The Daffodil Mystery

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THE DAFFODIL MYSTERY

by

EDGAR WALLACE

Ward, Lock & Co., Limited London and Melbourne Made and Printed in Great Britain

CONTENTS

I. AN OFFER REJECTED

II. THE HUNTER DECLINES HIS QUARRY

III. THE MAN WHO LOVED LYNE

IV. MURDER

V. FOUND IN LYNE'S POCKET

VI. THE MOTHER OF ODETTE RIDER

VII. THE WOMAN IN THE CASE

VIII. THE SILENCING OF SAM STAY

IX. WHERE THE FLOWERS CAME FROM

X. THE WOMAN AT ASHFORD

XI. "THORNTON LYNE IS DEAD"

XII. THE HOSPITAL BOOK

XIII. TWO SHOTS IN THE NIGHT

XIV. THE SEARCH OF MILBURGH'S COTTAGE

XV. THE OWNER OF THE PISTOL

XVI. THE HEIR

XVII. THE MISSING REVOLVER

XVIII. THE FINGER PRINTS

XIX. LING CHU TELLS THE TRUTH

XX. MR. MILBURGH SEES IT THROUGH

XXI. COVERING THE TRAIL

XXII. THE HEAVY WALLET

XXIII. THE NIGHT VISITOR

XXIV. THE CONFESSION OF ODETTE RIDER

XXV. MILBURGH'S LAST BLUFF

XXVI. IN MRS. RIDER'S ROOM

XXVII. THE LAUGH IN THE NIGHT

XXVIII. THE THUMB-PRINT

XXIX. THE THEORY OF LING CHU

XXX. WHO KILLED MRS. RIDER

XXXI. SAM STAY TURNS UP

XXXII. THE DIARY OF THORNTON LYNE

XXXIII. LING CHU--TORTURER

XXXIV. THE ARREST

XXXV. MILBURGH'S STORY

XXXVI. AT HIGHGATE CEMETERY

XXXVII. LING CHU RETURNS

CHAPTER THE LAST. THE STATEMENT OF SAM STAY

THE DAFFODIL MYSTERY

CHAPTER I

AN OFFER REJECTED

"I am afraid I don't understand you, Mr. Lyne."

Odette Rider looked gravely at the young man who lolled against his open desk. Her clear skin was tinted with the faintest pink, and there was in the sober depths of those grey eyes of hers a light which would have warned a man less satisfied with his own genius and power of persuasion than Thornton Lyne.

He was not looking at her face. His eyes were running approvingly over her perfect figure, noting the straightness of the back, the fine poise of the head, the shapeliness of the slender hands.

He pushed back his long black hair from his forehead and smiled. It pleased him to believe that his face was cast in an intellectual mould, and that the somewhat unhealthy pastiness of his skin might be described as the "pallor of thought."

Presently he looked away from her through the big bay window which overlooked the crowded floor of Lyne's Stores.

He had had this office built in the entresol and the big windows had been put in so that he might at any time overlook the most important department which it was his good fortune to control.

Now and again, as he saw, a head would be turned in his direction, and he knew that the attention of all the girls was concentrated upon the little scene, plainly visible from the floor below, in which an unwilling employee was engaged.

She, too, was conscious of the fact, and her discomfort and dismay increased. She made a little movement as if to go, but he stopped her.

"You don't understand, Odette," he said. His voice was soft and melodious, and held the hint of a caress. "Did you read my little book?" he asked suddenly.

She nodded.

"Yes, I read--some of it," she said, and the colour deepened on her face.

He chuckled.

"I suppose you thought it rather curious that a man in my position should bother his head to write poetry, eh?" he asked. "Most of it was written before I came into this beastly shop, my dear--before I developed into a tradesman!"

She made no reply, and he looked at her curiously.

"What did you think of them?" he asked.

Her lips were trembling, and again he mistook the symptoms.

"I thought they were perfectly horrible," she said in a low voice. "Horrible!"

He raised his eyebrows.

"How very middle-class you are, Miss Rider!" he scoffed. "Those verses have been acclaimed by some of the best critics in the country as reproducing all the beauties of the old Hellenic poetry."

She went to speak, but stopped herself and stood with lips compressed.

Thornton Lyne shrugged his shoulders and strode to the other end of his luxuriously equipped office.

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