Denizen of the Underworld can be found in






Alone with a vicious killer in an underground cavern, Brewster follows a long trail to the solution of a mystery.


ONE of the most baffling as well as irritating crimes to the average police official is the disappearance of merchandise or goods when there is no apparent reason how the goods vanish.

Sometimes valuables vanish right under the law's nose; yes, even while they are looking on.

And, when the merchandise in question is of a semi-fluid consistency, the loss is even more irritating, as you will easily discover by perusing the present effort of our well known author. He shows us clearly how, by a new trick, the thing is done.

The story is filled with good science.


A DENIZEN of the UNDERWORLD

BY
WALTER KATELEY

GEORGE BREWSTER stood at the bench with upraised hammer and tightened jaw ready to strike a in a metal barrel-hoop.

"I have an order to transfer you to the press room, George. Report there in the morning."

At the foreman's words, the new mechanic dropped both hammer and jaw.

"Better take along a pair of thin trousers", the boss went on. "Some old ones, because you will have to cut the legs off."

"Your check number is 438, isn't it?" he added, looking back as he hurried away.

Brewster nodded.

Then he looked in a rather dazed way at the hammer. Slowly he laid it down, and stared at his open palm. It was sore and red from newly formed callouses and recently broken blisters.

"So it's the press room next," he said.

He had fallen into the habit of thinking aloud here in the factory, for there was always so much noise that no one was likely to hear him.

For once he was almost sorry he was a detective. He had not expected that there would be always primrose paths, but this was a little too much.

For two weeks he had been standing at this bench, straightening and re-riveting old barrel hoops, most of them kinked and twisted or covered with rust.

And now, the press room! Well he knew, that the press room of a linseed-oil mill was not a place where one could wish to work.

Two months ago he had been assigned to this case; a case which up to the present time had baffled all investigators. For years extensive thieving had been going on in the plant, thefts of flax-seed that entailed the loss of $20,000.

The company planned to have a detective work for a few weeks in each of the various departments, cultivating the acquaintance of the employees and watching at all times for any sign of leakage.

This was the great Midland Linseed Oil Mill, the largest of all producers of linseed oil. The mill consumed hundreds of thousands of bushels of flax-seed in the course of a year's operations, but in spite of stringent regulations, for several years the annual inventory had shown a shortage of from one to three thousand bushels of seed in the bins. Several investigators had from time to time attempted to trace the loss; without result. It was Brewster's chance in life to make good.

Hours were long and the work tedious. He worked in the shipping room, in the weighing department; with the machines, and, the last two weeks, in the cooper shop of the barreling department. Now the cooper's trade is not one that can be learned in a day.

Blank Walls

HE had been given a large, awkward hammer, and set to work at a bench to straighten and repair used barrel-hoops. The work was hard and disagreeable; and the opportunities for investigating very small.

Most of the employees in this department were Hungarians who spoke little English.

The boss of the department and the head-cooper were obviously Americans; the former deaf, and the other surly, baffling George's efforts to fraternize.

Obviously there was little to be gained here. Brewster saw men going to and from the press room, and his heart sank at the prospect of his next job.

They wore no shirts, and only the most sketchy trousers, usually cut off half way down to the knee, and sandals or slippers with thick, heavy, wooden soles.

They always came out reeking with sweat, and limp from the effects of the heat.

Flax-seed refuses to give up its oil until it is heated to about 190 degrees F., and subjected to a pressure of two or three hundred tons.

So the job in the press room was considered by far the worst job in the whole plant; it was rumored that no man could stick to it more than two years.

But, although Brewster was small he was young and athletic; and in times of emergency possessed reserve power of endurance.

"Well, I suppose I can stand it a couple of weeks if these chaps stand it a couple of years," he said as he checked in next morning and listened to the instructions given him by the press foreman.

"There is not much to this but sheer endurance," George was told. "You will be taking the meal cakes out of "the hot presses and loading them onto trucks. It is quite heavy work, and you will have to move fast in order to keep up with your machine. Be careful not to get your hands caught in the cogs, and if you feel faint, make a beeline for the nearest door.

"We work fifteen minutes and then take fifteen minutes off. It is a good idea to have a shirt or a coat handy to slip on when you go out, as you will not be so liable to catch cold."

As the foreman fetched him some "clod" shoes, Brewster removed his street clothes and put on the abbreviated trousers that he had "cut-off" for the occasion.

He was conducted to one of the machines and joined by another workman.

"This is Jim," the boss said. "Jim will work partner with you on this machine...

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