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American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
Strange Stories of a Detective; or, Curiosities of Crime. New York: Dick and Fitzgerald, 1863. 116-22.
 
Hanged by the Neck
A Confession

by A Retired Member of the Detective Police
[William Russell]

Chapter I
  poor but honest literary men, tragic actors, and pretty ballet girls.

My apartments in C— Street were opposite this building, to which my attention was directed, soon after taking possession of the rooms, by the discovery of the following facts: — First, that a very charming blonde lodged on the second floor front of “over the way,” and sang like a canary-bird every morning; second, that her name was Maria G—; third, that she had two lovers—short allowance for a danseuse. If ever poetry and pathos took human shape it was christened Maria G—. She was one of Beauty’s best thoughts. I cannot tell if her eyes were black or hazel; but her hair was bronze-brown, silken and wavy, and her mouth the perfection of tenderness. Her form was rich in those perfect curves which delighted the old Greek masters. I write this with no impure thought. But when she lay in her little room, stark, and lifeless, and horrible, the glory faded from her face, then I stooped down and kissed her, but not till then. How ghastly she looked! Eyes . . .

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    I AM about to lift the veil of mystery which for ten years has shrouded the murder of Maria G—; and, though I lay bare my own weakness, or folly, or what you will, I do not shrink from the unveiling. No hand but mine can perform the task. There was, indeed, a man who might have done this better than I; but he wrapped himself in silence and went his way.

I like a man who can hold his tongue.
 
On the corner of C— and B— Streets stands a dingy-brown house, which, judging from its obsolete style of architecture, must have been built a century ago. It has a very cocked hat air about it—an antique, unhappy look. It is now tenanted by an incalculable number of Irish families; but at the time of which I write it was a second-rate lodging-house of the more respectable sort, and rather largely patronized by

   

 

 

 
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