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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. 1

burglars. Mr. Bagshawe arrived on the following day, and it was then found that not only a large amount of plate, but between three and four thousand pounds in gold and notes—the produce of government stock sold out about two months previously, had been carried off. The only person, except his niece, who lived with him, that knew there was this sum in the house, was his nephew, Robert Bristowe, to whom he had written, directing his letter to the Hummums Hotel, London, stating that the sum for the long-contemplated purchase of Ryland’s, had been some time lying idle at Five Oaks, as he had wished to consult him on his bargain before finally concluding it. This Mr. Robert Bristowe was now nowhere to be heard of; and what seemed to confirm without a doubt the—to Mr. Bagshawe and his niece—torturing, horrifying suspicion that his nephew was the burglar and assassin, a portion of the identical letter written to him by his uncle, was found in one of the offices As he was nowhere to be met with or heard of in the neighborhood of Kendal, it was surmised that he must have returned to London with his booty, and a full description

    of his person, and the dress he wore, as given by the fishmonger’s boy, was sent to London by the authorities. They also forwarded for our use and assistance one Josiah Barnes, a sly, sharp, vagabond sort of fellow, who had been apprehended on suspicion, chiefly, or rather wholly, because of his former intimacy with Sarah King, who had discharged him, it seemed on account of his incorrigibly idle, and in other respects, disreputable habits. The alibi he set up was, however, so clear and decisive, that he was but a few hours in custody; and now he exhibited great zeal for the discovery of the murderer of the woman to whom he had, to the extent of his perverted instincts, been sincerely attached. He fiddled at the festivals of the humbler Kendalese; sang, tumbled, ventriloquized at their tavern orgies; and had he not been so highly gifted, might, there was little doubt, have earned a decent living as a carpenter, to which profession his father, by dint of much exertion, had about half bred him. His principal use to us was that he was acquainted with the features of Mr. Robert Bristowe; and accordingly, as soon as I received my commission and instructions, I

Continued on p. 3

   


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