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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. 67-86.

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.

 
La Belle Tambourine
  my comrades listened with interest to the slightly varying versions of the crime, with its attendant circumstances, for which the doomed felon was to suffer, and, as we had for the moment lost scent of Durand, we might, without neglect of our own proper duty, share in whatever benefit might be derived from the great moral lesson.

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An immense mass of people is gathered round the scaffold, and amongst that eager surging crowd the name of Jean Gosset Laboudie is bandied about in every variety of emphasis and tone, expressive of scorn, indignation, loathing, abhorrence. Presently, he appears in the cart, with a priest by his side, and a yell of execration bursts forth, so fierce, so terrible, that the doomed wretch—whose pallid face and wildly gleaming eyes seemed to be calming into hopeful resignation beneath the influence of the priest’s prayers and promises, is actually smitten down by the . . .

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THE authorities being extremely anxious that Durand should be recaptured, were good enough to appoint me one of the agents for hunting him down. Two veteran gendarmes, Marin and Cremieux, whose coolness and resolution had been often proved, were associated with me. As I knew Durand personally, and was thought to have more head than my two selected comrades, the direction of the hunt was confided to me, which, after all, was but my right. How, like true sleuth-hounds, we tracked Durand, and the final issue of the exciting chase, will be given in a subsequent paper. At present, I have only to say that the trail, a false one, had led us, by the 28th of September, to Angers, chef-lieu and assize town of the department of the Maine and Loire. The town was full, and great excitement prevailed; the cause of which we found to be that the ordinary attractions of St. Michael’s Fair, to be held on the morrow, would be greatly enhanced by the exciting spectacle of the guillotine in action, a great moral lesson, which authority had decided could not, upon this occasion, have too large an audience. I and

   

 

 


 

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