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The Butcher of Hell

By Steve Fisher

Lieutenant Guy Carpenter, Navy Sleuth, Plunges into Fast Action on the Trail of a Brutal Killer Aboard the U. S. S. Arizona.

THE U. S. S. Arizona was moving slowly through the water away from the huge Panama sun that was sinking below the horizon, when Lieutenant Carpenter, criminology expert of the U. S. Navy, leaped from the motor boat, and clambered up the Jacob's ladder that hung over the crimson-tinted side of the ship.

An urgent command had flashed through from the Commander-in-chief of the Fleet for Carpenter to report to duty on a new murder case.

His service automatic strapped to his side, his thin lips clamped tight and his short black hair bristling beneath his white-topped officer's cap, the famous sea-going sleuth was ready for anything.

Two seamen stepped forward to aid him onto the deck. Behind them stood a broad-shouldered, red-faced commander. The man's blue eyes were wild, and his red hair, faintly specked with grey, was in a confused mess over his hatless head.

"Lieutenant Carpenter?" he asked. "Yes, sir!" Carpenter snapped, straightening his linen coat.

The officer turned and started down deck motioning Carpenter to follow.

Carpenter caught up. They proceeded down a hatch and into the officers wardroom.

"Lord—" the huge red-haired commander gasped, "this is a murder that'll make even you shudder, Carpenter. The crew doesn't know yet."

THEIR heels were clicking down a long corridor. "How long ago did it happen?" Carpenter asked.

"Just an hour or so," the officer replied. He turned. "Here's the room—er—you'd better go on in."

Carpenter pushed by the green drapes and into the small cabin. He stopped abruptly, and his black eyes widened. Tied up next to the outside bulkhead, his arms outstretched and his clothing stripped to his waist, was the gory sight of an officer.

His hands had been cut off, and the stumps that were his wrists had bled profusely and now were clogged with black-looking blobs of blood. Several deep slits had been cut down the officer's chest and blood had rushed out of them, but now it was stiff and hard and clung there gruesomely.

The face was contorted horribly. The mouth was hanging open limply and his eyes were wide, staring like glass buttons out past Carpenter.

A heavy hand fell on Carpenter's shoulder. The lieutenant turned about and faced the commander of the Arizona.

"HE was the marine captain in charge of the company of marines on board," he said in a dull toneless voice. "I wanted you to see his body just as it was found."

"Who found it?" Carpenter snapped.

"A Filipino mess boy."

"I'll want to see him later," Carpenter said, stepping forward into the death cabin.

The huge commander followed. "My name is Taylor," he said simply. "I'm the executive officer on board and I'm going to work this thing out with you, if you don't mind.

It's the most ghastly thing I've ever experienced."

Carpenter nodded. "What have you picked up so far?"

"This," the executive turned and brought a small shoe box from the officer's desk.

He took off the top and handed the box to Carpenter. The Navy detective took it, stared into the contents. Wrapped in the tissue was the white skeleton of a hand.

"This is pretty ancient," Carpenter commented.

"It's the only clue we have," Commander Taylor answered. "I don't believe the marine captain had an enemy. He was, in fact, a very popular officer with his men. The sailors on the ship hardly knew him, since most of his business was confined to his company of seventy-five detailed leathernecks aboard. Therefore, it's hard to believe one of my sailors guilty, and still harder to thi...

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