This is the concluding part of the Detective Nag story – The Manipal Phantom. You can read Part 1 here – The Manipal Phantom – A Detective Nag story: The Mysterious Ghost and Part 2 – The Manipal Phantom – A Detective Nag story: The Mystery Deepens.
“Yes,” she admitted at length, “Mr. Rangappa is tall and slender like the ghost, but no suspicion of him ever crossed my mind; I wonder what his purpose can be!”
“That remains to be seen,” answered Dr. Nag. “But the first thing is for you to tell us all you know about these Kamaths.”
“Well, it’s little enough; for, although they have lived next door for about six months, yet I have had very little to do with them. I have heard that Mr. Rangappa was a poor boy, but got a start in the cheap clothing business, and is now reputed to be wealthy. His family, it seems, have boundless social ambitions. As his wealth increased, his wife made more strenuous efforts to break into society, but without success. They had to content themselves with that little place, which is quite insufficient to carry on their vulgar display of riches. But why should he torment me? There are no treasures hidden in our cellar; he can’t mean blackmail; I’ve done him no injury; I have simply ignored him!”
Detective Nag was thinking deeply. “Ms Shanbhag we may have to take a bold step tomorrow. I have no settled plan as yet; but,—let us hope for the best.” The two then took their leave.
The next night the detectives again hid themselves in their now familiar place and waited for the appearance of the ghost. When it had advanced into the open space, they carefully picked their way through the dark trees to a spot that the ghost must pass in its journey toward the Kamath home. They had scarcely taken their place behind a tree, when the apparition entered the shade. Suddenly the two dark forms shot forth, strong arms seized the ghostly figure, a huge hand was clapped over its mouth and it was borne in silence to the ground.
Rangappa Kamath—for such it really was—made no struggle. But his face, daubed with the hideous white paint, was convulsed with fear, and trembling had seized his entire frame.
“See this.” Dr. Nag threw open his coat, displaying the gleaming insignia of his office.
“O, let me go,—I meant no harm,—it’s all my wife’s fault. O why did I do it?”
“See here, cut out this sympathy stuff, and tell us in a hurry why you are prowling around these premises in an outfit like this.”
“Yes,—yes,—I’ll tell you all,—only let me go. It’s all because of my wife; she wanted a fine house in this suburb. But we’re not high-born, and so I couldn’t buy such a house, for twice its value. We were forced to take the place we are living in; my wife wanted Ms Shanbhag‘s home. I said I couldn’t buy it; she said we’ll have it and at our own price; we’ll drive Ms Shanbhag out. So she made me play the ghost; if the place was haunted, no one would want it, and we could get it. She said Ms Shanbhag would be glad to let us have it, and would not try to drive away the ghost by means of the police, for fear of the publicity, but—”
“But Miss Fuller was not the jelly-fish you took her to be, was she, Rangappa? I’ve a good mind to give you the full penalty of the law, and if it were not for the publicity, I would. But let me tell you—I’ll give you thirty days to move a mile away from this spot, or you’ll be clapped into jail. Understand?”
They released the now discredited ghost, who quickly slunk away towards his home.
After the two detectives had informed Ms Shanbhag of the outcome of their work, they departed, and as they walked down the road, Dr. Chirag mused: “I pity poor Mr. Kamath when that wife of his gets hold of him.”