American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
Puget Sound Herald, May 3, 1860
The Dog Detective
  smarter nor handsomer lad than George Starke was there at Woodcastle.

One day William Starke drove around to the front of the large store, and, calling out to his son, said:

“George, I come a-nigh forgetting Ryslope today. Thee knows ‘tis seventeenth o’ December tomorrow, and the ₤460 due me at the tannery—”

“O, yes,” was George’s reply. “What the Manchester folks were t’ send thee over for t’ kip and raw hides.”

“Surely—the same. I will go and fetch it, and ’twill be a rough drive for me to reach it by sundown. I have no time to go back and bid thy mother good-by, for I must hasten awa’. Send Spear out till I ha’ him hooked under the wagon.”

“Ay, ay!” was George’s answer; and in a moment the great rough, burly dog was chained underneath the master’s wagon, and after a few parting directions to his son, William Starke . . .


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    Woodcastle was a pretty town, and William Starke the richest man in it. Now I have said Woodcastle was a town, but do not imagine a row of cottages fronting the only street, a rickety tumble-down tavern, a blacksmith shop, and forty cur dogs. No; it was a bustling, active place, where a brisk business was pushed, many stores were thriving, and two good-sized factories, three miles back, were running with profit to their owners, and to the satisfaction of their numerous hands.

But I am forgetting William Starke. He was a leather dealer, and supplied the whole country for miles with the article. He had two branch stores at Ryeslope, forty miles back from Woodcastle, and was interested in a large tannery at the former place, to which village he made frequent journeys, in attending to his large and growing business. His family consisted of his wife, a thrifty woman of forty, who had aided him greatly by her industry and frugality in amassing his handsome property, and an only son, now about twenty-three years of age, who assisted his father in his business, and took charge of the whole concern when he was absent at Ryeslope at the “tannery”; and not a





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