American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, April 1859.
The Costly Kiss:
A New York Detective Experience

  nearly daylight — and had preferred this less exposed exit. Nothing in the store had been taken with the exception of a pair of silver-mounted pistols; the thief had, reasonably, been content with the booty found in the safe.

After concluding this examination I received from the partners a description of the money stolen. It consisted of new bills on a Massachusetts bank — fives and tens — twelve thousand of the amount having a private mark, put on at the bank, for reasons of their own. This mark was a “Co,” written in small letters, in red ink, near the right-hand lower corner. Besides, I was shown pistols of the same pattern as the ones taken. Lastly, I took a look at the key of the safe. It was a plain, straight key; the tip screwed on. The make of the key was such that it could not easily be copied; I doubt whether an impression could have been taken from it in wax worth anything. This key had been in the pocket of the senior partner overnight. There was a duplicate . . .


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    A wholesale hardware store downtown was entered, the safe opened, and sixteen thousand dollars taken, one night last August. Next morning complaint was made, and I was sent to work on the case.

On examining the premises everything showed the touch of a professional hand. The lock of the front door had been “tooled” effectually; the bolt was dislodged, and could not be shot. The door of the counting room had been kicked in, the thin partition making this an easy matter. The safe had been opened without violence, a key fitted to the lock having evidently been used. The fall-rope — the stout rope used for hoisting goods to the upper stories — had been cut; one end had been made fast to a handle of the safe; the other end hung out from the window, which opened into an alleyway some fifteen or twenty feet below. It seemed plain that the thief had been unwilling to run the risk of coming out through the front door into the street — it might have been





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