The Case of the Vanishing Corpse (Andrew Tillet, Sara Wiggins & Inspector Wyatt Series #2)

The Case of the Vanishing Corpse (Andrew Tillet, Sara Wiggins & Inspector Wyatt Series #2)

by Robert Newman

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Overview

Sherlock Holmes isn’t the only detective in London—Andrew Tillet and Sara Wiggins at your service!

Andrew Tillet can hardly believe his luck. Only one year ago he landed in London completely unaware of his real name and identity, or that his mother was the beautiful and accomplished actress Verna Tillet. Now that he and Verna have been reunited and Sara and her family are well provided for, it seems like all their dreams are coming true.
 
But no amount of good fortune can spoil Andrew and Sara’s taste for adventure, and when they run across an unusually observant policeman named Constable Wyatt, they have a feeling they’ll be seeing him again.
 
When they do, it’s sooner than expected. The fabulous Denham diamonds have been stolen from Verna Tillet’s own bedroom, and Andrew, Sara, and Constable Wyatt jump on the case. But how did the thief get into the second-floor window without a ladder? When Andrew and Sara find a fresh corpse on their lawn one night, only for it to disappear before the police arrive, can they convince anyone to follow the clues and recover the jewels before it’s too late?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781497685970
Publisher: Open Road Media
Publication date: 12/30/2014
Series: Andrew Tillet, Sara Wiggins & Inspector Wyatt Series , #2
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 231
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Born in New York City, Robert Newman (1909–1988) was among the pioneers of early radio and was chief writer for the Inner Sanctum Mysteries and Murder at Midnight—forerunners of The Twilight Zone that remain cult favorites to this day. In 1944 Newman was put in charge of the radio campaign to reelect Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was also one of the founding members of the Radio Writers Guild, which became the Writers Guild of America.

In 1973 Newman began writing books for children, most notably the Andrew Tillet, Sara Wiggins & Inspector Wyatt mysteries. The series takes place in Victorian London and follows the adventures of two teenage amateur detectives who begin as Baker Street Irregulars. Newman has also written books of fantasy, among them Merlin’s Mistake and The Testing of Tertius. His books based on myths and folklore include Grettirthe Strong, and he has published two adult novels.

Newman was married to the writer Dorothy Crayder. Their daughter, Hila Feil, has also published novels for children and young adults. Newman lived his last days in Stonington, Connecticut.
Born in New York City, Robert Newman (1909–1988) was among the pioneers of early radio and was chief writer for the Inner Sanctum Mysteries and Murder at Midnight—forerunners of The Twilight Zone that remain cult favorites to this day. In 1944 Newman was put in charge of the radio campaign to reelect Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was also one of the founding members of the Radio Writers Guild, which became the Writers Guild of America.

In 1973 Newman began writing books for children, most notably the Andrew Tillet, Sara Wiggins & Inspector Wyatt mysteries. The series takes place in Victorian London and follows the adventures of two teenage amateur detectives who begin as Baker Street Irregulars. Newman has also written books of fantasy, among them Merlin’s Mistake and The Testing of Tertius. His books based on myths and folklore include Grettirthe Strong, and he has published two adult novels.
Newman was married to the writer Dorothy Crayder. Their daughter, Hila Feil, has also published novels for children and young adults. Newman lived his last days in Stonington, Connecticut.

Read an Excerpt

The Case of the Vanishing Corpse

Andrew Tillet, Sara Wiggins & Inspector Wyatt, Book Two


By Robert Newman

OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA

Copyright © 1980 Robert Newman
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4976-8597-0


CHAPTER 1

The Surprising Constable


Andrew's train arrived at Paddington at a little after two. The first person he saw when he looked out of the compartment window was Sara, better known as Screamer. She was halfway down the platform, near the barrier. He waved to her, she waved back, then people came between them and he lost sight of her. He was travelling with two other boys from school and it took a few minutes before they all got porters. As they started along the platform towards the luggage van, he looked for Sara again, but she was gone.

"Will you be wanting a cab?" the porter asked Andrew as he put his trunk on a barrow.

"I'm not sure," said Andrew. He glanced toward the barrier, and there was Fred, looking taller than he actually was in his uniform. "No, I'm being met."

Fred came up as Andrew surrendered his ticket.

"Good afternoon, Master Andrew," he said, touching the cockade on his shiny top hat.

"Good afternoon, Fred." He turned to the boys who had travelled down with him. "Can I take you anywhere?"

"You're for St. John's Wood, aren't you?" said Bragaw, the older of the two.

"Yes."

"We're going the other way, Belgravia and Kensington. Thanks, but we'll take a growler."

"Right. See you in September."

Andrew watched them go off, then said to Fred, "Didn't I see Sara out on the platform?" "Probably. She was out there."

"Well, where did she go?"

"I don't know. She must be around someplace."

Fred had been a jockey—and a good one—before he became a coachman. This gave him a fairly high opinion of himself. As a result, though he was respectful to Andrew's mother, whom he admired enormously, he was very offhand with everyone else.

"This way, mate," he said to the porter.

As they moved off towards the exit, Sara reappeared from behind a column.

"There you are," said Andrew. "What was the idea of disappearing that way?"

"You were with someone."

"Two boys from school. What of it?"

She shrugged.

"That's no answer. Did you feel shy about meeting them?"

"I'm not shy about meeting anyone!" she said hotly. "I thought you might feel funny about introducing me."

"Why?"

"Because you told me how almost everyone at that precious school of yours felt about having anything to do with girls—even sisters. And sometimes even mothers."

"That's true. I did say something about that. But I'm not almost everyone. I'm me."

"And so of course you wouldn't have minded." Her statement was intended to be crushingly ironic, but there was a note of uncertainty in it.

"No, I wouldn't."

When the train had pulled in under the iron and glass roof of the station, Andrew had found himself comparing that arrival with the one a little less than a year before when he had come to London for the first time. He had known no one then, and London had been a frightening place. Now it was home.

But great as that change had been, the one that had taken place in Sara had been just as great and even more dramatic. When he had first met her, she had been a waiflike street urchin who spoke such broad Cockney that he could barely understand her. Now her speech was even more careful than his—that was Andrew's mother's doing—and in her straw hat and white muslin dress she looked as if she'd stepped out of a Gainsborough painting. Much as he liked the way she looked, however, he hoped she wasn't too changed in other ways. For there were too many things about the old Sara—or rather Screamer—that he had admired.

Flushing a little under his scrutiny, she said, "Got your eye full?"

He grinned. Those were the first words she had said to him when he had stared at her in front of Sherlock Holmes's lodgings on Baker Street—and she said them now as she had said them then—aggressively and nasally.

"No," he said. "But I think I may have by the time I go back to school." They went towards the exit. "How's your mother?"

"Fine."

"And Sam?"

"Fine too. He says studying is hard work, but I think he likes it."

"That's good."

Sam was Sara's brother—a little older than Andrew—who was now in Stubbington House in Fareham, studying for the examination that might allow him to become a naval cadet. That was Andrew's mother's doing too—that, and many other things, like the way she had made Sara's and Sam's mother the housekeeper at their new house—all to show her appreciation for what the Wigginses had done for Andrew when he had first arrived in London.

They were outside now, and there, between a hansom cab and a four-wheeler, was the Tillett's new landau. Fred had just put Andrew's bag and trunk into it, and the porter was leaving.

"Just a second," said Andrew, reaching into his pocket for a tip.

"Keep your hair on," said Fred. "I took care of him."

"Why should you?" asked Andrew.

"You don't think it was me own brass, do you?" said Fred. "Your mother gave it to me." He turned to the porter. "Are you all right, mate?"

"Right as ever went endwise," said the porter. He touched his cap to Sara and Andrew and went off whistling.

"In you get," said Fred, opening the polished black door for them. He closed the door, climbed up into the box, shook the reins and they moved off into the traffic that was going up Praed Street.

This was another of the things that was so new Andrew found it hard to believe; riding in his mother's carriage behind a pair of matched bays. And to make it perfect, the weather was warm and the landau's top was down. Andrew glanced at Sara and could tell that she was enjoying it as much as he was.

"Is my mother at the theatre?" he asked.

"Yes. They're having the dress rehearsal—that's why she couldn't come to the station. But she wants you to pick her up at about six."

Andrew nodded. "She wasn't too sure about the play before. How does she feel about it now."

"She thinks it's all right. That it might go."

"Might go?" said Fred from the box. "It's going to be a smasher!"

Smiling, Andrew exchanged glances with Sara.

"How do you know?" he asked.

"How do I know a Derby winner?" said Fred emphatically. "I seen some of the rehearsals. And I talked to some of the stage hands and the chap at the stage door. They think she's a ruddy marvel."

Like the carriage and the house in St. John's Wood, this was new to Andrew too. Until recently his mother had been away, playing on the continent and in America and he had known very little about her; certainly not that she was a well-known and successful actress. Though they had become very close since her return to England, he had never seen her on the stage. But he had seen the effect she had on people—men in particular—and was not surprised at Fred's enthusiastic admiration for her.

Her relationship with Sara was something else again. Verna herself had been born in Lambeth, the daughter of street musicians, and had come to the stage by way of the music halls. She undoubtedly saw herself in Sara, who was a brave, quick-witted child with natural acting ability; and so Verna had paid special attention to her—her speech and dress and manners—when she took the Wiggins family under her wing.

"Have you anything else to tell me?" Andrew asked Sara.

"No."

"How's school?"

"Oh, all right. How's yours?"

"All right too."

"Your mother said you were playing a lot of cricket."

"Just on the house team."

They were just passing Lord's and Sara nodded to it and said, "Well, you won't have to travel very far if you want to watch any while you're at home."

"No. As a matter of fact, I want to see the Eton-Harrow match. Would you like to go?"

"Oh, yes!"

"I'll see what we can do about it."

They crossed Wellington Road and St. John's Wood High Street, turned left and a few minutes later they were at the house on Rysdale Road.

It was quite large, larger than most of the villas that lined the street; a three-story stucco house set well back from the road with a garden in front of it. Fred turned into the graveled driveway and stopped under the porte-cochere. Matson opened the door. He was quite tall and grey-haired, and he stooped slightly. Andrew had not understood why they needed a butler when they had Mrs. Wiggins to supervise the running of the house, but Verna said it was expected of someone in her position. That may have been why Matson always looked slightly pained; because he was aware that his post was more ceremonial than anything else.

They went through the accepted ritual with Matson hoping that he had had a pleasant journey ("Yes, Matson. Thank you."), then went inside where Mrs. Wiggins and Annie, the upstairs maid, were waiting.

"Hello, Mrs. Wiggins," said Andrew.

"Welcome home, Andrew," said Mrs. Wiggins. Then abandoning dignity—and the ritual—in favor of honest emotion, she embraced him. "I'm that glad to see you!"

"And I to see you."

"Annie," said Matson, carefully avoiding looking at them, "will you help Fred take Master Andrew's things upstairs?"

"Yes, Mr. Matson," said Annie.

"I'll go up too," said Mrs. Wiggins. She went up the stairs with him, opened the door to his room. It was large and sunny, just across the hall from his mother's suite.

"I think you've got everything you'll want," said Mrs. Wiggins.

"I'm sure I have," said Andrew.

They waited while Fred and Annie brought in the trunk and bag, put them down and left.

"Would you like me to unpack for you?" asked Mrs. Wiggins.

"No, thank you. How are you?"

"I'm fine, just fine. You heard about Sam?"

"Sara told me he's working hard but doing well."

"Yes, he is. Everything's too good to be true, thanks to your mother. She's a wonderful woman."

"Yes, she is. But then so are you."

"Nonsense!"

"Well, mother and I think you are." He had gone over to the window and was looking out.

"What's happening next door at the marchioness's?"

"Have they started already?" Mrs. Wiggins looked out also. "I guess they have."

Three Oaks, home of the Marchioness of Medford, was probably the largest estate in St. John's Wood. Surrounded by a high stone wall, it was several acres in area. Besides the imposing house, it had formal and informal gardens, lawns, greenhouses and a small lake. Usually quiet, for the marchioness was a bit of a recluse, there was a good deal of activity there now; gardeners were working on the already carefully tended grounds and other men were setting up two large marquees.

"She's opening up the house and grounds tomorrow," said Mrs. Wiggins. "For charity, some hospital or foundling home or something. I think your mother's expecting to go. Would you like some tea?"

"I don't think so, thank you. I understand I'm to meet my mother at the theatre at six."

"That's right."

"I think I'll take a walk, look around, till it's time to leave." He opened the door. "Do you know where Sara is?"

"Probably in her room."

"Oh, Sara!" he called. Sara's room was at the end of the hall, near the back of the house. After a moment the door opened.

"Yes?" she said, looking at him oddly.

"I'm going for a walk. Want to come with me?"

She glanced at her mother, then looked at him again.

"Are you sure you want me?" she asked.

"Would I ask you if I didn't? Come on."

Again she glanced at her mother, then she came toward him, and they went down stairs together.

"What was that all about?" he asked when they were outside.

"What was what?"

"Whatever was going on between you and your mother."

"I don't know what you're talking about."

"Stop it, Screamer. Of course you know. Now what is it?"

He had called her Screamer deliberately—to remind her of the things they had done together less than a year ago. And apparently it had an effect.

"She said, if she let me go meet you at Paddington, then that was that. I wasn't to follow you around or expect you to spend any time with me."

"Why not?"

"I don't know."

"Screamer!"

"All right. Because I'm a girl, and boys don't like to be with girls, not until they're much older, and besides I'm younger than you. But most important of all—" She broke off.

"Yes?"

"Nothing."

"Screamer, the most important thing of all can't be nothing. Now what is it?" Her face stony, she did not look at him.

"All right. If you won't tell me, I'll tell you. It's because your mother's our housekeeper, so it's not proper."

"That's right."

"You mean I guessed what she said to you, but it's certainly not right. It's all wrong. Some boys may not like to be with girls, but I'm not some boys. I told you that at the station. And I don't care that you're a little younger than I am. As for this housekeeper thing, did it matter who I was and who you were when I first came to London and you took me in, took care of me?"

"Because we didn't know who you were—you didn't know yourself—though I knew you were a toff."

"Well, I knew who you were—you were my friends. And my mother knew it too, and that's why she asked you to come here. So let's not have any more of this nonsense."

"It's not nonsense!" said Sara forcefully. "I don't want you to do me any favors!" "Well, I'd like you to do me a favor. I'd like you to stop talking rot! If I ask you to come out for a walk with me, it's because I want you to!"

"Well, all right then," said Sara more quietly. They looked sideways at one another and when Andrew smiled at her, Sara flushed and finally smiled also.

They were out on Rysdale Road now, approaching the high stone wall that surrounded Three Oaks.

"I hear there's going to be a big do in there tomorrow," said Andrew.

"A quid to get in," said Sara. "But that includes tea or bubbly."

"How do you know?"

"I heard the marchioness's head groom telling Fred. Your mother's going."

"Why? She doesn't know the marchioness, does she?"

"No. But since it's for charity she thinks it's the neighborly thing to do."

Andrew was thinking about this, wondering why she should want to be neighborly, when a barrel organ began playing somewhere behind them. They turned, the music got louder, and a street musician came around the corner and into Rysdale Road. He was a slight, dark man with a large mustache. He was wearing a brown velvet jacket, baggy trousers and a black felt hat with a feather in it, and sitting on his shoulder, dressed exactly as he was, was a small monkey.

"Coo! Lumme! A hurdy-gurdy man!" said Sara, months of practice in proper speech forgotten in her excitement. "Have you got ha'penny for him?"

"I think so," said Andrew.

They walked back toward him. As they approached, the monkey leaped to the top of the barrel organ, from there to the ground and held up a tin cup. Andrew took some coins out of his pocket but when Sara said, "Oh, let me!" he gave them to her and she dropped them into the monkey's cup.

"Grazie, signorina," said the organ grinder, bowing. "Grazie, signor."

He pulled on the cord that was fastened to the monkey's belt, and the monkey bowed too, taking off it's hat, then leaped back to the organ and from there to the man's shoulder again.

"Will you play something for us?" asked Sara.

"Con piacere," said the musician. He began turning the crank of the organ and the strains of "Funiculi, funicula" echoed along the quiet street. Her face rapt, Sara closed her eyes and began dancing as she must have danced dozens of times before when she was a dirty-faced street urchin living in Dingell's Court. Andrew watched her, admiring—not just her grace—but the way she forgot where she was and how she was dressed, everything but the music and what she was doing. He had a feeling that when his mother was Sara's age she had danced in the streets of Lambeth just as Sara was doing now.

But this wasn't Dingell's Court or Lambeth. It was Rysdale Road in St. John's Wood.

Heavy footsteps sounded on the pavement.

"Now then," said an official voice. "That'll be all of that. Pack it up and move along there."

The music stopped in the middle of a phrase, Sara opened her eyes, and she and Andrew looked up at the policeman.

"Si signor," said the organ grinder. "Si, si."

"Oh, no!" said Sara.

"Why does he have to move along?" asked Andrew. "He's not bothering anyone."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Case of the Vanishing Corpse by Robert Newman. Copyright © 1980 Robert Newman. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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