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).

    "Guilty or Not Guilty?" continued from p. 14

shall unravel this mystery yet, depend upon it.” He looked keenly at me, and then, without other reply than a warm pressure of the hand, jumped into the carriage.

“Well, Barnes,” I exclaimed as soon as we were in a room by ourselves, and the door closed, “what is it you have you discovered?”

“That the murderers of Sarah King are yonder at the Talbot where you left me.”

“Yes; so I gathered from your note. But what evidence have you to support your assertion?”

“This! Trusting my apparent drunken imbecility, they occasionally dropped words in my presence which convinced me not only that they were the guilty parties, but that they had come down here to carry off the plate, somewhere concealed in the neighborhood. This they mean to do tonight.”

“Anything more?”

“Yes. You know I am a ventriloquist in a small way, as well as a bit of a mimic: well, I took

    occasion when that youngest of the rascals—the one that sat beside Mr. Bristowe, and got out on the top of the coach the second evening, because, freezing cold as it was, he said the inside was too hot and close” —

“Oh, I remember. Dolt that I was, not to recall it before. But go one.”

“Well he and I were alone together in the parlor about three hours ago—I dead tipsy as ever—when he suddenly heard the voice of Sarah King at his elbow exclaiming, “Who is that in the plate closet?” If you had seen the start of horror which he gave, the terror which shook his falling limbs as he glanced round the apartment, you would no longer have entertained a doubt of the murderer.”

“This is scarcely judicial proof, Barnes; but I daresay we shall be able to make something of it. You return immediately; about nightfall I will rejoin you in my former disguise.”

It was early in the evening when I entered the Talbot, and seated myself in the parlor. Our three friends were present, and so was Barnes.

Continued on p. 16


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