Excerpt from
'The Diamond Tiara'

a Sexton Blake Story
Sexton Blakes consulting room in Baker Street had known many members of the aristocracy, but seldom had a more beautiful woman than Lady Violet Tamar faced the great criminologist across the table.  The fact that she was in a state of obvious agitation did nothing to detract from her beauty, but seemed to lend heightened colour to her cheeks and added sparkle to her eyes.

Tinker, Blakes young assistant and partner in countless adventures, seated in a chair by the window, watched with frank admiration the delicate lines of her profile and the play of the light upon the gleaming meshes of her corn-gold hair.

Sexton Blake was watching her too, but he was not admiring, he was persuading:

Lady Tamar, he said, if you do not inform the police the insurance company will not pay.  They have every right to refuse.

She made a quick, nervous gesture of repudiation:

The police must not know, she declared emphatically.  You are the greatest detective in the world.  You will not fail to recover my diamond tiara.

Sexton Blake smiled; but his keen eyes were regarding her intently.  There was something in this which puzzled him:

Tell me, Lady Tamar, he suggested, why do you so fear the police?

Lady Tamar flushed at his question:

I do not fear the police....as police, she retorted.  It is that I wish to spare my husband.  He..he...has not been well and my carelessness would make him very angry indeed, which would be bad for his health.  So I have come to you, Mr. Blake, knowing that you will help me.  You will, wont you?

Blake nodded gravely:

Very well, Lady Tamar, it shall be as you wish.  So let me run over the facts again.  I understand that the tiara was not out of your possession last evening save for a matter of six or seven minutes.  When you went to your room you took off your tiara and placed it upon your dressing-table.  You then left the room for this brief time and when you returned it was gone.  Is that right?

His client nodded her fair head.

And you searched the entire room without result?

Mr. Blake, I spent half the night searching.  It was not in the room.

Sexton Blake made a few notes on a pad before he looked up sharply:

You told nobody? he asked.

Only, Marie, my maid.

I see.  Well, Lady Tamar, I shall require the names and addresses of all your guests.

A look of alarm came to her face as he made the suggestion, but if she had it in mind to refuse, Blakes steady gaze checked her:

She shrugged her dainty shoulders:

If you really must know, she said, there were only six.  Lady Madge Raumpling, William Gloyn, the film actor, Kitty OGorman, who is playing opposite him in their new picture, Captain Beal of the Guards, Mlle Louise Duponit and Count Benito.

All these names are familiar to me, acknowledged Blake, all except that of Count Benito.  Who is he?

Lady Tamar hesitated before she answered:

Well, he is a friend of Kitty OGorman.  She introduced him to me about a week or so ago.  But, Mr. Blake, please understand that I cannot have any of my friends questioned or........or worried.

Sexton Blake rose from his chair:

Leave it to me, he said.  I promise not to worry your friends.

Or inform the police, she added anxiously.

Tinker suppressed a grin as Blake conducted his client to the door.  Lady Tamar might have been a crook on the run so great seemed her fear of the police.


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