Эрл Гарднер: The Case of the Buried Clock

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Эрл Гарднер The Case of the Buried Clock
  • Название:
    The Case of the Buried Clock
  • Автор:
  • Издательство:
    Morrow
  • Жанр:
    Классический детектив / на английском языке
  • Год:
    1943
  • Город:
    New York
  • Язык:
    Английский
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    4 / 5
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The Case of the Buried Clock: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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Mason (with Della Street and Paul Drake, of course) takes on a super-baffling case involving — among other strange things— A shattering car wreck in which apparently no one was injured... A glamorous widow who should have had a husband but didn’t... An alarm clock that ticked away cheerfully under ground... A bank clerk who boasted brazenly about a $90,000 embezzlement... A girl who was always on hand when Perry Mason wanted her miles away, but was always missing when he needed her most... A client on trial for murder who wouldn’t even talk to Mason... A blood-stained bullet about which there was something very phoney... A photographer who could make a camera do everything but climb a tree... A gold mine without any gold... AND, last but not least — Perry Mason, all but hoist with his own petard.

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Erle Stanley Gardner

The Case of the Buried Clock

Cast of characters

Adele Blane — Who always looked five years younger or twenty years older

Harley Raymand — Back from the front with a Purple Heart and a new outlook

The Clock — Twenty-five minutes slow — or was it fast?

Jack Hardisty — Milicent’s husband

Milicent Blane Hardisty — Adele’s sister

VINCENT P. BLANE — Father of Adele and Milicent, rich, charming, dignified, worried

BURTON STRAGUE — Would-be writer, with a whimsical smile, a steady gaze and T.B.

LOLA STRAGUE — His sister, tall, slender, direct

RODNEY BEATON — Photographer and naturalist, the deep bass type

MYRNA PAYSON — Rancher and widow. She “could wear anything”

PERRY MASON — Lawyer extraordinary

DELLA STREET — His secretary

JAMESON — Deputy sheriff

PAUL DRAKE — Of the Drake Detective Agency

MARTHA STEVENS — The Blane housekeeper

DR. JEFFERSON MACON — Roxbury physician

Thomas L. McNair — Deputy district attorney

JUDGE CANFIELD — Trial judge

WILLIAM SMILEY — Friend of Martha Stevens

HAMILTON BURGER — District attorney

Chapter 1

The coupe purred up the winding highway. Adele Blane’s dark eyes, usually so expressive, were now held in a hard focus of intense concentration as she guided the car around the curves. She was twenty-five, but, as her sister Milicent had once said, “Adele never looks her age. She either looks five years younger, or twenty years older.”

At her side, Harley Raymand held the door handle, so that swaying around the curves wouldn’t swing his weight over against his left elbow. The Army surgeons had managed to fix up the joint. “It’ll be stiff for a while,” they had told him, “and it’ll hurt. Try and work that stiffness out. Keep from jarring it as much as you can.”

A few hundred feet below the car, jumping from foam-flecked rocks to dark, cool pools, a mountain stream churned over boulders, laughed back the sunlight in sparkling reflections, filled the canyon with the sound of tumbling water.

The road crossed the mountain torrent on a suspension bridge, started a slanting climb up the other side of the canyon, mounted at length to a pine-clad plateau.

Off to the left, the Southern California sunlight turned the towering granite mountains into a dazzling brilliance which made the shadows below seem as blotches of ink. The road wound along a plateau region where pine trees oozed scent into the warm dry air. Far off to the right, the heat-haze which enveloped the lowlands looked like molten brass whipped up to a creamy consistency and poured into the valley.

“Tired?” Harley Raymand asked Adele.

“No — a little worried, that’s all.”

She negotiated a sharp turn, concentrating on the road. Then, on a brief straightaway, flashed him a glance. “I’ll bet you’re tired,” she said suddenly. “Almost your first day home, and I drag you up here to Dad’s cabin... And you had your talk at the luncheon club, too.”

Harley said quietly, “No, I’m not tired... I’d just forgotten there were places like this, and now I’m getting reacquainted with them.”

“Didn’t your talk at the luncheon club tire you?”

“Not me,” he laughed, “only the audience.”

“Harley, you know I didn’t mean it that way.”

“I know.”

“What did you tell them?”

“I guess they expected the usual flag-waving. I didn’t give it to them. I told them this time war was a business — and they’d have to work at it just as they worked at their businesses, without fanfare and bands and hullabaloo. And I told them we’d get licked if we didn’t work at it.”

Adele Blane said suddenly, “Harley, are you going to work for Father?”

“He telephoned me to drop in and see him when I had a little time and knew what I wanted to do.”

“He needs someone like you, someone he can trust... not like— Oh well.”

“Jack Hardisty, eh? Didn’t that turn out all right, Adele?”

“Let’s not talk about it,” she said shortly. Then, apologizing for her shortness, “No, it definitely didn’t turn out all right, but I’d rather not discuss it.”

“Okay.”

She flashed him a quick glance. The indifference in his voice was new to her. In many ways this man was a stranger. A year ago she had known his every mood. Now he could surprise her. It was as though the Kenvale world were being viewed in his mind through the wrong end of a telescope, as though things which loomed important in her mind seemed merely trivial in his.

The road entered another steep canyon, climbing sharply. At the summit of this grade Adele turned sharply to the left, ran up a grade to a plateau where the cabin, nestling at the apex of a triangular slope, looked as though it had grown there as naturally as the pine trees.

It was one story, with a wide porch running across the front and one side. The rail of the porch and the pillars were of small logs from which the bark had been removed. The outside was of shakes, and the weather had aged them until the cabin blended into the green of the background and the brown pine needles of the foreground.

“Look natural?” she asked him.

He nodded.

For a moment she thought he was bored, then she caught sight of his eyes.

“I’ve thought about this place a lot,” he said. “It represents something that’s hard to find these days — tranquillity... How long will we be up here?”

“Not long.”

“Can I help?”

“No, it’s just a checking up, looking over the canned goods, seeing what needs to be done. You stay out in the sunshine and rest.”

She watched him get out of the car, saving his left elbow. “You know your way around,” she said. “There’ll be some cold water in the spring.”

She hurried on into the cabin, opening windows, airing the place out. Harley walked around the trail to the deep shadows where crystal-clear, cold water trickled out of the spring. He used the graniteware cup to take a deep drink, then strolled out to a patch of sunlight beside a flat rock. His view took in the long slope across the deep canyon, now beginning to fill with purple shadows. There wasn’t enough wind to start the faintest murmur in the tops of the pines. The sky was cloudless blue. The mountains rolled in undulating pastels except where jagged crags ripped their way into glittering pinnacles.

Harley propped his head back against a pine-needle cushion, half closed his eyes, experiencing that sudden fatigue which comes to men whose reserve strength has been sapped by wounds. He felt as though the effort of moving even an arm would require a superhuman expenditure of energy.

“Tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-tick.”

Harley opened his eyes. A fleeting expression of annoyance crossed his face. He wanted so much to have utter silence, for just a few moments...

“Tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-tick.”

Surely his watch couldn’t be making that much noise. The thing seemed to be coming from the ground right by his ear.

He shifted his position and folded his coat into a pillow. The sound of the ticking was no longer audible. He was lying flat now, looking up at the lacework of pine branches traced against the blue sky. He was completely, utterly weary, wanting only to lie there, as though he were a pine needle which had drifted down to the ground to soak up oblivion.

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