The Assistant Commissioner of Police pressed a bell on his table, and, to
the messenger who entered the room a few seconds after: "Ask Inspector
Wembury if he will be good enough to see me," he said.
The Commissioner put away into a folder the document he had been reading.
Alan Wembury's record both as a police officer and as a soldier was
magnificent. He had won a commission in the war, risen to the rank of
Major and had earned the Distinguished Service Order for his fine work in
the field. And now a new distinction had come to him.
The door opened and a man strode in. He was above the average height. The
Commissioner looked up and saw a pair of good--humoured grey eyes
looking down at him from a lean, tanned face.
"Good morning, Wembury."
"Good morning, sir."
Alan Wembury was on the sunny side of thirty, an athlete, a cricketer, a
man who belonged to the out--of--doors. He had the easy poise and the
refinement of speech which comes from long association with gentlemen.
"I have asked you to come and see me because I have some good news for
you," said the Commissioner.
He had a real affection for this straight--backed subordinate of his. In
all his years of police service he had never felt quite as confident of
any man as he had of this soldierly detective.
"All news is good news to me, sir," laughed Alan.
He was standing stiffly to attention now and the Commissioner motioned
him to a chair.
"You are promoted divisional inspector and you take over 'R' Division as
from Monday week," said the chief, and in spite of his self--control,
Alan was taken aback. A divisional inspectorship was one of the prizes of
the C.I.D. Inevitably it must lead in a man of his years to a central
inspectorship; eventually inclusion in the Big Four, and one knows not
what beyond that.
"This is very surprising, sir,'" he said at last. "I am terribly
grateful. I think there must be a lot of men entitled to this step before
Colonel Walford shook his head.
"I'm glad for your sake, but I don't agree," he said. And then, briskly:
"We're making considerable changes at the Yard. Bliss is coming back from
America; he has been attached to the Embassy at Washington--do you know
Alan Wembury shook his head. He had heard of the redoubtable Bliss, but
knew little more about him than that he was a capable police officer and
was cordially disliked by almost every man at the Yard.
"'R' Division will not be quite as exciting as it was a few years ago,"
said the Commissioner with a twinkle in his eye; "and you at any rate
should be grateful."
"Was it an exciting division, sir?" asked Alan, to whom Deptford was a
Colonel Walford nodded. The laughter had gone out of his eyes; he was
very grave indeed when he spoke again.
"I was thinking about The Ringer--I wonder what truth there is in the
report of his death? The Australian police are almost certain that the
man taken out of Sydney Harbour was this extraordinary scoundrel."