By H.C. “Sapper” O’Neille.
When Professor Goodman reveals that he can create flawless diamonds for a fiver a go, Sir Raymond Blantyre of the Metropolitan Diamond Syndicate seeks out the Comte de Guy (aka Carl Peterson) to make sure that only the syndicate’s diamonds are forever.
Peterson sees an opportunity to enrich himself, and devises a plan to fake the professor’s death so that the man can share his secret with him. Unfortunately, without his notes, which have fallen into Hugh Drummond’s possession, Goodman hasn’t the faintest clue how to get the process to work.
Peterson soon has Drummond and the notes in his clutches, and persuades the professor to show him how it’s all done. Drummond feigns concussion, which in his world is like short-term brain damage, but is spared because Peterson wants him sane and sound before he kills him once and for all.
Drummond and Goodman are transferred to Peterson’s yacht, the Gadfly. The villain is going to throw his captives overboard and blow up the yacht with all hands, but, as luck would have it, Drummond manages to get a message to Toby Sinclair while Bulldog creates panic on the vessel by pretending he thinks Goodman is Peterson in disguise. This enables them to escape, and Peterson destroys the yacht soon afterwards.
Drummond reasons that his arch-enemy has headed back to Switzerland, where he confronts him and manages to force him to destroy the only remains notes which detail the professor’s formula. He then offers Peterson a sporting chance, a fight on a glacier, man-to-man. It seems that it isn’t the villain’s day because Irma appears to have abandoned him utterly.
Off to the glacier they go where the tricky Peterson deceives his nemesis by catching him off guard and scarpering.
Drummond suddenly realises that he’s been had because Irma was only pretending to abandon Peterson when, in fact, she was hinting where they should meet on the French side of the border.
The Third Round is a return to something like the original story. There are some touches of humour such as Drummond mistaking Professor Scheidstrun, who mimics Peterson’s nervous tic, for the man himself in disguise.
Peterson’s escape at the end by distracting Drummond’s attention and thumping him seemed a little weak. Of course, Peterson did have a four-book contract, and probably got most of the fan mail. But Drummond’s vague hope that he might spot Toby Sinclair on his yacht as the Gadfly passed by wasn’t much better.
Mind you, without such coincidences, where would fiction be?