An elderly clergyman tells Pat and Phillis of the strange happenings in the middle of the night in the old rectory. “I was at my wit’s end,” he told them. “I wasn’t sure if I was having a nervous breakdown or becoming senile. Then, the noises. I can still hear those dreadful noises in the dead of night.” Intrigued, they rush off to Philadelphia. They’re too late. Murder gets there before them.
“When you and I talked this afternoon, Father,” Pat began after their waiter placed drinks in front of them, “you were… well, it’s no exaggeration to say, frantic. You told me about some very strange things taking place at Saint Alban’s.”
They were seated at a table in Oscar’s Restaurant. Pat Montgomary was in his mid-thirties, deeply tanned from the past two weeks at the seashore, and visibly concerned as he stared at the priest across the table from him. Phillis Toner, Pat’s half sister, was her radiant self this evening with her equally deep tan. She was ten years younger than her brother. She too was studying the third member of their party. This latter was easily in his sixties (she guessed), his face pale and drawn. He was dressed in black with a Roman collar.
“I guess you’ll think I am foolish,” the priest began hesitantly. “You might think I’m not responsible for my actions when I tell you why I asked to meet you. And, the more I think about it, the more I begin to believe that perhaps… perhaps it was wrong of me to impose upon you. It really is nothing. If I could beg your forgiveness and let it go at that….”
“Father, something is bothering you,” Pat continued, a sternness creeping into his voice. “If ever I saw someone with a problem, it’s you. I hope you’ll pardon me for being so blunt, but frankly, Father, you look to me as though you need professional help. You look as though you have not been sleeping well. Your hands are shaking. Are you an alcoholic or been drinking heavily lately?”