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Fire-Tongue   By: (1883-1959)

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FIRE TONGUE

By Sax Rohmer

CONTENTS

I. A CLIENT FOR PAUL HARLEY II. THE SIXTH SENSE III. SHADOWS IV. INTRODUCING MR. NICOL BRINN V. "THE GATES OF HELL" VI. PHIL ABINGDON ARRIVES VII. CONFESSIONS VIII. A WREATH OF HYACINTHS IX. TWO REPORTS X. HIS EXCELLENCY ORMUZ KHAN XI. THE PURPLE STAIN XII. THE VEIL IS RAISED XIII. NICOL BRINN HAS A VISITOR XIV. WESSEX GETS BUSY XV. NAIDA XVI. NICOL BRINN GOES OUT XVII. WHAT HAPPENED TO HARLEY XVIII. WHAT HAPPENED TO HARLEY (continued) XIX. WHAT HAPPENED TO HARLEY (concluded) XX. CONFLICTING CLUES XXI. THE SEVENTH KAMA XXII. FIRE TONGUE SPEAKS XXIII. PHIL ABINGDON'S VISITOR XXIV. THE SCREEN OF GOLD XXV. AN ENGLISHMAN'S HONOUR XXVI. THE ORCHID OF SLEEP XXVII. AT HILLSIDE XXVIII.THE CHASE XXIX. THE CATASTROPHE XXX. NICOL BRINN'S STORY OF THE CITY OF FIRE XXXI. STORY OF THE CITY OF FIRE (continued) XXXII. STORY OF THE CITY OF FIRE (continued) XXXIII.STORY OF THE CITY OF FIRE (continued) XXXIV. NICOL BRINN'S STORY (concluded)

CHAPTER I. A CLIENT FOR PAUL HARLEY

Some of Paul Harley's most interesting cases were brought to his notice in an almost accidental way. Although he closed his office in Chancery Lane sharply at the hour of six, the hour of six by no means marked the end of his business day. His work was practically ceaseless. But even in times of leisure, at the club or theatre, fate would sometimes cast in his path the first slender thread which was ultimately to lead him into some unsuspected labyrinth, perhaps in the underworld of London, perhaps in a city of the Far East.

His investigation of the case of the man with the shaven skull afforded an instance of this, and even more notable was his first meeting with Major Jack Ragstaff of the Cavalry Club, a meeting which took place after the office had been closed, but which led to the unmasking of perhaps the most cunning murderer in the annals of crime.

One summer's evening when the little clock upon his table was rapidly approaching the much desired hour, Harley lay back in his chair and stared meditatively across his private office in the direction of a large and very handsome Burmese cabinet, which seemed strangely out of place amid the filing drawers, bookshelves, and other usual impedimenta of a professional man. A peculiarly uninteresting week was drawing to a close, and he was wondering if this betokened a decreased activity in the higher criminal circles, or whether it was merely one of those usual quiescent periods which characterize every form of warfare.

Paul Harley, although the fact was unknown to the general public, occupied something of the position of an unofficial field marshal of the forces arrayed against evildoers. Throughout the war he had undertaken confidential work of the highest importance, especially in regard to the Near East, with which he was intimately acquainted. A member of the English bar, and the last court of appeal to which Home Office and Foreign Office alike came in troubled times, the brass plate upon the door of his unassuming premises in Chancery Lane conveyed little or nothing to the uninitiated.

The man himself, with his tropical bronze and air of eager vitality, must have told the most careless observer that he stood in the presence of an extraordinary personality. He was slightly gray at the temples in these days, but young in mind and body, physically fit, and possessed of an intellectual keenness which had forced recognition from two hemispheres. His office was part of an old city residence, and his chambers adjoined his workroom, so that now, noting that his table clock registered the hour of six, he pressed a bell which summoned Innes, his confidential secretary.

"Well, Innes," said Harley, looking around, "another uneventful day."

"Very uneventful, Mr... Continue reading book >>




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