The Lancaster Herald. (Lancaster, Tex.), Vol. 29, No. 26, Ed. 1 Friday, July 23, 1915 Page: 3 of 8
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• - %;**%-. >r ■
THE LANCASTER HERALD
npi t^« i •
A Detective Novel and a Motion Picture Drama
By ARTHUR B. REEVE
The Well-Known Novelist and the
Creator of the **Craig Kennedy ” Stories
Presented in Collaboration with the Pathe Players
and the Eclectic Film Company
All Foreign Rights Reserved.
The Clutching Hand.
'"There mast be something new In
order to catch criminals nowadays.
The old methods are all right—as far
\ as they go. But while we have been
using them, criminals have kept pace
with modern science.”
Craig Kennedy laid down his news*
paper and filled his pipe with my to-
bacco. In college we had roomed to-
gether, had shared everything, even
poverty, and now that Craig was a
professor of chemistry In charge of
the laboratory at the university and
I had a sort of roving commission on
the staff of the Star, we had continued
our arrangement ,
“It has always seemed strange to
me,” he went on slowly, “that no one
has eyer endowed a professorship in
criminal science in any of the large
I tossed aside my own paper and
retrieved the tobacco.
“Why, should there be a chair in
criminal science?” I replied argu-
mentatively, settling back in my chair.
‘Tve done my turn at police headquar-
ters reporting, and I can tell you,
Craig, it’s no place for a college pro-
fessor. Crime is—Just crime. And as
for dealing with it the great detec-
tive IS born and bred to it College
professors for the sociology of the
thing—yes; for tlie detection of it,
glue me a Byrnes,”
“On the contrary,” persisted Ken-
nedy, his clean-cut features betraying
an earnestness which I knew Indicated
that he was leading np to something
of importance, “there" is & distinct
place for science in the detection of
crime. Today we have professors of
everything—why not professors of
crime science?” • < |
Still, as I shook my head dubiously,
* f he hastened to clinch his point. “Col-
leges have got down to solving the
hard facts of life, nowadays—pretty
nearly all, except one. They still treat
crime to the old way, study its statis-
tics and pore over its causes and the
theories of how It -can be prevented
» punished. But as for running down
► criminal himself, scientifically, re-
lentlessly—bah! we haven’t made
enough progress to n-ention since the
hammer and tongs method of your
TjSI? ''Doubtless yon 'will write a brochure
* on this most interesting subject,” I
suggested, “and let It go at that.”:
“No, I am serious,” he replied, de-
termined for some reason or other to
make a convert of me. “I mean ex-
actly what I say. Tam going to apply
science to the detection of crime, the
same sort of methods by which , we
trace out the presence of a mysteri-
ous chemical or track down a deadly
germ. And before I have gone far, I
—«-* Walter Jameson
am going to enusx waiter jameson
is an aid. I think I shall need yon
^ to my business.”
“How do I come tor I asked.
“Weti, tor one thing, you will get a
to*. . *►..
ft to that new*paper jarg<
% “Fortunately, Walter,”
F a ‘beat*—whatever yon call
Jargon of yours.”
The crime-hunters have gone ahead in
science faster than the criminals. It’s
to be my Job to catch criminals. Tours,
it seems to me, is to show people how
they can never hope to beat the mod-
ern scientific detective.”
“Go as far as you like,” I exclaimed.
Copyright, 1914, by the Star Company,
it has gone, Jameson—the most alarm-
ing and inexplicable series of murders
that has ever happened in this coun-
try. And nothing but this uncanny
hand to trace them by.”
The editor paused a moment, then
exclaimed: “Why, this fellow seems
to take a diabolical—I might almost
say pathological—pleasure in crimes
of violence, revenge, avarice and self-
protection. Sometimes it seems as if
he delights to the pure deviltry of the
thing. It is weird.”
He leaned over and spoke to a low,
tense tone. “Strangest of all, the tip
has just come to us that Fletcher, Hax-
worth, Sherburne and all the rest of
these wealthy men were insured to
the Consolidated Mutual Life. Now,
Jameson, I want you to find Taylor
Dodge, the president, and interview
him. Get what you can, at any cost.”
I had naturally thought first of Ken-
nedy, hut there was no time now to
call him up and, besides, I must see
Dodge, I discovered over 'the tele-
phone, was not at home nor at any of
the club® to which he belonged. Late
though it was I concluded that he Was
at his office. No amount of persuasion
could get me past the door, and,
though I found out later and shall tell
soon what was going on there, I de-
termined, about nine o’clock, that the
best way to get at Dodge was to go to
his house on Fifth avenue, if I had
to camp on his front doorstep until
morning. The harder I found the story
to get the more I wanted it.
With some misgivings about being
admitted, I rang the bell of the splen-
did, though not very modern. Dodge
residence. An English butler, with a
nose that must have been his fortune,
opened the door and gravely informed
me that Mr. Podge was not at home,
but was expected at any moment.
Once in, I was not going lightly to
give up that advantage. I bethought
myself of his daughter Elaine, one of
the most popular debutantes of the
season, and sent to my card to her, on
a chance of interesting her and seeing
her father, writing on the bottom of
the card: “Would like to interview
Mr. Dodge regarding Clutching Hand.”
Summoning up whet assurance I
had, which is sometimes considerable,
I followed the butler down the wll es
he bore my card. As he opened the
door of the drawing-room, I caught a
vision of a slip of a girl to evening
Elaine Dodge was both the ingenue
and the athlete—the thoroughly mod-
em type of girl—equally at home with
tennis and tango, table talk and tea.
Near her 1 recognized from his pic-
tures Harry Bennett, the rising young
corporation lawyer, a mighty good-
looking fellow, with an affable, pleas-
ing way about him, perhaps thirty-five
years old or so, but already prominent
and quite friendly with Dodge.
“Who is it, Jennings?” she asked.
“A reporter, Miss Dodge,” answered
the butler, glancing superciliously back
at me. “And you know how your father
dislikes to see anyone here at the
house,” he ndded deferentially to her.
“Miss Dodge,” I pleaded, bowing as
if I had known them all my life, “Tve
been trying to find your father all the
evening. It’s very important.”
She looked up at me surprised and to
doubt whether to laugh or stamp her
pretty little foot to indignation at my
And so it was that we formed this
strange new partnership in crime sci-
ence that has existed ever since.
“Jameson, here’s a story 1 wish
mu’d follow up,” remarked the man-
aging editor of the Star to me one
evening after I had turned to an a*
dgnment of the late afternoon.
He headed me a clipping from the
evening edition of the Star, and I
quickly ran my eye over the headline:
f'vV t’J I
NEW YORK MYSTERIOUS MAS-
TER CRIMINAL PERFECTS
City Police Completely Baffled
“Here’s this murder of Fletcher, the
retired banker and trustee of the uni-
versity,” he explained. “Not a clue—
except a warning letter signed with
this mysterious clutching fist. Last
week it was the robbery of the Hax-
worth jewels and the killing of old
Hax worth. Again that curious sign of
the hand. Then there was the dastard-
ly attempt on Sherburne, the steel
magnate. Not a trace of the assail-
ant except this same clutching fist. 8e
She toughed. “You are a very brave
young man,” she rippled with a roguish
look at Bennett’s discomfiture over the
interruption of the tete-a-tete.
There was a note of seriousness to
it, too, that made me ask quickly,
The smile flitted from her face, and
to its place came a frank earnest ex-
pression, which I later learned to like
and respect very much. “My father has
declared he will eat the very next re-
porter who tries to Interview him
bare,” she answered.
I was about to prolong the waiting
time by some jolly about such a stun-
ning girt not having by any possibil-
ity such a cannibal of a parent, when
the rattle of the changing gears of a
car outside told of the approach of a
' The big front door opened and
Elaine flung herself to the arms of an
elderly, stern-faced, gray-haired man.
“Why, dad,” she cried, “where have
you been? I missed you so much at
dinner. I’ll be so glad when this ter-
rible business gets cleared up. Tell—
me. What is on your mind? What is
it that worries you now?”
I noticed then that Dodge seemed
wrought- up and a bit unnerved, for he
sank rather heavily into a chair,
brushed his face with his handkerchief
and breathed heavily. Elaine hovered
over him solicitously, repeating her
With a mighty effort he seemed to
get himself together. He rose and
turned to Bennett.
“Harryhe exclaimed, “I’ve got the
The two men stared at each other.
“Yes,” continued Dodge, “I’ve found
out how to trace it, and tomorrow 1
am going to set the alarms of the city
a* rest by exposing—”
Just then Dodge caught sight of me.
For the moment I thought perhaps he
was going to fulfill his threat.
“Who the devil—why didn’t you tell
me a reporter was here, Jennings?” he
sputtered Indignantly, pointing toward
(Argument, entreaty, were of no
avail. There was nothing to do but go.
-At least, I reflected, I had the great-
er part of the story—all except the one
big thing, however—the name of the
criminal. But Dodge would know him
I hurried hack to the Star to write
my story In time to catch the last
Meanwhile, if I may anticipate my
story, I must tell of what we later
learned had happened to Dodge so
completely to upset him.
Ever Since the Consolidated Mutual
had been hit by the murders he had had
many lines out in the'hope of enmesh-
ing the perpetrator. “Thftt night, as I
found out the next day, he had at last
heard of & clue. One of the company’s
detectives had brought to a red-head-
ed, lame, partly paralyzed crook, who
enjoyed the expressive monniker. of
“Limpy Red.” Limpy Red was a
gunman of some renown, evil-faced
and, having nothing much to lose, des-
perate. Whoever the master criminal
of the clutching hand might have been
he had seen fl‘. to employ Limpy, but
had not taken the precaution of getting
rid of him soon enough when he was
Therefore Limpy had a grievance,
and now descended underpressure to
the low level of snitching to Dodge in
“No, governor,” the trembling
wretch had said as be handed over a
grimy envelope, “I ain’t never seen
his face—but here is directions how to
find his hangout.”
As Limpy ambled out, he tamed to
Dodge, quivering at the efiormity of his
“Don’t Lot On Hew You Found Out!**
unpardonable sin to gangland: “For
God’s sake, governor,” he implored,
“don’t tot on how yon found out!”
And yet Limpy Red had scarcely left
with his promise not to tell, when
Dodge, happening to turn over aome
papers, came upon an envelope left
on his own desk, bearing that mysteri-
ous clutching hand! ?
He tore it open, and read to amaze-
“Destroy Limpy Red’s instructions
within the next hour.”
Dodge gazed about to wonder. This
was getting on his nerves. He de-
termined to go home and rest.
Outside the house, as he left his car,
pasted over thfe monogram on the door,
he had found another note, with the
same weird mark and the stogie word:
In spite of the pleadings of young
Bennett, Dodge refused to take warn-
ing. In the safe to bis beautifully
fitted library he deposited Limpy’s doc-
ument to an envelope containing all
the correspondence that had led up to
the final step in the discovery.
• • • • * • •
It was late in the evening when I
returned to our apartment and. not
finding Kennedy there, knew that 1
would discover him at the laboratory.
“Craig,” I cried as I burst In on
him. “I’ve got a case for you—greater
than any ever before.”
Kennedy looked up calmly from the
ruck of scientific Instruments that sur-
rounded him—test tubes, beakers,
carefully labeled bottles.
“Indeed?” he remarked, coolly go-
ing back to his work.
“Yes,” I cried. “It is a scientific
criminal who seems to leave no clues.”
Kennedy looked up gravely. “Every
criminal leaves a trace,” he said quiet-
ly. “If it hasn’t been found, then It
must be because no one has ever
looked for It in the right way.”
Still gazing at me keenly, he added:
“Yes, 1 already knew there was such
a man at large. I have been called In
on that Fletcher case—he was a trus-
tee of the university, you know.”
“AH right,” I exclaimed, a little
nettled that he should have anticipated
me even so much to the case. “But
you haven’t heard the latest”
“What is It?” he asked with provok-
“Taylor Dodge,” I blurted out, “has
the clue. Tomorrow he will track down
Kennedy fairly jumped as I repeat-
ed the news.
“How long has he known?” he de-
“Perhaps three or four hours,” I haz-
Kennedy gazed at me fixedly.
“Then Taylor Dodge is dead!” he
exclaimed, throwing off his acid-stained
laboratory jacket, and, hurrying into
his street clothes.
“Impossible!” I ejaculated.
Kennedy paid no attention to the ob-
jection. “Come, Walter,” he urged.
“We must hurry before the trail gets
There was something positively un-
canny about Kennedy’s assurance. I
doubted—yet I feared.
It was well past the middle of the
night when *we pulled up in a night-
hawk taxicab before the Dodge house,
mounted the steps and rang the hell.
Jennings answered sleepily, but not
so much so that he did not recognize
me. He was about to bang the door
shut when Kennedy interposed his
“Where Is Mr. Dodge?” asked Ken-
nedy. “Is he all right?”
“Of course he is—in bed,” replied
Just then we heard a faint cry, like
nothing exactly human. Or was it our
heightened imaginations, under the
spell of the darkness?
“Listen!” cautioned Kennedy.
We did, standing there now in the
halL Kennedy was the only one of us
who was cool. Jennings’ face blanched,
then he tamed tremblingly and went
down to the library door, whence the
sounds had seemed to come.
He called, but there was no answer.
He turned the knob and opened the
door. The Dodge library was a large
room. In the center stood a big, flat-
topped desk of heavy mahogany. It
was brilliantly lighted.
At one end of the desk was a tele-
phone. Taylor Dodge was lying on the
floor at that end of the desk—perfect-
ly rigid—his face distorted—a ghastly
figure. A pet dog raft over, sniffed
frantically at his master’s legs and
suddenly began to howl dismally.
Dodge was dead!
“Help!” shouted Jennings.*
Others 'of the servants came rush-
ing In. There was, for the moment,
the greatest excitement and confu-
Suddenly a wild figure to flying gar-
ments flitted down the stairs and Into
the library, dropping beside the dead
man, without seeming to notice us at
jgD : . ... . u :-5( g
“Father!” shrieked a woman’s voice,
heartbroken. “Father! Oh—my God
-^he—he Is dead!”
It was Elaine Dodge.
With a mighty effort,‘the heroic girt
seemed to pull herself together.
“Jsnntogs,” she cried, “call Mr. Ben-
nett—immediately ! ”
From the one-sided, excited conver-
sation of the butler over the telephone,
I gathered that Bennett had been to
the process of disrpbtog to his own
apartment uptown, and would be right
Together, Kennedy, Elaine and my-
self lifted Dodge to a sofa and Elaine’s
aunt, Josephine, with whqm she lived,
appeared on the scene, trying to quiet
the sobbing girL ■»
Kennedy and I withdrew a little way,
and he looked about curiously.
“What was it?” I whispered. “Was
it natural, an accident, or—or mur-
der?” The word seemed to stick to
my throat. If It was a murder, what
was the motive? Could It have been
to get the evidence which Dodge had
that would Incriminate the master
Kennedy moved over quietly and ex-
amined toe body of Dodge. When he
rose his face had a peculiar look.
"Terrible!” he whispered to me.
“Apparently he had been working at
his accustomed place at the desk when
the telephone rang. He rose and
crossed over to it. See! That brought
his feet on this register let into the
floor. As he took the telephone re-
ceiver down a flash of light must have
shot from it to his ear. It shows the
characteristic electric burn.”
"The motive?" I queried.
"Evidently his pockets had been
gone through, though jumwof the valu-
ables were missing. Things on his
desk show that a hasty search has
Just then the door opened and Ben-
nett burst in.
As he stood over the body, gazing
down at it, repressing the emotions of
a strong man, he turned to Elaine, and
in a low voice exctoimed: “The
Clutched Hand did this. I shall conse-
crate my life to bring this man to- jus-
He spoke tensely, and Elaine, look-
ing up into his face, as if imploring his
help in her hour of need, unable to
speak, merely grasped his hand.
Kennedy, who, in the meantime, had
stood apart from the rest of us, was
examining the telephone carefully. -
“A clever crook,” I heard him mut-
ter between his teeth. “He must have
worn gloves. Not a finger print—at
• ••••• •
Perhaps I can do no better than to
reconstruct the crime as Kennedy
later pieced these startling events to-
Long after I had left and even after
Bennett left, Dodge continued working
in his library, for he was known as a
Had he taken the trouble, however.
to pause and peer out into the moon-
light that flooded the back oi his
house, he might have seen the figures
of two stealthy crooks crouching in
the half shadows of one of the cellar
windows, one crook, at least, masked.
The masked crook held in his hands
carefully the ends of two wires at-
tached to an electric feed, and, sending
his pal to keep watch outside, he en-
tered the cellar of the Dodge house
through a window, whose pane they
had carefully removed. As he came
through the window he dragged the
wires with him, and, after a moment’s
reconnoitering, attached them to the
furnace pipe of the old-fashioned hot-
air heater, where the pipe ran up
through the floor to the library above.
The other wire was quickly attached
to the telephone where its wires en-
Upstairs Dodge, evidently uneasy in
his mind about the precious Limpy
Red letter, took it from the safe along
withjmost of the other correspondence
and, pressing a hidden spring in the
wall, opened a secret panel and placed
most of the important documents to
this hiding place.
Downstairs the masked master crim-
inal had already attached a voltmeter
to the wires he had installed, waiting.
Just then could be heard the tinkle
of Dodge’s telephone, and the old man
rose to answer it., As he did so he
placed his foot on the iron register,
his hand taking the telephone and the
receiver. At that instant came a pow-
erful electric flash. Dodge sank on the
floor, clutching the instrument, elec-
A moment later the criminal slid
silently into Dodge’s room. Carefully
putting on rubber gloves and avoiding
Limpy had long since reached
point of saturation and lurching
from his new found cronies he
other fieldB of excitement. Like
did the newcomer, who bore a
resemblance to the lookout Who
been stationed outside at the Dodi
house a scant half hour before.
What happened later was only
matter of seconds—and waiting until
the hated snitch—for gangdom hates
the informer worse than anything else
dead or alive—had turned a sufficient-
ly dark and deserted corner.
A muffled thud, a stifled groan fol-
lowed as a heavy section of lead pipe
wrapped in a newspaper descended on
the crass skull of Limpy. , '
It was the vengeance of the Clutch-
ing Hand—swift, sure, remorseless.
And yet it had not been a night of
complete success for the master crim-
inal, as anyone might have seen who
could have followed his sinnons route,
to a place of greater safety. Unable
to wait longer, he pulled the papers
he had taken from the safe from hi®
pocket. His chagrin at finding most
of them to be blank found only one
expression of foiled fury—that men-
acing clutching hand—the real one!
Kennedy had turned from his fu
examination for marks on the tele-
phone. There stood the safe, a moder-
ate sized strong box, but of a modem
type. He tried the door. It was locked.
There was not a mark on it. The con
bination had not been tampered with.
Nor had there been any attempt to
“soup” the safe.
With a quick motion he felt to
pocket as if looking for gloves,
tog none, he glanced about and
two pieces of paper from the
•i; \ 4
: WW 1
The Criminal SIM Silently imp Dodge’s Room.
With them, to Order not to
any possible finger prints on
he lifted it or
touching the register, he wrenched the
telephone from toe grasp of toe dead
man, replacing it to its normal posi-
tion. Only for a second did he pause
to look at his victim as he destroyed
the evidence of his work.
Minutes were precious. First Dodge’s
pockets, then his desk engaged his at-
tention. There was left toe safe.
As he approached toe strong box,
toe master criminal took two vials
from his pocket. Removing a bum of
Webster that stood on the safe, he
poured the contents of the vials to two
mixed masses of powder, forming a
heap on the safe, into which ho insert-
ed two magnesium wiref.
He lighted them, sprang back, hid-
ing his eyes from the light, and a
blinding gush of flame, lasting per-
haps ten seconds, poured out from the
top of the safe.
It was not an explosion, bat jast a
dazzling, intense flame that sizzled and
crackled. It seemed impossible, but
the glowing mass was literally stok-
ing, stoking down into the cold steel.
At last it burned through—as if toe
safe had been of tinder!
Without waiting a moment longer
than necessary, toe masked criminal
advanced again and actually put his
hands down through the top of the
safe, pulling out a bunch of papers.
Quickly .he thrust them all, with just
a glance, into his pocket
. Still working Quickly, he took toe
bust of toe great orator, which he had
removed, and placed it under the light.
Next, from his pocket he drew two
curious stencils, as it were, whleh he
had apparently carefully prepared.
With his hands, still carefully gloved,
he nibbed the' stencils on his hair, as
if to cover them with a film of natural
oIIb. Then he deliberately pressed
them over the statue to several
places. It was a peculiar action, and
he seemed to fairly gloat over it when
lb was done and the bust returned to
its place, covering the hole.
As noiselessly as he had come, he
made his exit after one last malignant
look at Dodge. It was now but the
work of a moment to remove the wires
he had placed and climb out of the
window, taking them and destroying
the evidence down in the cellar.
A low whistle from the masked
crook, now again in the shadow,
brought his pal stealthily to his side.
“It’s all right,” he whispered hoarse-
ly to the man. “Now you attend to
The villainous looking pal nodded
and, without another word, the two
made their getaway, safely, in opposite
When Limpy Red, still trembling,
left the office of Dodge earlier to the
evening, he had repaired as fast as his‘
shambling feet would take him to his
favorite dive up on Park Row. ”
Had the Bowery “sinkers” not got
into his eyes he might have noticed
among the late revelers a man who
spoke to no one, but took his place
near by at the bar.
There, to the top of “
yawned a gaping hole, to
one could have thrust his
“What is it?” we asked,|
about him. }
“Thermit,” he replied
"Thermit?” I repeated.
“Yes—a compound of toon
powdered aluminum, inv
chemist at Essen, Germ
a temperature of over
degrees. It will eat its J
the strongest steel.’’
Jennings, his month wide
wonder, advanced to take
“No—don’t touch it,” he
pff, laying the bust on the
want no one to touch
see how careful I was to
paper, that there might
tton about any clue this
have left on the marble r*
As he spoke, Craig was
the surface of toe bust
“Look!” exclaimed Craig
“Finger prints!” Lcried
them closely. “A clu
"What—those little marks—a
asked a voice behind no.
I turned and saw Elaine
over our shoulders, fascinated. It
evidently the first time She had
ized that Kennedy was to the rex
“How can you tell anything
that?” the asked. »
“Why, easily,” ha answered*
tog np a glass paper weight
lay on the desk. ’Ton see. I
my finger on this weight—so.
could see it even without the
on this glass. Do you see those
There are various types of mu
—four general types—^and each per-
sons’ markings are different, even' if
of the same general type—loop, whorij
arch or composite.”
He continued working as he talked.
“Your thumb marks, for example, '
Miss Dodge, are different from ntotetFC
Mr. Jameson's are different from both
of us. And this fellow’s finger prints
are still different. It is mathematical-
It is mathematical-
to find two alike in
every respect.” ^
Kennedy was holding the pa]
weight near the bust as he talked.
1 shall never forget the look ez
blank amazement on his face as he
bent over closer.
“My God!” he exclaimed exci
“this fellow is a master criminal I
has made stencils or something of
the sort on which, by tome-anechan-
lcal process, he has actually forged
the hitherto infallible finger prints!"
I. too, bent over and studied toe
marks on the bust and those
nedy had made on toe paper weight to
THE FINGER PRINTS ON
BUST WERE KENNEDY'S OWN.
(TO BB CONTINUED.)
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Tufts, Minnie Wetmore. The Lancaster Herald. (Lancaster, Tex.), Vol. 29, No. 26, Ed. 1 Friday, July 23, 1915, newspaper, July 23, 1915; Lancaster, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth542839/m1/3/: accessed October 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Lancaster Genealogical Society.