Mystery Net Community Writing Mysteries Novel Excerpts
This is a brief exerpt from my first novel 'The Law Beyond The Law'. Or should we say the first novel I've ever been pleased with, since I wrote four before I hit on this plot. As we join the story, the chief of The Law Beyond The Law, a vigilante organisation, is marshalling his friends for another skirmish with London's criminal underworld. The Characters are Arcos, the chief, a myserious man with a tin face, Archie Vaughan, heir to an English title, Norman Trevelyan, criminologist, Harry Arnage, one-time New York detective, and Yvette Smith, a white African, and the 'Court recorder' of the gang. Arcos smiled over the table.
‘Now then, let us, as the Bishop said to the suitably scandalised actress, get to work. We delivered a message last week to Paul Ruxton, cheap crook of the month in Mayfair magazine. Let us hope that Mark Hendon spoke to him in a dream last night and said ‘after me cometh a bruiser, tell him, I too have known’ . Or maybe not.’
‘What’s he done that warrants our attention?’ Norman asked.
‘And you mangling Kipling, dear old boy,’Archie added, suitably scandalised.
‘I don’t like his dial, in fact, I have a deep-rooted moral objection to his dial. As for his crime, he is a pub landlord...’
Harry stood up, full of righteous indignation. ‘We ain’t temperance crusaders!’ he cried, in what promised to be the beginning of a fine speech on the merits of booze.
‘Sit down you ass, Arcos hadn’t finished speaking.’
‘And it’s frightfully bad manners to interrupt.’
‘As I was trying to say, before Harry interrupted me, he’s a pub landlord who distributes dope to his customers. There you see Harry, that is his sin, he is abusing a position of trust and authority.’
‘Oh.’ Harry took a swig from a bottle of scotch.
‘Harry,’ said Yvette coldly, ‘you’ll pickle your liver.’
Norman stood up. ‘Anything else?’
‘Yes. Yvette, show Norman the photograph of mugsy.’
Yvette handed Norman the photograph required. Their hands touched for a brief moment, then parted.
Norman looked at the picture with mounting excitement, examining it carefully with a jeweller’s eyeglass.
‘This man is a murderer.’ He said at last. ‘If he hasn’t killed anyone, I’d be very, very surprised. Has he?’
‘Yes. And no. He gave someone bad dope and they murdered a girl. Other than that, I haven’t heard of any murder.’
‘Can you arrange for us to meet, face-to-face? I’d love to see his eyes. Much of a man’s soul is in his eyes. There’s a group in the Himalayas who believe it is possible to tell all of a man’s life from his eyes. I myself do not go so far, but have you ever read Carerra?’
Arcos laughed. ‘No Norman, I’ve never read Carerra, nor have I any inclination to do so. What would you say about that face though?’
‘The face is delicate, but not so delicate when one takes into account the size of the nose. And his jaws are powerful, very powerful. Does he move them while he walks?’
‘I thought so. Observe also the lips, they are swollen, it’s very rare to find lips like that in a European. His eyes are bright, too bright, as I said, I’d love to see them in the flesh. The occiput... My, my, what an occiput! A homicidal head if ever I saw one! And the teeth! Why, the canines are enormous. As I said, if he hasn’t killed a man yet then it’s because he hasn’t got round to it. A man with his face is capable of anything at all!’
‘Which means,’ Arcos said, with considerable humour in his voice, ‘that Norman agrees with me. He also does not love Ruxton’s dial.’
‘Love it? My dear man, I must go out and see it!’
‘And so you will. Tonight. But first we have to arrange the strange actions of Paul Ruxton. Now, Yvette and I have worked out a very, very cunning plan. Norman, You’ll have to use your cunning on him. If that fails, use a cosh on him,’ I won’t mind too much.
‘It won’t fail. I promise.’
At quarter past ten that evening, a truculent gentleman staggered into the White Hart public house, which was licensed to Mr. Paul Ruxton. The gentleman wore a soft grey felt hat and a double-breasted suit.
Going up to the bar he said; ‘Paul sent me.’ And was let into a back room. Paul Ruxton greeted him there.
‘How much do you want?’
The young man, who looked lean and dangerous, pulled a cigarette case from his pocket and handed Ruxton a hand-rolled cigarette.
Ruxton looked down at the little tube.
‘What is it?’
‘A drug I picked up in Singapore.’ Norman said easily, ‘I heard you were interested in that sort of thing, so I thought I’d give you first option on the stuff.’
Norman lit his cigarette and puffed on it. Ruxton did likewise and was pleasantly surprised. The drug was mild, and yet he felt perfectly at ease with himself.
‘It is good.’
‘Yes. And yet I’ve heard of men going out of their minds in places like this, in the East.’
Ruxton laughed. It was not a pleasant laugh, being too fat and jovial to
Mystery Net Community Writing Mysteries Novel Excerpts 'The Law Beyond The Law' By Hugh Drummond.
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