The Stratenhoufen Case
Author's note: This was my first detective story with my fictional detective, Jack Mason. But since then I've... Show full author's note »
The ChaseThe following day, when Jack and Inspector Burrow were discussing the situation, one of the other officers walked in and handed the inspector a sheet of paper, a report. Just a few seconds later (it was a very short note), the inspector crumpled the portion of it that was in his hand and shouted,
“The man is mad! Mad, I tell you!” Jack gave a somewhat perplexed look, but reached up and removed the crumpled note from the man’s grip, then sat back down and smoothed it on his jeaned leg. It read,
It is my duty to inform you of another robbery, this time
at the Kingsley Violin Shop southeast of your
station. Intelligence informs me that over 250 pounds were stolen.
It also informs me that the crime was committed by
Mr. A. Stratenhoufen, a name of which I'm sure you are by now
Lieutenant J. Entonworthy
After reading it, Jack clenched his jaw and said quietly,
“I say, the man is absolutely loopy!” The inspector couldn't contain his rage. After a few moments, he punched out a number on his desk phone, put it to his ear, and soon was giving orders to the policemen under his charge.
Within half an hour, they had tracked Mr. Stratenhoufen, and were preparing to engage in hot pursuit.
As Jack was already wearing his Ruger LCR, he went with the inspector and the other four policemen in the search for the fugitive.
In an hour they were on Stratenhoufen's trail. They thought that he was in a certain building. They charged into it, but, after a thorough search, they hadn't found him. He wasn't in the building. When Inspector Burrow turned to say something to Jack, he wasn’t either.
“Mason! Where's Mason?” he whispered. No reply, excepting one of his men who shrugged and said,
“Haven't seen him since entering the building, inspector.” Burrow frowned and thought what to do.
Jack crept around the corner of a nearby building. He had seen a man silently dash to it. He didn't want to make any noise, so Jack, being at the rear of the group, had darted to the building, unintentionally unnoticed.
He heard a sound on the other side of the wall he was leaning against, so, with his weapon held in front of his chest, he peered around it. But when he did, a strong fist flew out at him, throwing his pistol far from reach. Nearly simultaneously another fist flew out, this time into Jack's jaw, sending him reeling back. He lost his balance and nearly fell. But he quickly caught himself, and looked at his attacker.
Suddenly his mind raced back to a few days prior. He was in Sir Borlamile's Violin Shop with Inspector Burrow, watching a security camera video. On it he was watching Mr. Stratenhoufen purchase the violin. At the same time, he was actually looking directly into the eyes of the man he had been searching for for the past few says. All at once, he came back to himself. (That had all taken place in a moment.)
He took on a defensive stance, just in time to realize that the man was pointing a 9mm pistol at him. Stratenhoufen's dark eyes were wild and appeared to contain fire. He had a sturdy frame, and broad shoulders. His face was deathly pale. He was breathing heavily from the chase.
They both stood there for nearly half a minute, staring at each other. But finally, the door behind the fugitive flew open, causing him to jerk his eyes in that direction. Seeing the opportunity, Jack doubled up his fists, brought them back, and slammed the man's grip on his weapon into the wall. Then he brought his fist up into the man's jaw in an uppercut, sending him to the ground.
What caused the door to fly open, Jack then discovered, was the inspector. He and his men had realized what was going on in the other building, and had gone over to help Jack, and to arrest Mr. Stratenhoufen, which they did directly. He was rather disoriented from the blow, to say the least.
Back at the station, Inspector Burrow thanked Jack for his action in taking out the fugitive. Jack then went home to his apartment, and rested with ease, his cat on his chest, and his little dog at his side.
Of course the entire story was in the paper the next day, so everyone in that city, and all other towns within a few mile radius, heard of the capture of Mr. A. Stratenhoufen.