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Extract: Artie Conan Doyle and the Scarlet Phantom

Posted on 29/11/2019 in Artie Conan Doyle Mysteries Books

Priceless stolen jewels.
An invisible criminal.
This case can only be solved by the world’s greatest detective.
No, not Sherlock Holmes!

Boy-detective Artie Conan Doyle, the real brains behind Sherlock, faces another fiendish mystery.
With his best friend Ham and quickwitted scientist Peril, Artie is on the trail of jewel thief the Scarlet Phantom.
Can Artie solve the mystery before the Phantom pulls off the greatest robbery in history?

In the following extract, Pendragon – a paranormal investigator – thinks his special machine has caught the invisible thief…

“I have him!” Pendragon announced in a cracked voice. “I have him!”

Everyone stared at the screen on top of the mechanism. In the misty glass a figure could be seen, a wavering human shape that was drawing menacingly closer.

“He is pushing through,” Pendragon breathed. “He isn’t stopping.”

Sir Archibald seized the Welshman by the shoulder. “For heaven’s sake, man, protect us!”

The noise of the machine rose to an ear-splitting whine. “The etheric field is forcing him to manifest,” Pendragon announced. “He is vulnerable, but only for a few moments.”

Leaving Rose-Ivy slumped against the inspector, Constable Pennycook raised his truncheon. “That’s all we need!”

With an angry grunt he hurled the weapon with all his might. Everyone watched dumbfounded as it flew through the empty air to smash a vase on the mantlepiece.

“You missed, Constable!” Pendragon exclaimed. “But I won’t!”

From inside his jacket he drew out a pistol. In a flash he extended his arm and pulled the trigger. The boom of his gun shook the room like a thunderbolt.

Chapter 16: Hard Evidence

As Pendragon lowered his pistol, the whine of the etheric galvanator subsided to a low hum. Craning forward, Artie saw that the glassy screen was now blank. Rose-Ivy rubbed her brow, as though to clear away the memory of a bad dream.

“He is gone,” she keened in a sing-song voice, “back into the mists.”

“It looks like you missed too, sir,” said Pennycook.

“I’m sure I hit him,” said the Welshman, his breath still coming fast. “A flesh wound at least.”

Sir Archibald drew out a fresh cigar and lit it with trembling fingers. “That was a hairy business – weirdest thing I ever saw.”

“Well, we certainly got the best of him this time,” said the inspector, assuming an air of dignified satisfaction, “thanks to you, Mr Pendragon.”

“Perhaps, Your Honour,” suggested Constable Pennycook, “you should check the contents of your strongbox, just to be sure.”

“You’re right, young fellow, quite right,” said the former Lord Provost.

He took a key from the pocket of his waistcoat, unlocked the strongbox and raised the lid. For a second Artie had a dreadful fear that somehow the Phantom had managed to snatch the jewels away from right under their noses, and he was relieved when he saw a smile break out on Sir Archibald’s face.

“All present and correct, gentlemen. I think we can pronounce this night a success for the forces of law.”

Artie edged over to where the broken vase lay in pieces on the floor beside the constable’s truncheon. As he approached, his eye was drawn to a small hole in the wall surrounded by cracked plaster. Taking a penknife from his pocket, he pressed the blade into the hole and carefully prised out the bullet. He stared at it lying in the palm of his hand, scarcely able to believe his eyes.

“What’s the matter, Artie?” asked Ham. “You look as though you’ve seen a ghost. I mean… Well, you know what I mean.”

He and Peril pressed around their friend to stare at his find.

“Look,” said Artie, “this is Mr Pendragon’s bullet. It’s stained red.”

Find out what happens next in Artie Conan Doyle and the Scarlet Phantom!

Discover the rest of the Artie Conan Doyle Mysteries

Also by Robert J. Harris

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