Face to Face

Face to Face by Ellery Queen Read Free Book Online

Book: Face to Face by Ellery Queen Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ellery Queen
blank page, and it hasn’t anything to do with illness or oversight.” He stopped suddenly. “Of course!” And he fished in his pocket and landed his cigaret lighter.
    â€œWhat are you going to do, Ellery?” demanded Inspector Queen, alarmed. “Watch that flame!”
    Ellery had doubled the diary back on its spine, leaving the blank page dangling, and he was carefully passing the flame of the lighter under the page.
    â€œInvisible ink?” said Burke. “Oh, come, Ellery.”
    â€œConsidering her tricky mind,” Ellery said dryly, “I beg to differ.”
    Still, even to Ellery’s astonishment, something began to appear on the blank page. The entry seemed to consist of a single word; try as he would with the flame, no other writing showed up.
    Then they were staring at it:
    f a c e
    handprinted in the same spidery italic fashion, with spacing between individual letters, as in the case of the dying message, except that this f a c e was more surely written.
    â€œAgain.” Ellery glared at it. “She wrote that same word on December first! In her diary. Now why would she have done that—four weeks before she was murdered?”
    â€œUnless she had a premonition of her death,” Burke suggested.
    â€œShe must have had a lot more than a premonition,” Inspector Queen said irritably, “to have written it in invisible ink.” Then he threw up his hands. “Why am I always stuck with the nut cases? Magic ink! The next thing, it’ll be rabbits out of a hat!”
    â€œVery possible,” Ellery said. “It seems to be that kind of rabbity business.”
    â€œIsn’t it common in the States, talking about show business,” murmured Burke, “to nickname theatrical personalities? Bing Crosby, The Voice. Betty Grable, The Legs. And wasn’t there a star—what was her name? Marie McDonald—you people called The Body? Has there ever been one called The Face?”
    â€œIf there has been, I missed it,” Ellery said. “Anyway, Harry, I point out again that in both cases—the dying message and this invisible-ink diary entry—the word is spelled with a lowercase ƒ. No, it’s nothing like that. Face …” Then he said, “Dad.”
    â€œWas there anything unusual about Glory’s face?”
    The old man shrugged. “Just a face. They all look the same dead.”
    â€œI think I’d like to see this one.”
    â€œBe my guest.” And they left Inspector Queen seated gloomily behind GeeGee Guild’s desk, beginning to leaf through the diaries.

    In the taxicab on the way to the Morgue, Ellery said, “Now that we’re out from under the frosty eye of my father, Harry, how about telling me what you and he were putting your heads together about?”
    â€œOh, that.” Burke seemed abstracted. “I didn’t want to mention it before I checked it out with your old man—” he smiled briefly “—I’m in a strange country, remember, and one should learn the protocol of the natives. But he says it’s all right.”
    The Scotsman squirmed back in the cab. “It has to do with the case that brought me here in the first place. Miss—Mrs. Armando’s original request to the Yard was to ask if they would find a certain girl, a niece of hers, Lorette Spanier. Since it wasn’t either a criminal or a missing-persons case, simply a question of locating a relative whose whereabouts she didn’t know, the Yard had no jurisdiction and Commissioner Vail recommended me for the job, as I told you. I made the financial arrangements with Miss Guild—damn it all, I cannot think of her as Mrs. Armando!—with a transatlantic phone call, and went to work.”
    The background for his search, Burke explained, had been ordinary enough. Glory’s family back in Minnesota were dead; her sole surviving

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