E-text prepared by David Clarke, Mary Meehan,
and the Project Online Distributed Proofreading Team
THE DAFFODIL MYSTERY
BY EDGAR WALLACE
WARD, LOCK & CO., LIMITED
LONDON AND MELBOURNE
Made and Printed in Great Britain
CHAPTER I. AN OFFER REJECTED
CHAPTER II. THE HUNTER DECLINES HIS QUARRY
CHAPTER III. THE MAN WHO LOVED LYNE
CHAPTER IV. MURDER
CHAPTER V. FOUND IN LYNE’S POCKET
CHAPTER VI. THE MOTHER OF ODETTE RIDER
CHAPTER VII. THE WOMAN IN THE CASE
CHAPTER VIII. THE SILENCING OF SAM STAY
CHAPTER IX. WHERE THE FLOWERS CAME FROM
CHAPTER X. THE WOMAN AT ASHFORD
CHAPTER XI. “THORNTON LYNE IS DEAD”
CHAPTER XII. THE HOSPITAL BOOK
CHAPTER XIII. TWO SHOTS IN THE NIGHT
CHAPTER XIV. THE SEARCH OF MILBURGH’S COTTAGE
CHAPTER XV. THE OWNER OF THE PISTOL
CHAPTER XVI. THE HEIR
CHAPTER XVII. THE MISSING REVOLVER
CHAPTER XVIII. THE FINGER PRINTS
CHAPTER XIX. LING CHU TELLS THE TRUTH
CHAPTER XX. MR. MILBURGH SEES IT THROUGH
CHAPTER XXI. COVERING THE TRAIL
CHAPTER XXII. THE HEAVY WALLET
CHAPTER XXIII. THE NIGHT VISITOR
CHAPTER XXIV. THE CONFESSION OF ODETTE RIDER
CHAPTER XXV. MILBURGH’S LAST BLUFF
CHAPTER XXVI. IN MRS. RIDER’S ROOM
CHAPTER XXVII. THE LAUGH IN THE NIGHT
CHAPTER XXVIII. THE THUMB-PRINT
CHAPTER XXIX. THE THEORY OF LING CHU
CHAPTER XXX. WHO KILLED MRS. RIDER
CHAPTER XXXI. SAM STAY TURNS UP
CHAPTER XXXII. THE DIARY OF THORNTON LYNE
CHAPTER XXXIII. LING CHU—TORTURER
CHAPTER XXXIV. THE ARREST
CHAPTER XXXV. MILBURGH’S STORY
CHAPTER XXXVI. AT HIGHGATE CEMETERY
CHAPTER XXXVII. LING CHU RETURNS
CHAPTER THE LAST. THE STATEMENT OF SAM STAY
THE DAFFODIL MYSTERY
AN OFFER REJECTED
“I am afraid I don’t understand you, Mr. Lyne.”
Odette Rider looked gravely at the young man who lolled against his open desk. Her clear skin was tinted with the faintest pink, and there was in the sober depths of those grey eyes of hers a light which would have warned a man less satisfied with his own genius and power of persuasion than Thornton Lyne.
He was not looking at her face. His eyes were running approvingly over her perfect figure, noting the straightness of the back, the fine poise of the head, the shapeliness of the slender hands.
He pushed back his long black hair from his forehead and smiled. It pleased him to believe that his face was cast in an intellectual mould, and that the somewhat unhealthy pastiness of his skin might be described as the “pallor of thought.”
Presently he looked away from her through the big bay window which overlooked the crowded floor of Lyne’s Stores.
He had had this office built in the entresol and the big windows had been put in so that he might at any time overlook the most important department which it was his good fortune to control.
Now and again, as he saw, a head would be turned in his direction, and he knew that the attention of all the girls was concentrated upon the little scene, plainly visible from the floor below, in which an unwilling employee was engaged.
She, too, was conscious of the fact, and her discomfort and dismay increased. She made a little movement as if to go, but he stopped her.
“You don’t understand, Odette,” he said. His voice was soft and melodious, and held the hint of a caress. “Did you read my little book?” he asked suddenly.
“Yes, I read—some of it,” she said, and the colour deepened on her face.
“I suppose you thought it rather curious that a man in my position should bother his head to write poetry, eh?” he asked. “Most of it was written before I came into this beastly shop, my dear—before I developed into a tradesman!”
She made no reply, and he looked at her curiously.
“What did you think of them?” he asked.
Her lips were trembling, and again he mistook the symptoms.
“I thought they were perfectly horrible,” she said in a low voice. “Horrible!”
He raised his eyebrows.
“How very middle-class you are, Miss Rider!” he scoffed. “Those verses have been acclaimed by some of the best critics in the country as reproducing all the beauties of the old Hellenic poetry.”