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American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
Ballou’s Dollar Monthly Magazine, April 1859.
 
A Curious Stratagem
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by James F. Franklin
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  replied.  “I have here an alphabetical list, in which I will affirm there are the names of all the notorious rogues in Paris—each and every one of them has his place in this book—but Guichard is not among them.  Still, the name sounds familiar—I must have heard it at some time.”

“You have, without doubt; although I cannot say that its owner was ever within ten leagues of Paris.  Jacques Guichard is a most extraordinary man, although a common thief, or he could never have thwarted the extraordinary efforts that have been made to capture him, as he has done.  His place of operation is the seacoast and the country in the vicinity of St. Malo, and there he flourishes in the most extraordinary manner.  The audacity of the man, according to all accounts, almost passes belief; his robberies have been for the past year extensive and heavy, and I am informed that all attempts thus far to arrest him have been utterly fruitless; for he has a strange faculty of trifling with, and eluding all who are sent . . .

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    I had been some years connected with the Detective Bureau (so the thief-taker commenced his story), and had naturally arrived at a great degree of proficiency in the calling at the time when the strange matter occurred which forms the basis of my story.  The chief officer of the Bureau called me to his private office one day, and without prefacing his words in any manner, began as follows:

“Guillot, I wish you to listen to what I am about to say with the utmost attention, for the service upon which I am about to detail you must be most thoroughly understood by you.”

I bowed and he continued:

“Perhaps you may have heard of the name of Jacques Guichard?”

Before replying, I took a memorandum book from my pocket and examined it thoroughly.

“No such name figures in my books,” I at last

   

 

 


 

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