American Detective Fiction    April 1841-July 1891

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  Published in
Milwaukee Sentinel and Gazette, November 1 & 2, 1849
The Daily Sanduskian, November 7, 8, 9, 1849
The Sheboygan Mercury, November 10, 1849
The Oskosh True Democrat, November 23, 1849

This story was originally published as “Recollections of a Police-Officer: Guilty or Not Guilty?” in Chambers' Edinburgh Journal on August 25, 1849.

It was later published in the collection Recollections of a Police-Officer by William Russell, under the pseudonym Thomas Waters (London: J.& C. Brown & Co., 1856).

Prior to the British publication of this volume, a pirated collection of the stories—also titled Recollections of a Police-Officer—was published in America (New York: Cornish and Lamport, 1852).

From Chambers’s Edinburgh Journal

Recollections of a Police-Officer

Guilty or Not Guilty?

The positive arrival of this nephew had been declared to several tradesmen of Kendal by Sarah King, early the day proceeding the night of the murder and robbery; and by her directions butcher’s meat, poultry, fish, and so on, had been sent by them to Five Oaks for his table. The lad who carried the fish home stated that he had seen a strange young gentleman in one of the sitting rooms on the ground floor, through the half-opened door of the apartment. On the following morning it was discovered that Five Oaks House had been not indeed broken into, but broken out of—this was evident from the state of the door fastenings—and the servant woman barbarously murdered. The neighbors found her lying quite dead and cold at the foot of the principal staircase, clothed only in her nightgown and stockings, and with a flat chamber candlestick tightly grasped in her right hand. It was conjectured that she had been roused from sleep by some noise below, and having descended to ascertain the cause, had been mercilessly slain by the disturbed

Continued on p. 2


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A few months ago, I was engaged in the investigation of a remarkable burglary, accompanied by homicide, which had just occurred at the residence of Mr. Bagshawe, a gentleman of competent fortune, situated within a few miles of Kendal in Westmoreland. The particulars forwarded to the London Police authorities by the local magistracy were chiefly these:

Mr. Bagshawe, who had been some time absent at Leaminton, Warwickshire, with his entire establishment, wrote Sarah King—a young woman left in charge of the house and property—to announce his own speedy return, at the same time directing her to have a particular bed-room aired, and other household matters arranged for the reception of his nephew, Mr. Robert Bristowe, who, having just arrived from abroad, would, he expected, leave London immediately for Five Oaks





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