often do two murders so near together. They'd be frightened to. You can kill one person without anyone suspectin'—except someone very clever—but if you start killin' everyone what comes along nacherally people get sort of suspicious. I mean when nearly everyone someone meets dies they nacherally get suspicious an' start cuttin' 'em up to see if they really died nacheral. That's how most murderers get found out. They get sort of reckless. They say, ' Well, that one went off all right. Let's try another.' But I don't think this one's one of the reckless ones. I think he's too careful to be one of the reckless ones."
They had reached the gate of Beechgrove. William approached it cautiously. Douglas still more cautiously hung behind. William was relieved to see that the man had neither syringe nor spade ready to hand. He was engaged in the innocent occupation of tying up roses with raffia. Emboldened by this, William leaned precariously over the gate.
" Come back, William," whispered Douglas. " He might have a pistol."
The man looked up. Having no implement to hand, and being at a critical point in his operation, he merely growled at them ferociously.
" 'Scuse me," said William with elaborate politeness. " 'Scuse me interruptin' you, but would you kin'ly tell
me where ole Sc-----where the gentleman who lives
next door is ? "
" Mr. Barton ? " snapped the man. " He's gone away for a holiday, and be off with you or I'll-----"
William hurled valour to the winds and fled discreetly.
At the end of the road he collected his panting followers.
" Thought I'd better pretend to be scared of him," he explained casually, " to put him off the scent. It's always best to pretend to be scared of 'em to put 'em off the scent."