The Hostile Witness is a detective story by D.Y. Morgan. In this story he depicts the character of a person who was not satisfied with the performance of the state Police, but he changed his views when witnesses the performance of the police in arresting a dangerous murderer at large.
Norman Charlton is a robber and a murderer. He lives as a servant in White Hart Hotel. This hotel is in Kirby, a small Yorkshire town about 32 kilometers south of Darlington. He robbed the weekly wages of two people at New Castle, who were going to their factory carrying thousands of pounds. While committing the robbery, he faces protest from the two persons. In reply he shoots them. One of them, named John Edward Robson, gets killed while the other becomes seriously wounded. Charlton escapes in a stolen sports car from the place of robbery. After reaching a safe place, he leaves the car and asks for a lift at about a hundred yards from that point. Fortunately, he gets a lift from Mr. Earnest King who was on his way to White Hart Hotel. When they reach the hotel, Charlton transfers the stolen bag from Mr. King’s car into the hotel and places it behind the reception desk. He also puts King’s luggage in a room and gets dressed in his white jacket. He leaves the weapon of murder under the mattress. Mr. King sits in the lounge and orders for cold drink. While enjoying cold drink, Mr. Abott and two other guests, Mr. Cartor and Johnson enter the room. They exchange greetings and then Mr. King gets informed about the robbery and the murder. Mr. Cartor also tells about the checking of his car by the police. While they were talking about the robbery, three persons, Detective-Sergeant Manning and Police Constable Stevens and Edwards, enter the hotel. They told the people about the security and said that their duty was to check all the hotels in the North of England. Detective-Sergeant Manning asks for the keys of the rooms so that he could check the luggage of the guests. Everyone gives them the keys except Mr. King, who thinks that this action was unrespectable. But after some discussion he also gives the keys. the detective then go up to check the rooms. When they return, one of them holds a pistol in his hand, which had been fired recently. He tells that this pistol was laid under the mattress in Mr. King’s room. He suspects Mr. King for the murder. Charlton takes advantages of this situation and gives the description of the murderer – medium height and build, fresh complexion, dark hair, moustache, horn-rimmed glasses, Grey suit and Grey hat. This description exactly suited the dressing of Mr. King, which made him more mistrustful and every body stares at him. Charlton also gives the bag of money having massive locks from behind the reception desk and says that this bag was carried by Mr. King. Suddenly, Manning turns at Charlton and orders the constable to arrest him. He suspected him of the spirit gum and fake moustaches that were left on his upper lip. The lift which he had taken from Mr. King made him more suspicious. He also asks him of horn-rimmed glasses and receives the answer in positive. Manning then arrests him and tells the people how Charlton had committed the crime. He hid the pistol under the mattress in Mr. King’s room while he as keeping the luggage and threw away his fake moustache soon after killing the person. He had then taken lift from Mr. King at a bus stop near Great North Road and gotten away safely from the police. This entire work carried out by the police really impressed Mr. King and the killer was caught.