Boy's Cinema (1930-31)

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Every Tuesday 'BOY'S CINEMA 15 Thrills, mystery and suspense in an exciting story of the Secret Service, starring Alice Day and John Holland, The Mysterious Shot.] CRACK! John Conioy's rather stern brows drew together abruptly, and he involuntarily turned his head listen- ing. There was no mistaking that sharp noise, like a large piece of brittle wood being snapped sudilonly. It was a revolver shot ! Cautiously Conroy left the mirror, where he had been standing tyinp his tie, and crossed to the door of his room. There was a puzzled look on his face. This hotel in which he lived was one of the quietest in the city, and the last thing he would have expected was the sound of firearms. He had two rooms on the third floor, one leading into the other. The inner room—the one he now occupied—was the bed-room, and to get from there to the landing he had to pass through his living-room. He opened the door slowly, and almost simultaneously a girl rushed from the landing into the living-room. She paused abruptly at the sight of him. "Oh!" she exclaimed in alarm. Conroy studied her closely, and noted that she looked palo and distraught, as though in fear of her life. He became tense, realising that he had stumbled upon some mystery. "Where did you come from?'' he asked quickly. She ran across the room and gripped his arm in panic. "Don't let them get me!" she cried. "I don't understand. What's the (•rouble ?" "I was on the landing outside deliver- ing a package for my employer, Mr. Barstow," she explained. "Suddenly I heard footsteps behind me, and turned to find a horrible-looking man coming towards me with a life-preserver in his hand. I was scared. I pulled a revolver from my handbag and fired." She covered her face with her hands and started to tremble. "It all happened so quickly," she went on breathlessly. "I di<ln'i realise wlial I was doing. Please—please help me !" Conroy looked at her thoughtfully for a moment, then went across to the door leading to the hall and locked it. He returned to lier side, and on his face was an expression of frank puzzlement. "I still don't understand," ho said. "Why were you carrying a gun?" "I have to. Mr. Barstow insists upon it. He is a stockbroker, and most of the packages I carry are worth thousands of pounds." Conroy opened his mouth to another question, when noises from the landing made him stop. A crowd of people had gathered from adjoining rooms, disturbed by the shot, and Conroy coidd hear the voice of the hotel detective ordering them to stand back. "Did you hit the man you fired at?" Conroy asked quickly. "I don't know. I didn't see." Someone knocked. Conroy caught the girl by the shoulders and thrust her towards the bed-room. "In there quickly," he said. "I'll see to the folks outside, and you can finish your explanations afterwards." "Oh, thank you !" "Don't stop to thank anybody. Hide!" She vanished info the other room as the knock was repeated, and Conroy crossed (o the outer door. He unlocked it and threw it open. The hotel detective was standing out- side, but there was no sign now of the aggressive manner in which he had been heard speaking to the others. "Sorry to trouble you, Mr. Conroy," he said in a respectful manner, "but a girl took a shot at someone and dis- appeared down this end of the landing. Did she come in here?" Conroy smiled disarmingly. "She couldn't have done," he replied. "I've only just got up, and the door was locked from the inside until I opened it a moment ago. Anybody hurt?" "No, sir. Whoever it was she fired at must have run like blazes, because there's no sign of him." He scratched his head, puzzled. " It's a funny business." "Well, I'm afraid 1 can't help you," said Conroy. "All right, sir. Good-morning!" " Good-morning !" Conroy closed the door again and silently locked it. Then ho turned eagerly towards the bed-room, wonder- ing what strange chance had thrown the lovely but mysterious intruder across his path. "It's all right now," he said, enter- ing the bed-room, and stopped abruptly. It was empty ! A hurried glance round showed him what had happened. The bottom of the window was wide open, and the curtains were flapping in the morning breeze. She had taken advantage of his con- versation with the hotel detective to make good her escape. "Fool!" he said angrily to himself, and started for the window. But ho never reached it. As he pas.sed his dress- ing-table ho caught sight of a sheet of paper that had not been there before, and on it was scrawled the words : "If you will call at 225, Elmore Drive, I will explain.— Marion Dale." " Phew i" ho muttered as he read thft enigmatic message a second time. "{ wonder what the game is?" November 2Sth, 193L I