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Release date: October 1, 2023

Original publication: New York: The Frank A. Munsey Company, 1920

Credits: Roger Frank and Sue Clark


The white-painted fruit steamer steamed out between the forts and turned toward the south. She only touched at Bahia del Toro to drop the mail on her downward trip, though on her return toward the north she paused to take on a portion of her cargo. The Stars and Stripes at her masthead fluttered brightly in the golden sunshine of midday, and the same sunshine made the sea seem bluer, and the palms greener and vividly alive. Half a dozen small launches that had clustered about the white ship scattered and made for different points along the waterfront of the city.

There was a clattering of tiny hoofs. One of the house-boys had been down to the wharf to get the New York papers Beckwith had arranged should be sent him. They would contain the details of Conway's death, and Beckwith drew in a pleasurable breath at the thought of reading them.

These flimsy bundles of print had been brought four thousand miles for him to enjoy this moment. He would read of the death of Hugh Conway, multimillionaire philanthropist, patron of the arts, and other worthy things to the extent of a reportorial vocabulary, killed in the most open and daring fashion by William Beckwith, now at large. He would read of the letter left pinned to the multimillionaire's breast in which that same William Beckwith announced his reasons for killing the millionaire, and the precise fashion in which he intended to escape punishment.

Beckwith smiled cheerfully to himself as he visualized in advance the excited indignation with which the editorial comment would point out the loophole of which he had taken advantage. For weeks to come there would be indignation and anger at his calm defiance of the law and the power of the United States, while here in Bahia del Toro he would live openly and happily, frankly glorifying in the crime he had committed, respected and feared by the people.

There were the newspapers. The murder of Hugh Conway would be good for a scarehead on the front page.

Beckwith spread out the paper with his uninjured hand and ran his eye over the head lines. Hugh Conway--Hugh Conway. Where was it? Not on the first page. Beckwith glanced at the date with a frown. The date was that of the day after the murder, and surely it should have been a news feature. He looked on the second page. Nothing there. He ran his eye over the third page and the fourth.

He flung the flimsy sheet impatiently aside and picked a second. The date was the same, and the name of the paper was that of one of the most sensational journals in New York. That, at least, would play up the murder in great shape. A new airplane record, a crisis in Europe, a prominent divorce case. Not one word of Hugh Conway. The second page.

Beckwith rumpled the newspaper and threw it away. He bit angrily on his cigar. He had killed Conway, strangled him with his two hands. He took up the third paper, then the fourth. Not a word concerning Conway. Beckwith growled throatily, then an idea struck him.

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