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American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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Experiences of a French Detective Officer by William Russell. New York: Dick & Fitgerald, 1864. 87-134.

This collection was originally published in England in 1861 under the pseudonym of Thomas Waters and claimed to be an adaptation from a manuscript by Théodore Duhamel, yet another pseudonym.

 
A Felon Hunt
  police had not succeeded in tracing him, nor did they feel at all confident of being able to do so. This report a Commissaire de Police of Lyons, with whom I was in immediate communication, remarked, was an unsatisfactory one. No date was given of Durand’s supposed arrival in Paris, nor was it stated by what diligence he had travelled. There must also have been criminal delay in some quarter, as a full description of the assassin, and other ample details should have reached the capital before the individual detained upon suspicion of robbery would appear to have arrived there. The commissiare doubted, therefore, whether the suggestion of Durand’s having sought refuge in Paris, might not be an after-surmise, based upon insufficient grounds. The commissarre might, however, be mistaken upon that point, and I with Cremieux and Marin were directed to proceed with all dispatch to Pont de l’Arche, a village somewhat higher up the Seine than Rouen, and place ourselves in communication with . . .

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A FEW days subsequent to the mournful catastrophe recorded in the last paper; whilst our hearts still vibrated with cruel regrets, which the fate of poor Laboudie would have excited in the flintiest natures, my comrades and I caught an echo—a doubtful, confused one—through the resonant police-meshes, carefully arranged, and wound up by the Lyonese authorities, of the fleeing felon’s footsteps. A man, answering precisely to the pen-portrait of Durand, had, it was asserted, arrived in Paris by diligence, but unfortunately some seven or eight hours before that portrait, and otherwise general description, reached the gendarmerie. The fugitive from justice had, it seemed, a very narrow, and, it was hoped, but temporary escape, he having been detained some little time in custody upon suspicion of having robbed a lady, travelling in the coupé, of her purse. As, however, the purse was found where the lady might have accidentally dropped it, and the man’s passport was, as usual, en regle—he travelled as Alexander Querault—he was, as a matter of course, liberated, and when the despatch left Paris, the

   

 

 

 
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