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American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, May 1862.
   
The Boldero Murder
by Frederic B. Perkins

We had dined, and were sitting comfortably about under the half-ruined shanty on the top of the mountain.

“Come, Bradley,” said Colonel Throop, the story-loving, “tell us some moral, entertaining, and instructive story, before we return to Sachem’s Head.”

“I will,” said the young lawyer, absently, and stared away to seaward, as if expecting to find his story in the summer haze that veiled all the further half of the Sound, and obscured even the nearer angular outlines of Falkner’s Island. “There’s a singularly commanding view,” at last he added, “from this spot, in clear weather.”

“Go on with your story,” said Throop.

“That’s what I was considering,” said Bradley; “in fact, my observation in part led me to it.” And he proceeded:

“You all remember the ‘horrid’ murder here in North Guilford some years ago? No? It was of

    two singular old English people, Mr. and Mrs. Boldero: I remember the name, because I fancied he might be the senior partner of the firm of Boldero, Merryweather, Bosanquet, and Lacy, whom Charles Lamb thanks in ‘The Superannuated Man.’ They lived alone with a niece, on a small, solitary farm in the woods, just over here on the east side of Quinebaug Pond; keeping house in a strange, melancholy way, being known to have and use a considerable quantity of heavy, old-fashioned, English silver plate, but dressing and eating otherwise on a scale parsimonious almost to misery. Their silver, their reserved and almost sour demeanor, and even the slightly greater expense of the dress of their handsome niece, as well as the lady-like manners of that young person, made the neighbors all believe that they had been people of importance at home, and, in spite of all their frugality here, were immensely rich still, having hoards in the cellar or under the hearthstone, perhaps.

“There was also an indistinct rumor of a son or nephew of the old man, whom nobody had seen, and indeed nobody knew where the rumor came from, who was said to be a . . .

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