American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
Ballou’s Dollar Magazine Monthly, February 1863

This story was later included in the collection Leaves from the Note-Book of a New York Detective: The Private Record of J. B. Edited by John B. Williams, M.D. (New York: Dick and Fitzgerald, 1865. 72-80.). The stories in this volume were purportedly written by the fictional character James Brampton.


The Defrauded Heir

by A New York Detective

  appear unworthy of notice, were recorded by me, treasured up in my memory, and ultimately supplied a missing link in some chain.
Doctor Lignon did a large practice, and afforded a very good school for a student. I had not been with him two years before I was of considerable use to my tutor, being able to visit the poorer classes of patients, and attend to office practice.
Among the doctor’s patients was a Mr. Stephen Barton, a wealthy gentleman who lived about three miles from the village. He was a widower with an only son, a boy about four years of age. His brother, Mr. Amos Barton, also resided with him. The latter was reported to be a very pious man, at all events, he visited church regularly.

One day Doctor Lignon was sent for in a great hurry to attend Mr. Stephen Barton, who had been taken with a fit. The poor gentleman, however, died before he reached the house. A few days afterwards I learned from the . . .


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    I WAS brought up to the medical profession, although I never graduated as a physician. It was an incident that occurred during my pupilage which made me adopt the profession of a detective officer, and I cannot do better than illustrate my experiences by relating it to the reader.

My father was a respectable merchant, living in the city of New York. He bestowed as good an education on me as he could afford, and then placed me in the office of Doctor Lignon, who resided in a huge country village, for the purpose of studying medicine. I was then eighteen years of age, and was to remain with him until I was twenty-one, and then enter a medical college.
I was very fond of reading, and soon exhausted the doctor’s library. From my very boyhood I possessed an analytical mind. I never allowed anything to escape my observation. The most trivial circumstances, which to others would




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