5
hour in a condemned man’s life must come.
Mark Hazzard gripped the wheel hard and
sent his car speeding across the city with grim,
unconquerable purpose.
CHAPTER II
THE VOICE IN THE DARK
ECOLLECTIONS of that trying case—the
most grueling he had ever handled—
kaleidoscoped through Hazzard’s mind with the
speed of the spinning-car wheels.
“The murdered man, Walter Platt, was last
seen alive entering the Lambert Building.”
Hazzard’s own words, uttered during his
summation to the jury, came back to mock him.
“He asked directions to the office of Lockridge,
Culver and Hinton. The elevator operator noticed
the man seemed very shaken. He entered those
offices—and vanished from the world of living
men. Those, gentlemen of the jury, are
incontestable facts.
“When Walter Platt entered those offices,
the junior partner of the firm, Lawrence Hinton,
was there. You heard corroborative testimony that
Hinton immediately left the office when Duncan
Lockridge came in a moment later. Hinton
testified that when he left, Platt was still there.
Though Lockridge denies it, the testimony shows
that he and Platt were left alone in that office. And
when Platt was next seen, he was a water-sodden
corpse which had been dragged from the river.”
Each remembered word stung Mark
Hazzard as he kept his car speeding across the
metropolis.
“Dr. Autumn, the Medical Examiner, has
testified his expert opinion that Platt was dead of
suffocation before he was thrown into the river.
Proof of this fact is that no water was found in
Platt’s stomach or lungs. Lockridge has denied
killing Platt in the office, denied carrying him
unseen from the building, denied throwing the
dead man into the river. But, gentlemen of the
jury, there is damning mute testimony to prove he
did exactly that.”
Inspector Charles Trencher, the
deliberately methodical sleuth whose power
extended all through the police department, had
placed that evidence in Hazzard’s hands. Three
distinctive parallel, curving scratches had been
found in the enamel of Lockridge’s costly car,
near the rear door. Three nails in the heel of Platt’s
right shoe matched those scratches exactly.
Hazzard had been forced to build his most
damaging argument in the case on those three
etched lines.
“Platt’s heel made those scratches on
Lockridge’s car, gentlemen of the jury—that is an
established fact. They were made when Platt,
already dead, was tumbled into the rear seat of
Lockridge’s car—that is a certainty. That the car
was driven from the alley behind the Lambert
Building, to the bank of the river, carrying Platt’s
dead body cannot be doubted. The man who drove
the car then threw Platt into the river in an attempt
to conceal the murder—no one can question that
conclusion. That Platt had reason to fear going in
that office was indicated by his manner on the
elevator.
“Duncan Lockridge denies he is the man
who killed Platt. You must decide which you
believe, gentlemen of the jury—the silent
testimony of those three scratches on Lockridge’s
car, or Lockridge’s statement.”
Hazzard remembered his earnest effort to
present the case with scrupulous fairness. He
recalled how he had avoided every accusing
statement which the evidence did not inexorably
force him to make. He had ended his summation
with a plea that the evidence be weighed with the
utmost care, had even called the attention of the
jury to the law that Lockridge must be acquitted if
there remained a “reasonable doubt” of his guilt.
Now, as he drove, Hazzard again heard the verdict
that meant he had won a sensational case, but
condemned a friend to the electric chair:
“We, the jury, find the defendant, Duncan
Lockridge, guilty of murder in the first degree.”
Hazzard had clicked on the radio, and it
had been playing softly while intersections flashed
past. He listened alertly as a gong sounded and the
music yielded to a news announcement:
“The latest word from the court house,
ladies and gentlemen, informs us that the decision
of the Court of Appeals will be announced within
an hour. The judges are about to complete their
study of the record, and their verdict in this
startling case is being awaited anxiously.
Governor Bryant has issued a statement that he
will take no action in the case if the appeal is
denied, and therefore the decision of the court may
be considered as final, since Lockridge’s counsel
R
Secret Agent X 6
has declared that they will not carry the case to the
Supreme Court of the United States. As soon as
the decision is announced, it will be broadcast.”
Hazzard swung into the street which
separated the massive court house from police
headquarters. He looked up at lighted windows. In
the room behind them, the august tribunal of last
resort was deliberating the fate of a man while the
entire city awaited their word. His nerves burning
with impatience, Mark Hazzard climbed to the
office of Inspector Charles Trencher.
He stopped short just beyond the sill. The
full-waisted, heavy-jowled man who rose from,
the inspector’s desk was not Trencher. His eyes
glimmered a threat while Hazzard stood stock still;
his lips pursed into a mocking smile. He said in a
heavy, throaty tone:
“How are you—Dennis Grant?”
HAT full-cheeked face, and the sound of that
name, brought bitter memories flooding into
the mind of the man who had been Dennis Grant.
A bitter cold night. A bleak railroad yard
with sooty snow packed between gleaming rails. A
man more than ten years younger than Mark
Hazzard, crawling in agony from the rods beneath
a freight car. It was the end of an exhausting
journey for one then known as Dennis Grant—the
stolen ride of a tramp, undertaken so that he might
join his mother at Christmas. In that painful flash
of memory, Mark Hazzard recalled that the
freezing trip had not carried him to his home, but
to the prisoner’s dock.
He heard it again as he stared at the
square, brutal face of the man standing at
Trencher’s desk—the crack of the shot. He saw
again the gun thrown at his feet, the gun he had
picked up before he knew what he was doing. He
remembered blinding lights turned into his eyes
and hard hands gripping him as a grimy yard crew
trapped him. It was like a nightmare suddenly
come to life again—the court room, the accusing
finger of the prosecuting attorney damning him for
the murder of a man he had never seen, with a gun
a murderer had planted on him—and that word of
doom uttered by the foreman of the jury:
“Guilty.”
During the trial, a huge man, handcuffed
to Dennis Grant, had led him back and forth
between cell and dock. That same massive sheriff
who had moved to Dennis Grant’s side, and
clamped a horny hand on his arm, while the judge
had pronounced the sentence of life imprisonment
upon him, was the man now facing Mark Hazzard.
Panic struck through Mark Hazzard’s
mind. He had made a desperate and successful
attempt to escape from the court room in
Philadelphia—from the clutch of the man now
facing him. He had lived for months in terror of
capture. At last, finding a job, he had studied
endless nights so that he might understand the law
that had condemned him for a crime he had not
committed.
He had fought hard to place himself in a
position to administer a justice that stood higher
than the statutes. He had created a new identity for
himself as Mark Hazzard, district attorney. His
whole world was now shaken by the quiet words
spoken by the man at Trencher’s desk:
“How are you, Dennis Grant?”
They meant: “Mark Hazzard, you’re
wanted for murder. There’s a sentence of life
imprisonment waiting for you.”
He forced a smile. Moving quietly toward
the man at the desk, he said, “I don’t understand
you. My name’s Mark Hazzard. I’m the district
attorney.”
“I know you’re the district attorney,” the
big man said. “But your name is Dennis Grant,
isn’t it?”
“I said my name is Hazzard.”
He turned as a connecting door opened.
Inspector Trencher came in slowly, a twisted smile
on his lips. His black eyes showed an ominous
smolder that sent a piercing chill to Hazzard’s
heart. The huge man at the desk extended his
heavy hand to Hazzard and said drawlingly:
“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you,
Grant.”
Hazzard’s surging temper brought scarlet
to his face as Trencher settled into the swivel chair
behind the desk. His voice was a crackle:
“Who is this man, Trencher? Why does he
insist on calling me by a name that’s not mine? Is
this your idea of a practical joke?”
“Not at all, Hazzard, not at all.” Trencher
seemed to gloat. “Shake hands with Horace
Halsey, an old friend of mine. He used to be
sheriff of Delphia County, Pennsylvania, about ten
years ago. You know, Hazzard, I’ve always been
interested in you, but I never could get you to talk
much about yourself. So when Halsey showed up,
T
Juggernaut Justice 7
I pointed out your picture in the papers, and asked
him if he knew you. Do you remember him,
Halsey?”
“Sure,” the ex-sheriff rumbled. “I’d know
him anywhere. But his name wasn’t Hazzard then.
It was Grant—Dennis Grant.”
Trencher frowned. “Sure of that?”
“Sure?” Hafsey showed a toothy,
confident grin. “I couldn’t forget that. I took him
into the criminal court in Philadelphia, and back to
his cell again, twenty times. I watched him all
during the trial—that was my job. I was right at
his side when the judge sentenced him. I tried to
stop him when he threw a chair through the
window and got away. Forget him—when I turned
hell upside down for months, trying to find him?
Not much!
“He’s Dennis Grant—wanted for murder,
with a life sentence waiting to be served.”
ARK HAZZARD turned squarely to
Trencher. The blaze in his eyes was so
fierce that the inspector’s smile faded. His voice
was edged with cold fury.
“All right, Trencher. We understand each
other. You’re out to get me. You don’t like the
way I administer the law. You stick by the statutes
in your routine wary no matter if innocent men are
jailed and guilty men go free. You’re content, for
instance, to let the Court of Appeals be the final
judge of Duncan Lockridge while they think only
of legal errors without considering the merits of
the case. I’m not a slave to established procedure
and I never will be. You don’t like the way I
work—so you’re out for my skin. That’s the truth,
isn’t it, Trencher?”
Trencher wagged a hand. “Take it easy,
Hazzard. Sure, our methods differ. You stick your
neck out and run your chances, and I hold to the
regulations—but it’s your neck. You set yourself
up as a special police department and a special
supreme court both in one—but if you overstep
yourself, nobody’s going to suffer but you. That’s
beside the point, isn’t it? There’s no use exploding
if Halsey’s mistaken. The thing is—are you
Dennis Grant?”
Hazzard spoke through a dry throat.
“You’re clever, Trencher. Last month you checked
up on my fingerprints, hoping to get something on
me and this time you’re making a direct accusation
through Halsey. You pretend to be as slow-witted
and plodding as a pack mule while you’re sly as a
fox. As for your question—suppose you answer
it!”
Again Trencher’s hand wagged
disarmingly. “Take it easy, take it easy, Hazzard.
Don’t go off like a firecracker. When you’re in
this game as long as I’ve been, you learn it doesn’t
pay to get excited. Halsey may be absolutely
mistaken, sure. There’s no use arguing about it, is
there? We can check up on it in a few minutes, and
then there won’t be any question.”
“I’m not making any mistake,” Halsey
asserted.
“Is that all right with you, Hazzard, if I
check up?” Trencher asked.
“Go as far as you like, Trencher,” Hazzard
flared.
“Thanks,” the inspector answered dryly.
He reached for the telephone and lifted it slowly.
He spoke into the transmitter casually. “Get me
Brennan at Philadelphia police headquarters.”
He broke the connection and his twisted
smile came again. “Halsey wouldn’t want me to
take his unsupported word for it—not in a thing
like this. Not the district attorney’s being a
murderer and a fugitive from the law. Would you,
Halsey?”
“The records will show I’m stating facts.”
the ex-sheriff rumbled.
“It’ll be tough, won’t it, Hazzard, if it’s
true?” Trencher queried.
Hazzard smiled bitterly. The sensational
disclosure would strip him of his honor and
integrity. It would transform him from a respected
public official into a convict. It would change the
plaudits of the newspapers into scathing
denunciations. It would bring tragedy to Ann
Nash, the girl he loved, and utterly destroy his
world. But he answered Trencher grimly:
“I don’t happen to be afraid of anything
you might find out about me, inspector. I’m still
Mark Hazzard, the district attorney. As long as
that’s my job, I’m going at it with all I’ve got. I’m
going to prove that Duncan Lockridge is not a
murderer.”
Trencher repeated quietly: “It’s your
neck.”
“Do you mind, Inspector,” Hazzard asked
huskily “if I use your phone?”
“Go as far as you like.”
Hazzard’s eyes narrowed at Halsey as he
M
Secret Agent X 8
spoke into the transmitter. “Connect me with the
district attorney’s office.” He saw suspicion
untinged by doubt in the ex-sheriff’s stare when
Frank Mayton answered. “Any call for me yet,
Frank?”
“Another, just now, Mark,” his assistant
answered. “Damned if I know who left it or what
it means. It’s just ‘he’s come in’.”
“I’ve been waiting for that—thanks!”
Hazzard lowered the phone with a thump.
His tight lips curved with a smile of defiance.
“Trencher. I have no intention of waiting here,
while you try to prove I’m a murderer. Let me
remind you that you can’t arrest me without a
warrant, and you can’t issue a warrant for me
without a specific charge. From now on, if you
want me, you’ll have to find me. Good night,
Inspector!”
Hazzard strode straight to the door.
Trencher leaped up, snapped, “Come back here!”
but Hazzard did not stop. The door slapped shut;
the heels of the district attorney tapped down the
corridor. Trencher’s fist crashed angrily to the
desk; his black eyes gleamed with triumph.
“I’ve got him!”
He grabbed at the telephone the instant it
rang. “Philadelphia headquarters?” he rasped.
“Brennan! That you Brennan?” Then, peering at
the door through which Mark Hazzard had gone,
he said levelly:
“Brennan, look up the records of Dennis
Grant, convicted of murder about ten years ago.
Read me his fingerprint classifications. I’ll hold
the line.”
NSPECTOR TRENCHER sat tensely, his
stubby fingers drumming. He opened a drawer
of his desk, took up an envelope, and slid
photographs from it. They were reproductions of
Mark Hazzard’s fingerprints. A month ago
Trencher had taken them off a paper-weight which
Hazzard habitually fingered, and he had been
rewarded by finding distinct impressions. He eyed
them grimly, and the cryptic classification noted
above them, while he waited for Brennan to report.
When the answer came. Trencher’s hand
crushed the phone: “Good Lord, Inspector! We’ve
got Grant’s rogue gallery pictures, but his
fingerprint record is missing!”
“What!”
“Missing! It should be in the file, but it
isn’t. Damned if I know what happened to it. It’s
gone—that’s all.”
“Gone!” Trencher echoed the word while
Halsey stared with widening eyes. The inspector’s
mind sped while he answered: “Listen, Brennan. I
want those pictures. Send a man up here with ’em
as fast as he can make connections. And Brennan.
Send along a blank fingerprint card. Got that? A
blank.”
“They’ll be on their way at once,
Inspector.”
Halsey blurted as Trencher broke the
connection: “His prints are missing? I know the
reason for that. He stole ’em out of the files.”
Trencher straightened tensely. “What the
devil makes you say that?”
“Listen. I remember, about a year ago,
Mark Hazzard came to Philadelphia headquarters.
He said he was making a personal visit to check up
on some crook’s record. Naturally, because he was
D.A. here, they gave him a free hand. I didn’t hear
about it until afterward—I didn’t see him at the
time—but they told me they’d had the famous
Hazzard in there. That’s when he stole the
fingerprint record out of the files!”
Trencher’s eyes were black flame. “That
won’t stop me from getting him. I’ll get proof he’s
Grant—legal proof. Nothing’s going to stop me
now.”
He touched buttons on his desk as he
spoke. Halsey blinked in bewilderment while the
connecting door opened and a blue-shirted man
appeared. Tensely Trencher handed him the
photographs of Mark Hazzard’s fingerprints.
“Get this straight,” he commanded.
“Arrange these prints in exactly the same positions
as those on a record card. Have a
photolithographic plate made of them and hold it. I
want to have them reproduced on a special card in
a hurry, soon as I say the word. And keep strictly
quiet about it—it’s important.”
“Yes, sir.”
When the connecting door closed Halsey
blurted: “That’s proof, isn’t it? Hazzard’s being
there in Philadelphia headquarters—the card
disappearing?”
“No. Not legal proof,” Trencher drawled.
“It’s no good. We’re getting Grant’s pictures—but
I’m going to do better than that. I’m going to
break Hazzard. I’m going to force him to admit
he’s Dennis Grant—murderer!”
I
Juggernaut Justice 9
“How?” Halsey asked huskily.
“Philadelphia’s sending a blank
fingerprint record card. I’ve got Hazzard’s prints.
I’m going to transfer those prints to the card.
When I show that to Hazzard—with the name of
Dennis Grant on it, the right dates, everything—
he’s going to think it came out of the Philadelphia
files and he’ll know his game’s up. He’s going to
break!”
Halsey declared: “That’s it! He won’t
know the difference! He’ll break!”
“His confession will be legal proof,
Halsey,” Trencher ground on. “I can’t offer that
fingerprint card as evidence, because it’ll be a
fake. The rogue’s gallery prints might not be much
good, because a man changes in ten years. But a
confession will prove it!” Trencher’s eyes
smoldered as he said again: “The D.A.’s little
game is up.”
ARK HAZZARD swung his car to the curb
in a neighborhood of old-fashioned rooming
houses. His heart was hammering with dread, his
mind still picturing the ominous black eyes of
Inspector Trencher, when he stepped into a dark
doorway. The man who moved quietly at his side
was wearing the uniform of a patrolman. “He’s in
there now, skipper.”
“I got your report, Danny.”
The blue uniform was a disguise which
shielded Dan Carey, ex-cop and fugitive from the
law, from the scrutiny of men who had once been
his comrades on the force. As district attorney,
Mark Hazzard had sent him up the river for
murder. Carey’s desperate attempt to escape had
succeeded. Hazzard had found him starving in a
dark alleyway while the law hunted him.
Because he was convinced of Carey’s
innocence in spite of the evidence—exactly as he
was convinced of the innocence of Duncan
Lockridge—Hazzard had sheltered him from the
inexorable man-hunt. Dan Carey had become
Hazzard’s undercover assistant in the face of a
danger that threatened disaster every hour of the
day and night, not only for himself but for Hazzard
as well. If it ever became known that the district
attorney of King’s County was harboring a
fugitive, Mark Hazzard’s career would be brought
to a swift and tragic end.
“Keep your eye on that door, Danny. I’m
going in,” Hazard said quietly.
He crossed the street quickly, pushed
through a paint-blistered door, climbed two worn
flights. He turned to the door at the rear and
listened to the sound of a newspaper crackling
above soft radio music. He knocked, twisted the
knob, and stepped in briskly as a thin-faced man
sprang from a chair with startled eyes.
Hazzard spoke crisply. “Your name’s
Thomas Mackler. You’re a cabinet maker. You
served on the jury of the Leeds versus Carren case,
with the man who was later killed, supposedly, by
Duncan Lockridge. That’s true, isn’t it, Mackler?
You and Walter Platt were two of the twelve who
decided that case.”
Mackler blurted: “Well? What if I did?”
“At the first vote, the jury stood two to ten
in favor of the defendant Carren—that’s true, isn’t
it? You and Platt argued for Leeds. The two of you
kept that jury locked up until you argued them into
a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, Leeds. Counsel
for Leeds was the firm of Lockridge, Culver and
Hinton.”
Defiantly Mackler answered: “What if we
did?”
“Did you force the jury to render that
verdict because you were convinced of the merits
of Leeds’ case—or because somebody handed you
a certain sum of money?”
“What’s that?” Mackler gasped. “You
accusin’ me of takin’ a bribe?”
Hot temper edged Hazzard’s voice as he
continued. “Listen. You attended every session of
the Lockridge murder case. You know that I
wasn’t able to bring out any motive for the killing.
The papers printed rumors of the reason Lockridge
murdered Platt. Lockridge had bribed certain
jurors on the Leeds versus Carren case. One of the
jurors—Platt—was attempting blackmail on
Lockridge, knowing that if the truth came out,
Lockridge would be disbarred. In order to save
himself and to keep the truth hidden, Lockridge
killed Platt. That’s the story. What do you think of
it, Mackler?”
“I don’t know nothin’ about what Platt
did, but I never took any money for—”
“Listen! I’ve teen having you watched.
You don’t make much money in your shop, but
you’ve been spending plenty. You buy whole
cases of liquor. You get yourself a lot of new
clothes. That radio there, Mackler, cost you three
hundred and fifty dollars. How did you happen to
M
Secret Agent X 10
have so much ready cash, all of a sudden—right
after the close of the Leeds case?”
“That’s none of your business!” Mackler
blurted.
“Jury bribing is the state’s business,
Mackler. I’ve get enough evidence on you to
charge you with it. I can indict you tomorrow
morning if I choose, and send you up the river for
the rest of your life.” Hazzard’s eyes were blazing,
his words driving like steam under pressure.
“You’ve got just one chance of beating that rap.
Do you want to know what it is?”
Mackler stared in terror.
“You’ll tell me, here and now, how much
bribe money you accepted, and who paid it!”
Mackler swallowed hard, blinked
dismayed eyes, tongued his dry lips. Hazzard
stood tense while the radio played softly into the
quiet. He watched Mackler’s fear becoming a
consuming corrosive burning away all reason. The
thin wood-worker said in a sudden cackle:
“If I tell you, you won’t have me
arrested?”
“I promise you you won’t have to answer
for it—if you tell me the truth!”
Mackler’s breath-whizzed. “I—I’ll tell
you the truth. I took the money—so did Platt. We
got it from—”
“Lockridge?” Hazzard urged desperately.
“No. No, from—”
Two quick shots barked from outside.
The reports drove splinters from the rear
window. The bullets slapped past Hazzard, past
Mackler, into the wall. Hazzard whirled, his hand
darted to his arm-pit holster, while Mackler
staggered back in terror. The cabinet maker’s
outflung arm struck the table lamp. It crashed to
the floor and its bulb exploded. Hazzard backed
with his 9mm Webley leveled, while the darkness
fluttered with swift movement.
A shadow vanished from the fire-escape
platform outside the window. The hallway door
flashed open and shut as the terrorized Mackler
fled. Hazzard took swift steps toward the window,
but paused. The radio had ceased playing; and out
of the silence an announcer’s voice rushed:
“The Court of Appeals has handed down
its decision in the Lockridge murder case, ladies
and gentlemen! The appeal has been denied. The
verdict of guilty must stand. Since the case will
not be carried to the United States Supreme Court,
and since Governor Bryant has declared he will
not intervene, Duncan Lockridge must die in the
electric chair!”
CHAPTER III
THE VANISHED JUROR
OT wrath drove Mark Hazzard to the
window where two white-rimmed holes
shone in the pane. He thrust the sash up and
crawled out. His Webley peered down the rusty
flights as he alertly descended. Eyes flashing, he
searched the black court, wary for any rustle that
might betray the flight of the would-be murderer.
He dropped from the lowest platform and
stood in black silence. Quiet steps took him past
the rear door of a building fronting on the next
street. Standing ajar, it hinted that the prowler had
escaped to the street. Hazzard shouldered through
it, ran along a hall, out a front door. He heard the
hum of a car beyond the corner and knew that his
man was fleeing.
Fury beat at his temples as he sped back.
He slipped into the building where Mackler lived
and bounded up the steps. Mackler’s room was
black and empty; the radio was playing dance
music. The line of fire across the room
strengthened Hazzard’s conviction that the man at
the window had intended to kill the cabinet maker.
He sped down the stairs and out the entrance;
crossed through quiet gloom to the doorway where
Dan Carey was waiting.
“Did you see him come out, Danny?”
“Nobody’s used that door except you,
skipper. God, what’s happened? I heard shots.”
“There were shots.” Hazzard answered
wryly. “They’ve proved to me that Lockridge is
innocent, but they can’t make a case in court.
Keep watching, Danny. If you see Mackler come
out, shadow him. Phone any message to Ann.”
“Right, skipper! Listen—I don’t get it.
You’ve been playing this jury bribing angle from
the start. Couldn’t you’ve used it to save
Lockridge at the trial?”
Hazzard watched the door of the rooming
house while he answered. “It would have made
Lockridge’s conviction all the more certain
because it would have supplied the missing
motive. Somebody bribed Platt and Mackler when
they were jurors on the Leeds case. Platt turned it
into a means of blackmail. The murderer was
H
Juggernaut Justice 11
desperate to escape paying blood money—
especially because it would mean disbarment if
either Platt or Mackler talked. Got it, Danny?”
“Sure, skipper. But—”
“Platt was killed because he threatened to
spill the works. The man who did it was watching
Mackler tonight, and tried to kill him to keep him
from telling the truth. It wasn’t Lockridge, because
Lockridge is in the death house. I’m morally
convinced it’s either Culver or Hinton—but a
moral certainty isn’t admissible in court as
evidence. I’ve got to find proof, Danny—proof,
before they strap Lockridge in the chair and throw
the switch.”
“How’re you going to do it, skipper?”
“That’s what I’m after, Danny. How.”
Hazzard hurried to his car while Carey
stayed to watch the rooming house door. He
circled the block, though he realized that there was
now no hope of sporting the man who had
attempted to silence Mackler. He turned toward
the Lambert Building. Again and again, while he
drove, he was chilled by a haunting recollection of
Inspector Trencher’s accusing eyes.
The elevator carried him to the eleventh
floor. He quietly entered the office he had rented,
to find Ann Nash sitting alertly at the recording
machine. Searching his face anxiously, she rose
and seized his hand.
“Mark, what’s the matter? You’re
worried. I can see it in your eyes.”
“Nothing, darling.” He kissed her
lingeringly and the word echoed mockingly in his
mind. “Nothing” he had said, when the ghosts of
the past were rising to rob him of all his world and
the girl he loved.
“There is something, Mark,” Ann Nash
said quietly. “I’ve seen it in your eyes again and
again. Don’t you know you can tell me anything,
Mark, and I’ll understand. Whatever is preying on
your mind is keeping us apart—making us both
unhappy. You’ve refused to marry me because of
it. Won’t you tell me what it is, darling?”
Grimly Mark Hazzard told her again: “It’s
nothing, Ann—nothing.”
A CLICK came from the automatic trip of the
recording device. The black record began to
revolve under the diamond stylus, registering
words spoken in the offices above. The girl turned
at once, eyes and ears alert. Hazzard was reaching
for the second pair of phones when the telephone
purred. He heard the breathy voice of Dan Carey
over the wire.
“Skipper, Mackler came out right after
you left. He must’ve been hiding somewhere in
the place. I followed him to your building,
skipper— the Lambert. He’s in there now.”
“Good work. Danny. Keep on the job.
When he comes out, follow him again. We’re on a
hot trail, old timer—we’ve got to play it for all it’s
worth.”
The instant he lowered the instrument,
Ann Nash whispered: “Mark! Listen!”
He adjusted the phones swiftly. A voice
was carrying clearly over the circuit. Mackler was
saying huskily:
“He’s on to it. I tell you—but that ain’t
what’s worryin’ me. That’s your funeral if it gets
found out. Somebody shot at me in my place and I
ain’t goin’ to—”
The answer was a whisper. “You fool,
don’t you know Hazzard’s tried to scare you into
talking? You have nothing to be afraid of.”
Mackler: “Those bullets missed me by less
than an inch! I’m not takin’ any more chances.
Platt got killed because of what he knew. How’11
you like it if I go to the cops with the whole story?
I know who it was that called Platt to this office. If
you want me to shut up, you’ve got to pay me
plenty!”
The whisper: “Keep quiet now! There’s a
microphone hidden somewhere in this place.
Somebody might be listening in. Listen to me,
Mackler. You’re not going to talk, and you’re not
going to get any money. Clear out!”
“I guess you’ve got plenty in the safe. I’ll
take a good big wad of it right now if you don’t
want me to go straight to headquarters and spill—”
The words ceased with a sharp, cracking
sound. Hazzard half rose, clamping the ear-phones
tight, scarcely breathing. He heard a dull thud,
then a gasp. The only sound during a long, quiet
period, was a vague, scraping noise. Hazzard
slipped the phones off and Ann Nash’s eyes
followed him anxiously as he strode to the door.
“I’m going up. Mackler’s on the point of
coming clean. Be sure you get it on the record,
Ann—every word!”
“Mark—be careful!”
He smiled a wry answer. He hammered
the elevator button while his temper flared. When
the cab left him at the twelfth floor, he strode
Secret Agent X 12
straight to the door of the firm of Lockridge.
Culver and Hinton. He found the door bolted, and
knocked. Impatience burned through him while
slow steps answered. Lawrence Hinton looked out.
“What the devil do you want, Hazzard?”
“A statement from Mackler.”
Hazzard thrust in. Hinton stood back, lips
curling, while the alert eyes of the district attorney
scanned the room. Hazzard stepped back to the
gleaming front of the inset safe; he looked into
each of the partitioned sections; he opened the
supply closet. He was certain that Mackler had
entered this office, certain that the cab could not
have carried him down. Now he found not the
slightest inkling of Madder’s presence.
“Looking for someone, Hazzard?”
“Mackler was here!”
“Here?” Hinton smiled thinly. “Besides
burglarizing the place, are you spying on us? Very
commendable, Hazzard—very. It happens you’re
wrong. No one by the name of Mackler has been
here.”
Hazzard asked quietly: “Quite sure?”
“No one named Mackler, or anyone else,”
Hinton stated flatly. “I’ve been here absolutely
alone since Culver left, an hour ago. Just what
makes you think, Hazzard, that someone was
here?”
Hazzard did not answer. Instead, he asked
again: “So you’re quite sure?”
Hinton scowled. “Hazzard, I don’t like
your actions. I still think you’re a lying,
contemptible sneak—railroading Lockridge to the
electric chair. You’ve no damned business here.
Get out!”
Red filmed before Hazzard’s eyes; his
fists went hard; but he did not strike. He controlled
his flaming temper with a desperate effort. He
forced the tension from his muscles, the rasp from
his voice, as he answered:
“Not yet, Hinton. Not quite yet. Before I
go I want to ask you some questions about the
very strange way in which Walter Platt met his
death.”
AZZARD walked slowly into the partitioned
section which he knew to be Hinton’s office.
He saw no indication that Mackler had been here.
Hinton followed him, frowning. Hazzard
confronted him, eyes narrowed, and asked:
“You told all you knew about it at the
trial, didn’t you, Hinton?”
“I knew nothing about it, and said so!”
“Shall we say only the murderer could
know that secret?”
“What the devil are you driving at,
Hazzard! Say what you have to say, and get out!”
The very softness of Hazzard’s voice was
ominous. “Walter Platt died of suffocation. His
body showed all symptoms of it when he was
dragged from the river. His whole face blue, his
blood dark and fluid—but the only mark of
violence was a bruise on his jaw, which certainly
was not fatal. That’s puzzling, isn’t it, Hinton?”
“Stop, Hazzard!” Hinton snapped. “I
heard you ask it over and over again at
Lockridge’s trial—‘What did you use to smother
Platt? What did you use to smother Platt?’
Railroading him, every word! Showing the
worshipping people that you’re a man of justice to
whom friendship can make no difference! Now
you’ve got the contemptible effrontery to ask
me—”
Hazzard interrupted gently. “What do you
think Lockridge used to smother Platt?”
Hinton stared in mute indignation,
Hazzard smiled coldly, bent forward, and
spoke rushingly:
“That was a puzzle all through the trial,
wasn’t it, Hinton? A strong man smothered to
death, without a mark of violence to show how it
was done. That murder occurred here, in this
office—but how? What is here, in these rooms,
that might have been used to suffocate a man
without leaving a single mark? Do you know the
answer to that?”
“I’ll stand for no more of this. Hazzard!
I’m not on trial. You can’t force me to answer
your damned insinuations. If you don’t get out of
here, I’ll throw you out!”
“You’ll find that,” Hazzard answered,
while his temper flared, “a fatal experiment.” He
leaned forward tensely, eyes blazing. “I know why
Platt was killed. I don’t know how, but I’m going
to find out. I’m certain Lockridge is not guilty.
You’ve heard my promise to clear him, Hinton—
and I’m going to make my word good. Clearing
Lockridge means getting the man who actually
committed the killing. Does that interest you?”
“Listen—Hazzard—”
“Just to make sure you know absolutely
nothing about it, Hinton.” Hazzard said tightly,
H
Juggernaut Justice 13
“suppose you—”
A knock sounded. A black shadow was
blotted over the pebbled pane of the entrance. The
knob twisted as Hazzard straightened. Inspector
Charles Trencher took slow, heavy steps toward
the partition.
“Hello, Hazzard!” Trencher said.
Hazzard’s mercurial temper raged.
“Surprised to find me here, aren’t you, Trencher?
Quite surprised.”
“No,” Trencher drawled. “One of the boys
happened to mention he saw you coming in here a
minute ago.”
“Happened to mention it,” Hazzard asked
acidly, “because you ordered him to watch me?”
Trencher smiled crookedly. “Well, the fact
is, Hazzard, the commissioner wants to see you.
Seems pretty anxious—guess it must be something
important. Suppose we go over to his office
together right now.”
Hazzard answered stiffly. “Listen,
Trencher. I’m here for a damned good reason. I
want to see Hinton alone. Go back to the
commissioner’s office and wait for me there, will
you?”
“We’d better go along together, Hazzard,”
Trencher answered ominously. “Right now.”
Fury crashed Hazzard’s flat to the desk.
He strode out the entrance with face crimsoned
and jaw clenched. Trencher followed him into the
waiting elevator cab, smiling crookedly. At the
lobby level. Hazzard shouldered out first. He
walked swiftly to the sidewalk and glimpsed Dan
Carey in the shadow.
“Out of sight!” his gesture warned. “Keep
an eye on Hinton.”
Trencher was stooping into the car when
Hazzard’s hand clamped on his arm. The inspector
straightened warily. The tight lips of the district
attorney clipped his words:
“The commissioner will have to wait.”
Trencher warned: “Take it easy, Hazzard.
You and I are going down there now and—”
“Not—quite—yet!”
Hazzard’s thrust sent Trencher backward.
The inspector lurched, grabbing for Hazzard’s
arm. Hazzard tensed on toe-tips and his knuckles
hissed. His blow clicked to the point of Trencher’s
chin. The inspector dove to the pavement with a
grunt. Hazzard spun, slipped behind the wheel,
and kicked at the starter.
When Trencher pulled up, black eyes
smoldering, hand groping automatically for his
gun, the tail light of Hazzard’s car streaked red
past the corner.
ONDEROUS iron gates swung open, before
Hazzard’s car and shut behind him. Guards
escorted him to the office of the veteran warden of
the State Prison. He strode to the desk of the man
who had headed the institution for thirty years.
“Wharton, I want to see Lockridge.”
The warden’s milky eyes blinked. “Sure,
you can see him if you want to—but you’re
wasting your time.”
They walked silently along bleak cement
corridors, up cold steps. Wharton led the way and
his voice rumbled.
“Wasting your time. Innocent men don’t
get executed. You can search all the court records
for three hundred years back, and you won’t find a
single authentic case of an innocent man’s paying
his life for a crime he didn’t commit. When
Lockridge gets the jolt, it’ll be a guilty man
frying.”
Hazzard said wryly: “I’m doing my best to
see that the precedent holds this time, warden.”
The hall in the remote wing where the
chair room was located rang rhythmically with
their footfalls. Men condemned to die occupied
these heavily fortified cells. Gaunt, haggard faces
looked out at Hazzard as he passed—some of them
the faces of men whom Hazzard had convicted
with a grim certainty of their guilt. But when he
paused, he gazed at the pallid features of a man he
believed with all his heart to be innocent.
“Hello, old man,” he said. To Wharton he
added: “Put through a call to Governor Bryant for
me, will you, warden? Thanks!”
Duncan Lockridge smiled wanly as
Wharton tramped away, and extended a thin hand
through the bars. Hazzard gripped it hotly. The
man who had been one of the most highly
esteemed attorneys in the city, who now was
awaiting the opening of the green door of death,
said quietly:
“I’m glad you’ve come, Mark. I want to
tell you that I don’t hold it against you. You were
fair at the trial—fair to your job and to me, too.
You’re not to blame because I’m here.”
“Duncan—” Hazzard’s earnestness
tightened his voice. “You’ve told me your story
P
Secret Agent X 14
twenty times, but I want to hear it again. There
might be something—some little thing we’ve
overlooked—that can help clear you.”
Lockridge smiled. “Certainly, Mark.” He
told it again, automatically, while Hazzard listened
intently, how he had gone into his office just as
Lawrence Hinton was leaving; how he had worked
most of the night on an important case; how he
had simply left, stopped in a nearby bar for a glass
of beer and then driven home. He had seen nothing
of Platt, had known nothing of Platt’s murder,
until the body was found in the river.
Testimony corroborating Lockridge’s
story had been disastrously weak. The elevator
operator in the Lambert Building had not
remembered the time of Lockridge’s departure.
The bartender who had served him the beer had
not recalled him at all. This, and the fact that he
had been alone in the office all the night, had
provided him with only a feeble alibi.
Hazzard asked tensed questions: “Did you
see any indication that someone else had used your
car during the night? Did you notice the scratches
on the side? Isn’t there any way you can prove you
were in that office all night without having once
gone out? Can’t you think of something I can
work on, Duncan?”
To every query, Lockridge answered:
“No.”
“And you didn’t see Platt at all that
night—not at any time?”
“No.”
Hazzard smiled. “Chin up, Duncan. I’m
not giving up. I’m going to get you out of here, old
man. That’s a promise.”
Again he gripped Lockridge’s thin hand.
Filled with a torturing bafflement, he walked
slowly back along the cold corridor. When he
entered the warden’s office, Wharton, holding the
telephone, grumbled:
“Governor Bryant’s on the wire. I got him
out of bed. You’re wasting your time and
everybody else’s.”
Hazzard gripped the instrument hard.
“Governor Bryant? Hazard speaking. I’m getting
new evidence in the Lockridge case. I’m
absolutely convinced Lockridge is innocent.
Governor, in the name of justice, will you grant
him a reprieve so that I can have more time to
build up a case and—”
Bryant’s angry voice interrupted: “What
kind of evidence? Is it admissible in court? Is it
strong enough for a new trial?”
Hazzard admitted grimly: “No. But if
you’ll give me a chance—”
“See here, Hazzard! You’ve badgered me
on this case for weeks. I’ll have no more of it!
You’ve got to have damned strong evidence
before I’ll lift a finger to save Lockridge from the
chair. That’s final, Hazzard! Good-night!”
Hazzard lowered the phone slowly. His
pulse pounded hotly as he left the warden’s office.
He peered back, in the direction of the death
house, and pictured Lockridge in his bleak cell—
Lockridge, waiting within sight of the green door,
which was destined to open soon and beckon him
to his doom.
USHED darkness lay over the city when
Hazzard stopped his car at the side of the
Lambert Building. Eleven floors above the street,
he knew, the tireless Ann Nash was still posted at
the recording machine. Somewhere Dan Carey
was keeping an eye on Hinton. He felt that the
relentless Trencher had men looking for him, with
orders to bring him to headquarters when seen—a
prisoner.
He was warily moving toward the
entrance when furtive footfalls sounded behind
him and a tense whisper came: “Skipper!”
Hazzard spun to Carey. The ex-cop’s eyes
shone startled as he peered back toward the alley
entrance and said rushingly:
“I’ve been following Hinton. He left the
office right after you did, and went home. A little
while ago he came back. His car’s around in the
alley. Just now I spotted somebody sneaking out
the back way. It’s too dark to tell if it’s Hinton, but
he’s carrying something heavy and—”
The sound of a starting motor whirred out
of the alley blackness. Hazzard strode swiftly.
Peering cautiously past the corner, he saw a car
without lights spurting toward the far street. It
swung out of sight as Carey blurted:
“That’s it, shipper! It might be Hinton! He
put something in the car—brought it down the
fire-stairs and—”
“Come on, Danny!”
Hazzard whirled back. Carey clambered
into his machine while he kicked it into action and
they turned to speed after the car that scurried
from the alley. He glimpsed it on the next street
H
Juggernaut Justice 15
when he was three intersections beyond the
Lambert Building, and twisted to follow. The
zigzagging chase led him out of the business
district, through a section of warehouses, into river
dampness. The bewildering turns of the
mysterious car took it from sight until Hazzard
chanced a swift run onto the ramp of the bridge.
Then he glimpsed it—a black, motionless
shadow at the apex of the span. A dark figure with
hunched shoulders was moving beside it, Hazzard
pressed at the accelerator when he saw the man
furtively lift something heavy and cumbersome to
the rail of the bridge. It spilled over and dropped
from sight. The black figure spun about as
Hazzard’s headlights flickered on him; and a gun
glittered in his lifted hand.
“Look out, skipper!” Carey gasped as the
gun spat fire.
The cracked windshield blinded Hazzard
when the bullet struck. His one hand twined hard
on the wheel and his other swung to his Webley.
He swerved to run alongside the other car while
the black figure sprang into it. Three swift flashes
sent slugs clanging against Hazzard’s machine.
The lightless car spurted away, swung swiftly. A
howl of alarm broke from Carey’s lips when it
came driving straight toward Hazzard’s machine.
Hazzard twisted wildly to avoid the
imminent head-on collision. Tires whined past
him. He spilled down, with his car still rushing, at
the warning glint of a gun. Twice more bullets
ripped the night air. The slugs whizzed past
Hazzard and Carey while they huddled. The other
car was roaring away when they straightened to
glimpse an iron girder directly ahead.
Hazzard flung his car aside, but the girder
tore into his right fender. They spilled forward
with the violence of the stop. Hazzard ducked out,
Webley leveled; but the other car was speeding off
the ramp, lights still out. Carey gripped the rail
and peered over, at a foamy white spot on the
black surface of the river.
“Skipper! It looked like a man’s body he
threw over! Did you see it, skipper?”
Hazzard snapped: “I saw it, Danny!
Listen. The shots might bring a prowl car at any
second. If they spot you, you’re done for. Get off
this bridge, Danny—make it fast! I’m going after
that car!”
His ringing tone urged Carey into a run
down the slope of the span as he backed and
twisted to follow the lightless car. Wind whipped
past him as he went down the ramp—and his
temper flared with the conviction that he stood
small chance of spotting the other car again. He
swung past corners, searching vainly, lips pressed
together and face hotly flushed, as he hopelessly
searched.
ITTING at his desk in police headquarters,
Inspector Trencher ceased rubbing his jaw to
listen. He recognized the quick footfalls sounding
in the corridor. His lips twisted with a grim smile
as he rose. He said to ex-Sheriff Halsey, who was
slouched in a chair, and to Commissioner Brook,
who was moving angrily back and forth:
“That’s Hazzard coming.”
Hazzard paused on the sill, eyes glinting
from Trencher’s crooked smile, to Brook’s
accusing glare, to Halsey’s stubborn defiance. He
came quickly to the desk, took up Trencher’s
pencil, scribbled on a pad. He said imperatively:
“Here’s an automobile license number. I
want to know who owns that car—and I want a
warrant for his arrest.”
Trencher drawled “Sure,” and touched a
button. “Warrant? What’s the charge?” He handed
the slip to a blue-shirted man who came in and
immediately withdrew. “Why don’t I make it two
while I’m at it? Another for Mark Hazzard,
charging assault and battery on an officer of the
law.”
“If you like, inspector,” Hazzard said
bitterly. “I want a warrant charging Lawrence
Hinton with first degree murder.”
“Hinton?” Trencher sat up. “Who’s he
killed?”
“Thomas Mackler.”
“Where’s the body?”
“You’ll have to drag the river for it.”
Trencher swiveled back. “Tell me,
Hazzard, how can I charge Hinton with murder
when we haven’t got the corpus delicti?”
Hazzard snapped: “I saw Hinton sneaking
out of the Lambert Building with a man’s body. I
saw him throw it off the bridge. My testimony will
establish the corpus delicti. I want that warrant!”
Trencher countered: “Are you absolutely
sure it was Hinton? Are you positive it was
Mackler’s body? If you’re not, you don’t get the
warrant. A mistake would get the whole
department into hot water. Eye-witnesses are
S
Secret Agent X 16
sometimes wrong, you know.”
“Stick to the procedure, be absolutely
certain before you make a move, Trencher,”
Hazzard challenged, “—and give Hinton a chance
to slip out of the state!”
“There’s plenty of time, Hazzard,”
Trencher drawled. “If we find Mackler’s body in
the river, that’ll be plenty of time. How’d Hinton
kill him? Get any idea? If you didn’t actually see
the murder committed, if your proof isn’t
conclusive—why, I can’t do anything, Hazzard,
until we’ve got the body.”
The door opened again, while Hazzard
strove to control his racing fury, and a blue-shirted
man brought a slip to Trencher’s desk. The
inspector said “Humph!” and handed it to
Hazzard. He peered at a scrawled address, and a
name: Vinton Culver. Speechless, he watched
Trencher lift the telephone and ask: “Get me
Vinton Culver’s home right away.
“Better cool off, Hazzard,” he suggested.
“Culver’s car, but you’re accusing his partner,
Hinton. You can’t have any warrant.”
“It means only that Hinton used Culver’s
car tonight—just as he used Lockridge’s to
dispose of Platt’s body.”
Trencher said “Humph!” again and
“Where’s your proof of that?” He asked into the
transmitter: “Mr. Culver? Inspector Trencher
talking. Have you been using your car tonight?
Has anyone else been using it? Just take a look at
it, will you, to make sure?” To Hazzard he
explained: “He’s going out to the garage now.
We’ll know in a minute.”
Commissioner Brook was facing Hazzard
grimly. “Look here,” he said, “Are you trying to
pull the wool over our eyes by pretending to be on
fire about the Lockridge case? You’d better let that
go, Hazzard. You’re through being the D.A.
Explain this, will you?”
He handed Hazzard two photographs.
Hazzard started. They depicted the drawn face of a
young man ten years younger than Hazzard. A
number identified the prisoner of the law known
then as Dennis Grant. Hazzard remembered, with
a pang of pain, that photograph being taken. It
brought the agony of the past into the present as he
gazed defiantly into Commissioner Brook’s eyes
and asked:
“Who is this?”
“Don’t you recognize yourself, Hazzard?”
Brook asked. “Can’t you see it’s Dennis Grant?”
“A resemblance, yes,” Hazzard countered.
“It’s why Halsey made his mistake. Since the law
demands positive evidence, you’ve got to admit
that picture is not conclusive.”
Trencher, smiling’ crookedly, put down
the telephone and remarked: “Culver says his car
is in the garage. You’re having another of your
brainstorms, Hazzard.”
“If it’s there, it’s just been put back!”
Hazzard retorted. His knuckles pressed the desk.
“You’re taking Halsey’s word that I’m the man in
that picture—taking it after a lapse of ten years.
You said a moment ago, Trencher, ‘eye-witnesses
can be wrong, you know.’ Halsey’s statement is
worth nothing.”
Halsey grumbled: “I know you’re Dennis
Grant—don’t try to bluff out of it.”
Hazzard whirled on him. “Have you
studied the science of criminology, Halsey? Are
you familiar with the experiments of Munsterberg,
Dauber, Gross, Dupre, Heindl, Hellweg—all
proving how unreliable eye-witnesses are? Do you
know it’s been proved that witnesses on the
average make an error of about five inches in the
height of a person, and mistake the age by eight
years?
“Do you know it’s an established fact that
eye-witnesses are wrong about the color of the hair
in exactly eighty -three per cent of careful tests?
Those errors were made in only a matter of
minutes, and you claim to identify me positively
as Dennis Grant after more than ten years’.”
Ha1sey reiterated stubbornly: “You’re
Grant.”
Hazzard faced Trencher. “You’ll have to
have better proof than that, inspector. Until you
get it, I’m still the D.A. Gentlemen, good-night!”
Trencher leaped up and snarled: “Come
back here, Hazzard!” as the district attorney
snapped through the door. He sprang after Hazzard
and followed swift footfalls down the stairs. When
he reached the street, Hazzard’s car was speeding
away. Trencher tramped back grimly. Once in his
office, he punched push-buttons as he snarled
commands.
His orders brought eight hard-faced plainclothes men to his desk. His voice droned at them
ominously:
“Keep this strictly under your hat. Any
man who lets it leak out will get broken. I want
Juggernaut Justice 17
Mark Hazzard. Find him. Watch his office, and
grab him. Bring him back here. Start looking for
him right now!”
Eight grim detectives went out the door
while Trencher peered at the rogue’s gallery
photographs of Dennis Grant, convicted murderer,
and smiled twistedly.
CHAPTER IV
STILL MAN-HUNT
NN NASH looked through the window of the
district attorney’s office, across the
sunlighted street at a window in police
headquarters, and saw Inspector Trencher at his
desk. She knew that the plain-clothes man posted
in the corridor was there at Trencher’s orders.
Dread certainty that Hazzard was in grave trouble
filled her, but she could not guess the reason.
Since Dan Carey had relieved her at the recorder
in the Lambert Building, she had neither seen or
heard from Hazzard.
Each empty hour was agony to the girl.
The day was an eternity of consternation and
anxiety. She remained at her desk with torture
showing in her eyes—until, long past sunset and
after a period of trying silence, the telephone rang.
“This is Vinton Culver speaking,” a voice
said. “Will you come to my home right away? It’s
very important.”
Ann Nash caught a faint hint of Mark
Hazzard’s inflection through the disguised tone.
She went from the office breathlessly, pulling on
her coat while she ran down the stairs, tugging an
impertinent hat on her head while she slipped into
her car. She sensed that she was being watched by
Trencher’s mea as she turned in the direction of
the attorney’s home.
She crisscrossed the city until she was
sure she had shaken off anyone who might be
trailing her car. She followed the bends of a
boulevard and braked in tree-shadows near
Culver’s residence. As she hurried to the entrance,
a shadow stepped from the hedge and said:
“Good girl, Ann. I’m going to need you.”
“Mark!” She whirled to him breathlessly.
“Where have you been, Mark? What’s happened?”
“No time to explain now, Ann.” His hand
closed on hers snugly while they went to the door.
“I’m in a spot, that’s all. Don’t worry about me—
it’s Lockridge I’m thinking of. I’ve got to get the
evidence to clear him tonight, no matter what it
means, or he’ll go to the chair. If Culver—”
He broke off as the entrance opened. A
maid escorted them into a library, and they waited
tensely. The girl saw that Hazzard was carrying a
small suitcase which was very heavy, that he had
something balky in his pockets. He grimly resisted
the mute question of her anxious eyes until Vinton
Culver strode toward them stiffly.
Hazzard said quickly: “Mr. Culver, I’m
pressed for time. Please trust me as much as you
can. I’m more convinced than ever that Lockridge
is innocent. You want to help me clear him, don’t
you? You want to see the man who is actually
guilty get the chair instead?”
“Certainly,” Culver answered coldly.
“Certainly. But how—”
“When Trencher called last night, about
your car, you didn’t feel the radiator to see if it
was hot? You merely made sure it was in the
garage and “Naturally. Trencher merely asked—”
“Have you seen any indications that your
car was used late last night, without your
knowledge—taken out of your garage, and then
put back?”
“No.”
“Mr. Culver, I want the combination of
your office safe.”
“What? Why? What the devil, Hazzard,
are you—”
“Give me the combination of that safe!
It’s vital. Then call Lawrence Hinton and ask him
to meet you at your office in half an hour. You’re
not going there to see him, but I am. Anyway, give
him that message.”
Culver hesitated; but the sting of
Hazzard’s words and the blaze of Hazzard’s eyes
decided him. He wrote cryptic symbols on an
envelope and handed it over. He spun the dial of
the telephone. Hazzard, taking up the heavy
suitcase, heard him say:
“Larry? I’d like you to meet me at the
office in half an hour. Yes, it’s important.”
Culver’s eyes widened. “You are? You think it
best? I’ll talk it over with you. Half an hour, yes.”
The lawyer rose and explained: “Hinton insists on
preferring charges against you, Hazzard—for
burglary.”
“That,” Hazzard declared as he strode to
the door, “is literally the least of my worries.
Good-night, Mr. Culver.”
A
Secret Agent X 18
Ann’s hand kept warmly on his arm as
they hurried to her car. He put the heavy suitcase
in the rumble compartment and clicked on the
radio while he turned toward the center of the city.
The girl asked anxiously:
“Won’t you tell me, Mark? You know I’ll
understand—anything.”
Hazzard smiled. “I know, Ann—but I
can’t. Listen. I want you to relieve Danny at the
recorder. Whatever comes over the wire tonight is
going to be of the utmost importance. I’m positive
Hinton is guilty of the Platt killing, but there’s
only one way of pinning it on him.”
Hazzard listened intently to the voice of a
news commentator issuing from the radio:
“Thomas Mackler, who was a juror in the
Leeds case, is still missing from the rooming
house where he lives. Police have been unable to
locate him. Though no information is forthcoming,
it is believe that the men now dragging the river
are searching for Mackler’s body. Whatever they
are searching for, they have not found it so far.
The swift current of the river, and its unusual
depth has in many cases made the task of dragging
it unsuccessful.”
Hazzard said wryly: “I can’t count on
that.” He turned to the girl: “Ann, Hinton killed
Platt in an unusual way. I think I know how, but
there’s no evidence to back me up. The only way
of getting that evidence is to allow Hinton to try to
kill me in the same strange way.”
“Mark!”
“A chance.” Hazzard answered. “It may
not work. But if it does, it’s going to nail Hinton—
even if I become the corpus delicti that proves him
guilty.”
The girl studied his face in wide-eyed
alarm as he swung into the alley behind the
Lambert Building. He sent her ahead and searched
the sidewalks before he followed her. Certain he
was not seen, he lugged the heavy suitcase into the
elevator cab. Ann Nash was tensely silent while
they rode up and opened the office where Dan
Carey was attending the recording machine.
“Nothing worth a damn came through
today, skipper,” Carey announced as he rose. “The
office is empty now.”
“Okay, copper,” Hazzard said with a tight
smile. “Ann’s on the job. Get some sleep, then
come back and relieve her at five in the morning.
Watch yourself. Trencher’s got men watching for
me all over town, and one of them may spot you.”
“Why, Mark?” Ann Nash insisted. “What
has Trencher got on you?”
“Please, Ann—let it go. I’ve kept clear of
him so far, haven’t I? I’ve been busy all day,
ducking his dicks and getting certain important
jobs done. Now, stick at that machine and catch
every word. On your way, Danny—and if you
know any prayers, say ’em for me.”
The girl’s gaze followed him anxiously as
he left the office. When, the elevator cab left him
at the twelfth floor, he carried his heavy case to
the door of Lockridge, Culver and Hinton. His
skeleton key admitted him. He clicked on the
lights and stood alertly listening. The rooms were
empty. The way was clear.
AZZARD carefully turned the combination
dial of the inset vault, following the cryptic
notations made by Vinton Culver. He tugged the
heavy slab of a door open and stepped into the
musty air within the steel walls, carrying the heavy
case. He sought a place to hide it, and slipped it
behind thick ledgers in a low compartment.
He reached to the single electric bulb in
the vault and unscrewed it. The globe he twisted
into the socket was a duplicate of that he had
placed in the light fixture in the outer office—a
sensitive microphone. He looked at it as he said
quietly:
“Hear me, Ann? Are you getting it? Stay
at the machine—I’ll call you in a minute.”
He stepped out and thrust the heavy door
into its frame. He spun the dial to scatter the
combination, and brought a bottle from his coat
pocket. With a brush he dusted its powdery
content over the dial and the handle; it left an
almost invisible film of white. He pocketed both
bottle and brush, stepped to the office switchboard
and dialed the number of the phone in the room
below.
“Did you get it, Ann?”
“Yes, clearly.”
“Good! Listen. Hinton’s almost due. Get
every word that’s said up here—it’s absolutely
vital. The whole case may depend on those
records. There isn’t time to explain now—you’ll
get it later, over the wire. On the job!”
She echoed: “On the job,” and her voice
was strained with anxiety.
Hazzard shrugged off his coat, tossed his
H
Juggernaut Justice 19
hat aside. His watch told him that almost half an
hour had passed since Culver had telephoned
Hinton. He walked back and forth tensely while
the minutes crawled. He turned abruptly, facing
the door, when the elevator grille clacked open in
the corridor. Steps sounded; a shadow blurred over
the pebbled pane of the entrance.
Lawrence Hinton paused, eyes narrowed
at Hazzard. He came in slowly, without speaking,
his lips tightening maliciously. Hazzard saw
desperation in the deeply graven lines of Hinton’s
face. He said quietly:
“I’ve got a theory I want to talk to you
about, Hinton.”
Hinton retorted: “You’ve gone too far
with your highhanded methods. You’re going to
face a charge of breaking and entering. I’m calling
the police right now.”
Hazzard smiled: “Go ahead.”
Hinton strode quickly to the switchboard.
“Culver and I will both testify that you’re guilty of
committing a burglary.”
The dial spun under his nicking finger,
“You’re through as the district attorney.”
Hazzard suggested: “Ask for Inspector
Trencher. He’ll be quite interested.”
The receiver clicked. “Headquarters?”
Hinton asked with a rasp. “Give me Inspector
Trencher.” He glared defiance at Hazzard.
“Trencher? Lawrence Hinton calling. I want to
prefer a criminal charge against Mark Hazzard.
He’s here, in my office now. Good!” He jerked the
plug from its socket and rose. “Trencher’s coming
right over.”
Hazzard said: “While we’re waiting for
him. I’ll tell you why I came. I’ve got a theory—I
mentioned that. I think I know how Platt was
killed. It’s the answer to the whole nasty business,
Hinton.”
Hinton’s eyes narrowed.
“Platt came to this office. The bruise on
his jaw, found in the necropsy, showed he’d been
hit hard—knocked unconscious. The man he was
trying to blackmail did that—the man who bribed
him as a juror on the Leeds case. You did it, didn’t
you, Hinton?”
Hinton challenged; “Can you prove it,
Hazzard?”
Hazzard admitted: “No. Platt’s dead—and
so is Mackler, in the same way. You were in this
office with Platt. You knocked him down. You
thought you’d killed him on the spot, didn’t you.
Hinton—that wizened little man with heart
trouble. You were terrified, and you tried to think
how you could cover yourself. You were here,
with Platt on the floor, supposedly dead, when you
heard the elevator stop—Lockridge coming up.”
Hinton’s eyes were glaring. “Go on,
Hazzard,” he bade huskily.
“Your only thought, when you heard
Lockridge coming, was to hide him. The safe was
standing open. You dragged Platt into it and
locked him in. You pretended to Lockridge that
nothing had happened, and went out. That’s what
killed Platt, Hinton—all the post-mortem
symptoms show it—suffocation while he was
locked in that safe.”
Hinton snarled: “You’re talking damned
nonsense!”
“Am I? You had to wait until Lockridge
left the office before you could get Platt out of the
safe. You used Lockridge’s car that night—and
Culver’s to get rid of Mackler. You’ve sneered at
me for convicting Lockridge, but you’re letting
him go to the chair for a murder you—”
Hinton struck with savage desperation.
Hazzard had seen that fist grow hard. He had seen
it begin driving toward his jaw. H« was a trained
boxer who could have parried that crushing blow
with ease but he deliberately let Hinton’s hard
knuckles jolt him to his heels. He collapsed like a
dropped length of chain.
Hinton stood stiff, knuckles bleeding. He
bent over Hazzard; He made sure that Hazzard
was unconscious. With feverish haste he strode to
the safe and turned the combination dial. He
tugged the heavy door open. He dragged Hazzard
into it. His moves became frantically swift as he
shoved the slab into its frame and scattered the
combination—for footfalls were sounding in the
hall.
CHAPTER V
FINGERPRINT TRAP
HE safe locked. Hazzard was imprisoned in it.
Hinton made sure of that while he steadied
himself and answered the rap of knuckles on the
entrance. He stepped back as Inspector Trencher
came in with eyes blackly ominous.
Hinton blurted: “Hazzard knocked me
down when I was turning from the telephone,
T
Secret Agent X 20
inspector. He ran out—maybe he used the firestairs. I’ll charge him with burglary when you find
him.”
Trencher drawled: “Beat it, did he? Don’t
worry, Hinton. I’ll grab that hot-head.”
Hinton followed Trencher into the
corridor. He stood rigid, watching the inspector
charge down the fire-stairs.
When the footfalls were no longer audible,
he peered into the office, eyes narrowed in
wonder. The microphone haunted his mind. It
must be hidden somewhere. He touched the
elevator button, tensing with a growing
determination, his eyes gleaming with the same
savage light that had filled them when he had
trapped Hazzard in the vault.
He stepped tensely through the opened
grille and asked of the night elevator operator:
“Did he come from the street, that man you
brought up first? Do you remember where he came
from?”
“No, he came from the eleventh floor,” the
operator answered. “He’s got an office there.
Eleven-twenty.”
“Take me down.”
Hinton’s slitted eyes turned to 1120 when
he left the cab. He took slow, steps toward it and
silently twisted the knob. It held. He listened
through, to a faint rustle of movement. His face
became a mask of murderous intent—and he
knocked.
Ann Nash heard the sharp rap through a
voice that was speaking over the wire. She had
clearly heard Mark Hazzard’s accusation of
Hinton. She had caught the thud of the driving
blow and the thump of Hazzard’s falling1 body.
Trencher’s voice, and Hinton’s again, had
followed a strained interval. Again there had been
a period of baffling silence, but now a voice was
speaking in the phones; and it was the voice of
Mark Hazzard.
“Can you hear me, Ann? It’s all right.
Hinton knocked me cold for a few minutes. Did
you get it all, Ann?”
Again the imperative knock sounded. The
girl turned anxiously, slipping off the phones. She
rushed to the door, drew the bolt, whispered,
“Come in, Danny,” and hurried back. The voice
was sounding again when she replaced the phones.
She heard quiet steps behind her while it said:
“I’m inside the vault, Ann. Hinton has
locked me in. He plans to leave me here until I’ve
died of suffocation. It won’t be long before—”
An unseen hand snatched the phones from
Ann Nash’s head. Another clamped across her
eyes as she turned frantically. She tried to springup as an arm crushed her and dragged her back.
The shattering-crash she heard was the fall of the
desk lamp. Blackness filled the office and blinded
the girl while the pressing hand lifted from her
eyes to her mouth. She strove to escape the mad
strength of the man who held her—until a
paralyzing blow struck the side of her head.
The girl became a limp burden in
Lawrence Hinton’s arms. He lowered her, and sent
the recording machine crashing to the floor with a
savage kick. Its turn-table jammed to a stop. He
clawed at the girl’s dress, ripped it open, tore off
the sleeves. He used one to bind Ann Nash’s
slender ankles, the other to pinion her wrists. He
stuffed a silken gag into her mouth and tied it
tight; and he left her unconscious while he turned
to the automatic recorder.
It was broken. He took the composition
disc from the turn-table and broke it in his hands.
In a compartment in the lid he found other records;
and he cracked each one apart. He made certain
that he had destroyed every one before he stole for
the door. He carried the fragments out with him.
Ann Nash, peering through the haze of returning
consciousness, vaguely saw him go, though she
couldn’t distinguish who it was.
A dim voice echoed in her mind—Mark
Hazzard’s. “I’m in the vault. Hinton has locked me
in. He plans to leave me here until I’ve died of
suffocation.”
The girl strove desperately to break from
the silken bonds. She tried to cry out, but her
muffled voice was inarticulate. With all the
strength she could summon, she tried to tug her
wrists free, to kick her ankles loose—but the knots
were hard, the bands painfully tight.
“I’m in the vault .... Hinton locked me in
.... to die of suffocation.”
The corridor beyond the door was silent.
When the elevator hummed, the cage passed the
level of the eleventh floor without stopping. The
nearest offices were empty; and beyond the
window was heavy darkness. Ann Nash could not
know how many endless minutes passed while she
tugged at her bonds. She could think only of the
voice of Mark Hazzard as it had come over the
Juggernaut Justice 21
wire:
“Locked in the vault .... die of
suffocation.”
Tears streamed from Ann Nash’s eyes while she
lay exhausted. The faint shine from the street
vanished on the pane, and told her that dawn was
near, that hours had passed. Again and again she
renewed her attempts to break free, but each
sapped her strength. She lay faint, heart pounding,
aware of nothing but that voice, conscious of no
feeling save the dread of the death it had promised
Mark Hazzard.
“Locked in the vault .... to die .... die ....
NN NASH scarcely heard the sound that
came at last to disturb the crushing silence.
Her eyes turned dimly toward the shadow that
appeared on the pane. She heard a key click, saw
the blur of a square face, heard a blurted expletive.
It was Dan Carey. She summoned her
strength as she felt the knife in his hand sawing at
the silk. She ignored his questions as she struggled
to her feet. She tottered to the door and gasped:
“Danny—call Culver—Culver. He’s got
to open the safe—Mark’s in it. Get Trencher.
They’ve got to—open the—safe.”
An amazed elevator operator carried the
exhausted girl in her torn dress up one floor. She
tugged at the knob of the entrance of the suite of
law offices and implored the attendant to open it.
She waited in agony until the pass key drew the
bolt; and she stumbled to a stop, gazing in terror at
the shining door of the vault.
“Mark—Mark!”
She was trying with unreasoning
hopelessness to find the combination on the dial
when Dan Carey shouldered in. Carey exclaimed:
“I got ’em both—Culver and Trencher. I told ’em
to come fast as they can make it.” he shuddered.
“Is he in there, Ann—the skipper?”
“He’s been there for hours—hours,” she
wailed. “He may be dead, Danny—it’s been so
long.” A noise in the corridor brought alarm to her
eyes. “You’ve got to keep away from Trencher,
Danny. Please go. There’s nothing we can do—but
wait.”
Dan Carey grimly remained until the hum
of the elevator warned him. He sped to the firestairs door and peered back through a crack to see
Trencher and Culver hurrying into the office. He
heard Ann’s desperate: “Open it—open it!” and
grimly crept down.
In the office. Culver raised his hand to the
dial and hesitated. “Hazzard’s in there?”
Trencher gripped the girl’s arms and
demanded: “How the devil did he get in there?
What’s happened? Speak up!”
She tried to turn from him and implored
again: “Please open it—please! It’s been so long-”
Culver tensely began turning the disc.
“Hinton put him in there!” the girl
exclaimed wildly. “Hinton hit him, and dragged
him in, and left him there to die. If—if Mark’s
dead—if it’s cost him his life—-he’s proved
Lockridge is innocent just the same.”
Culver exclaimed: “That’s right.” Ann
peered as the lawyer thrust at the huge steel
handle. A moan of despair broke from her
trembling lips when she saw that it would not turn.
Trencher blurted blasphemy—for Culver, in his
nervous anxiety, had missed one of the points of
the combination by a hair.
HE inspector snapped: “Try it again—quick!
No—wait!”
He listened alertly. A faint hum was
issuing from the elevator shaft. A cab was coming
up. Trencher pushed Culver away from the vault.
He seized the girl’s arm firmly. With a sharp
gesture toward one of the partitioned offices he
snapped:
“Get out of sight! That might be Hinton
coming. If he’s guilty—if it’s cost Hazzard’s life
to prove it—I’m going to get him cold! Get in
there!”
He thrust Culver into the office. He forced
the girl with him, and quickly closed the door.
Ann Nash scarcely breathed when the click of the
opening lock sounded. Trencher brought his
service gat into his crusty hand while slow
footfalls moved across the office. Silently he
opened the door a crack; and his black eyes
narrowed on Lawrence Hinton.
Hinton’s eyes shifted warily right and left
as he stood at the vault, listening. His lips curved
with malevolent triumph as he reached to the dial.
He paused to glance at his wristwatch; and he
mumbled: “Seven hours—seven hours.” There
was no sound in the office while Trencher watched
Hinton through the crack as the man selected the
combination of the vault on the dial.
The last number stopped under the mark.
A
T
Secret Agent X 22
Hinton seized the handle, thrust it down. He
tugged the great door slowly open, retreating with
it. Light gleamed on the floor in a spreading fan,
and Hinton stepped into it. He expected to see
Mark Hazzard lying twisted on the floor, face
swollen, eyes protruding, dead of suffocation. He
did not expect the sight he beheld—Hazzard
standing erect, smiling calmly, Webley firmly
leveled.
“Raise your hands, Hinton,” Hazzard said.
“I think this case is closed.”
Hinton stood stock still, shocked icy cold,
staring at the apparition who came at him out of
the vault. He scarcely heard the swift movement
behind him. He retreated slowly, almost unaware
that Trencher’s hard hand was closed on his arm.
He heard a girl’s: “Mark—Mark!” and saw the
frantic girl fling her arms around the ghost who
continued to level an automatic at him.
“Hold him, Trencher!” Hazzard’s arm
tightened snugly around Ann. “It’s all right,
darling. Didn’t you get it on the wire? I told you
I’d brought in two small oxygen tanks in the
suitcase—didn’t you get it? I’ve been waiting for
Hinton to come back. Ann, it’s all right!”
“He broke the machine!” the girl sobbed.
“I didn’t know, Mark—I didn’t know!”
Trencher growled while Hinton still
stared: “You’ll testify that Hinton locked you in
there, will you, Hazzard? Was that the way he
finished Platt—and Mackler?”
“Exactly,” Hazzard said. “I’ll testify to it,
and so will the stuff on his hands. I powdered the
dial and the handle with naphthionate of sodium
when I first came in here. It’s still on his skin even
if he’s washed his hands in the meantime. It’ll
shine under ultra-violet light. You’re familiar with
that thief-trap, aren’t you, Trencher?”
Trencher snarled: “If that’s so, Hinton,
you’re nailed beyond all doubt!”
Suddenly Hinton wrenched away. He spun
to drive a wild blow into Trencher’s face. He tore
his arm loose and whirled to the door as Hazzard
went from Ann Nash’s arms with automatic
twinkling. He bounded after Hinton into the
corridor. He stopped short, straddled, when Hinton
crouched at the entrance of the fire-stairs with a
revolver glinting up from his pocket. Hazzard
leaped aside at the first thunderous report.
Screaming lead caromed off the corridor
walls. Gunsmoke gusted in the dim light. Stinging
flecks hit Mark Hazzard’s face while his automatic
crashed. He took slow steps forward, peering
narrowly at Hinton, sprawled on the floor,
whimpering with the pain of a broken arm. When
Hazzard paused it was because Trencher’s bighand closed on his arm.
“There’s your man, inspector,” Hazzard
said. “Pick him up.”
Trencher answered: “All right, Hazzard.
From now on this case is entirely mine. I’m taking
Hinton to headquarters, and I think you’d better
come along. How about it, Hazzard—considering
this?”
“This” was a card Trencher had slipped
from his Docket. Hazzard saw fingerprint smudges
on it. He saw blank spaces filled in with haunting
dates, under a black line indicating the card
belonged to the records of the Philadelphia Police
Department. A sigh of utter despair drained his
lungs as he gazed haggardly at the lettered name:
Dennis Grant: and, following Convicted of, that
dread word: Murder.
The card went back into Trencher’s
pocket.
LUISH light filled the room in police
headquarters where Hinton’s tired voice
droned. Ultra-violet light, shafting from a
reflector, bathed Hinton’s hands while officers
held them during the confessional. The brilliant
phosphorescence on the fingers was a shine that
proved a killer’s guilt.
“Lockridge gave me the Leeds case to
organize. If we lost it, it would be my fault. That’s
why I bribed Platt and Mackler. Lockridge and
Culver didn’t know anything about it.” Hinton
recited as the police stenographer’s pencil sped. “I
couldn’t pay blood money to Platt. If he talked, it
would mean the end of me as a lawyer—maybe
send me to jail. I didn’t mean to kill Platt. But
Mackler—”
Mark Hazzard turned at a touch on his
shoulder. “Governor Bryant on the wire,” a
whisper said. He went quietly out the door, into
the office where Trencher, Commissioner Brook
and ex-Sheriff Halsey were waiting. He smiled
tightly and took up the phone.
“Hazzard, you were right from the
beginning,” Governor Bryant said. “I’m issuing a
pardon to Duncan Lockridge at once. Thank God
you found out the truth before it was too late.”
B
Juggernaut Justice 23
Hazzard said “Thank you, governor,” and
turned to face Trencher. The inspector’s ominous
black eyes were upon him: that crooked smile
meant victory. Trencher slowly handed the
fingerprint card to Hazzard and asked: “What have
you got to say to that—Dennis Grant?”
Hazzard’s eyes went over that card like a
microscope. His smile had grown when he tossed
it to the desk. “That’s not worthy of you,
Trencher,” he said, “not a palpable fake like that.”
“Fake?” Trencher snapped. “What do you
mean—fake? Those are your prints, aren’t they?”
“My prints,” Hazzard admitted. “The date
of arrest on that card is December 4. 1924. Down
here in the corner is a little code imprint made by
the printer. See it?”
He pointed to the tiny type: 45-100M-3-435.
“It means that this fingerprint record card
is Form 45 in that shop. The order called for a
hundred thousand of them. They were run through
the press on March 4, this year. That card didn’t
come into existence until eleven years later than
the date of arrest written on it. You overlooked
that, didn’t you, Trencher?”
Trencher jerked to his feet. “All right—
but you can’t get away from these photographs!
That’s you—Dennis Grant, murderer! Can you
deny that, Hazzard?”
Hazzard leaned forward tensely. “That
fingerprint card is a fake. These photographs are
questionable. You’ve heard of the case of Will
West and William West, both convicts at
Leavenworth Penitentiary in 1903, both negroes,
one a murderer and one guilty of manslaughter—
two men absolutely identical in appearance,
impossible to tell apart, though they were
absolutely no relation to each other. Amazing,
Trencher—but such similarities happen. Realizing
that, can you pin this thing on me?”
Trencher retorted: “There’s a man who
identifies you absolutely as Dennis Grant,” and he
gestured to ex-Sheriff Halsey.
Hazzard gazed at Halsey levelly. He said
quietly: “Listen. The charge you’ve made is
enough to wreck my whole life. It’s come down to
this—your word against mine. All right. Halsey.
Are you willing to answer a few questions?”
Halsey challenged: “Ask me anything you
please. I know you’re Grant.”
“You were sheriff in Delphia County
when Grant was convicted of murder in
Philadelphia, more than ten years ago, weren’t
you?”
“I was.”
“How long were you sheriff there?”
“Four terms.”
“You remember me—remember me,
distinctly as Dennis Grant—among all the men
who become your prisoners during that time?”
“I do. You’re Grant.”
“Then you’d remember all the others as
well, wouldn’t you, Halsey?”
“I’d know ’em anywhere. I never forget a
face. I haven’t forgotten your?”
Hazzard smiled as he removed a
photograph from his pocket. He offered it to
Halsey and asked: “Then you remember this
man?”
Halsey peered at the photograph and
answered gruffly: “No, I don’t remember him.”
“What!” Hazzard’s voice rang with
surprise. “You never forget a face, yet you don’t
remember the man in that picture?”
The ex-sheriff shifted uneasily in his
chair. “Wait a minute now. I’m gettin’ it.”
“What’s the matter with your perfect
memory, Halsey?” Hazzard demanded. “Don’t
you remember his name—the crime he
committed—anything about him? Do you confess
your recollection is faulty—that it can’t be relied
on?”
“No, I don’t!” Halsey snapped. “It’s
comin’ back to me. His name—”
Hazzard asked swiftly: “Was it Frank
Harker or Ernest Berger or Henry Flint—which of
the three was it, Halsey?”
“Flint!” Halsey exclaimed. “That’s his
name, Henry Flint!”
“Flint,” Hazzard echoed. “What was his
crime? Murder, burglary, kidnaping, or—”
“Murder! That’s him. He killed an old guy
named Moses Abrams. He was sentenced to the
chair. You can’t fool me, Hazzard! I remember
him, just as sure as I remember you!”
Hazzard straightened, smiling. “Henry
Flint, once a prisoner of yours, sentenced to
electrocution for murdering: one Moses Abrams.
You remember him just as sure—as you remember
me.” And Hazzard laughed.
Trencher snapped: “Cut that out. Hazzard!
You can’t get away from it! You’re Grant—”
Secret Agent X 24
“One moment, inspector!” Now Hazzard
was not laughing. His eyes were blazing, his face
reddening as his temper flared. He took the
photograph from Halsey’s fingers and turned to
the desk. “You heard Halsey identify this picture
definitely. It’s his word, and his word alone,
you’re trying to use to ruin me. Look at this
picture, Inspector Trencher. Study it well.
“I spent hours this morning finding it. I
spent more hours waiting while a photographer
copied it to make it look like a rogue’s gallery
picture. Perhaps you’ll recognize it more easily
than Halsey did!”
He turned on Halsey and his words rang
sharply. “That photograph was made ten years
ago—of the very man you’re looking at now.
Henry Flint, murderer? That’s not his picture.
You—the man whose word might send me to
prison for life—you identified that man as a
killer—and it’s an old picture of Inspector Charles
Trencher!”
Trencher sat stunned. Commissioner
Brook stared in baffled amazement. Halsey shrank
sheepishly, the mumble on his lips an inaudible
protest. Mark Hazzard, his eyes shining sharply,
turned to the door and opened it.
“Good-night, Inspector Trencher.” he said.
“Or, shall I say, ‘good-night, Henry Flint’?”
When he closed the door, he saw Ann
Nash hurrying up the stairs. She came to him
anxiously. In his arms she asked quickly: “What is
it, Mark? Please—what’s the matter?”
Hazzard was listening—through the door.
He heard Commissioner Brook growl: “You
damned fool, Halsey!” And Trencher’s voice was
a roar. “Get out of here, you halfwit! Get out of
this office before I break your neck!” Hazzard
stepped aside as Halsey charged out and went
stumbling down the steps. His quiet laughter came
from his heart; but the girl asked worriedly again:
“What is it, Mark?”
“Nothing, Ann—nothing!”
This time the word meant—nothing. The
spectre of Dennis Grant, convicted murderer, had
fled into the darkness of the past.

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