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The Mayfair Bandit. A novel by Hugh Drummond.
 
Hugh Drummond - 04:02am May 25, 1999 PST
" I have a criminal mind... I see bad in everyone," (Mr. J.G. Reeder)

Hello again, fellow mystery-netters. This is an extract from my second work, The Mayfair Bandit. To be exact, it's part of the prologue The Mayfair Bandit.

Prologue.

We Meet the Bandit

The London streets were dark and deserted for the main part. This was one of the residential areas of W1, where people love, live and sleep, but do it behind doors. If they want to do anything outside, they go elsewhere to do it. Mainly to their respectable clubs, or guiltily to low night clubs, where no gentleman ever goes.

Yet somewhere, above the Mayfair streets, someone moved.

Now, the very existence of a someone was a cause for concern. People who roam rooftops hardly ever do so for completely legitimate reasons. The appearance of the someone was a further cause for concern, or would have been if anyone had seen him.

He was six foot tall, and dressed entirely in black, making him almost invisible against the black sky. So much was hardly unusual. Black is virtually the uniform of the cat-burglar, for very practical reasons.

What was unusual was his hat, a wide-brimmed, black felt sombrero, itís band decorated with silver embroidery, which glittered like stars in the moonlight; that and his long black cloak, fastened at the throat with a silver clasp, and his gauntlet-like gloves, of black leather.

But, above all these things, the oddest thing about him was the long, slim rapier by his side, in itís black velvet sheath.

In all, the effect was rather like an old-fashioned bandit, of a type long-gone, transported to the present. Zorro on the rooftops of Mayfair, pursuing his eternal quest for justice. An apt allusion.

The bandit bent down to examine a sky-light at his feet. With nimble fingers and a variety of bright steel instruments, he opened the light, having first circumvented the complex alarm in a manner that showed, however old-fashioned his clothing, his technical skills were bang up to date.

Silently, he opened the skylight and dropped through, into an attic room beneath, onto a soft carpet. Not that his crepe-soled boots would have made a sound on bare boards.

The bandit looked about himself. He was in a small room, fitted out as a bedroom, a womanís bedroom. In the cast-iron bedstead slept a blonde angel of a housemaid.

He smiled.

ĎDonít worry, I havenít come for you tonight. The honest can sleep soundly.í

But he said it to himself, and she remained sleeping.

He left her there, sleeping, and moved down into the main part of the house, a part of the house decorated with Old Masters and New Messes, arranged in a manner which seemed to indicate that their owner didnít appreciate their artistic merits, only their snob value. The antique furniture, all styles and all periods, and the sculpture, bore out that unpleasant impression of ignorant eclecticism.

ĎCaramba!í the bandit muttered, Ďsuch injustice. So much of this would be better in a museum than here.í

He strolled insolently down the corridor, as if he owned the place, his rapier swinging jauntily by his side.

Reaching a tall pair of double doors, he opened them silently and stepped into the room beyond.

The room was in darkness. But it was a city darkness, not a true darkness, and the bandit was used to darkness of an inkier, desert, kind. He saw that the room was utterly feminine, and decorated in impeccable taste, unlike the rest of the house. In the bed lay a woman in her thirties, twice as beautiful as her newspaper portraits. She looked so peaceful. Yet the bandit knew she was not.

He left her there, asleep. She was not his target, and he had no wish to rob her. She was a victim, after all. His quarrel was with the man whose victim she was.

He opened another door and stepped through. Instantly he knew this was the room he wanted. It held a double bed, and sprawled on that bed were two naked figures, a fat man of forty-something, and a skinny girl who couldnít be a day over nineteen, and was probably a lot younger.

The room was decorated with the same disregard for taste as the rest of the house, and the girl in the bed was decorated too, with gold and diamonds wherever jewels could be put, within reason.

The man in the bed was the husband of the woman whose room the bandit had accidentally entered. The girl was a model. Why, the bandit had no idea. To his critical eye she was just a plain, skinny girl, a mere child, a thin, flat-chested creature, with an angular figure and dull eyes.

With a soft touch and a dispassionate eye, the bandit stripped every jewel from her immature body, every necklace and bangle. Her ear-rings, the gold chain about her waist, even her rings, went into his velvet bag. The manís Rolex joined them.

But those were trinkets, a bonus strike at the evil rich. His real target was elsewhere.

He moved to the fireplace. Over


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     [F] Mystery Net Community  / Writing Mysteries  / Novel Excerpts  / The Mayfair Bandit. A novel by Hugh Drummond.