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American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
Ballou’s Monthly Magazine, May 1875.

An altered, shorter version was published as "A Detective's Story" in the  Freeborn County [MN] Standard, March 14, 1878.

 
The Magic Glass:
or,
Detecting a Murderer

by M. Quad
  been murdered—a rich old spinster named Miss Williams. She was a woman about fifty-five years old, living in the best house in the village, and being possessed of quite a large fortune. She had never been married, but years before had adopted a boy who was now a young man of twenty. These two, with a couple of servants, made up the family.

“It was an awful thing!” said the farmer, as he saw that I was interested. “It is supposed that she was murdered about midnight, though it might have been an hour later. At least, when they found her, soon after daylight, she was cold and stiff.”

“And how was it done?”

“O, that’s plain to be seen,” he replied; “she slept alone in a bedroom on the first floor, and the murderer went in and beat her over the head with an iron bolt—the king-bolt of a wagon. Her skull is crushed in, and her face is a horrible sight. We left the body just as we . . .

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THERE had been a murder down at Colville—a cold-blooded murder the dispatch said—and I was detailed to go down and work up the case.

It was my trade—or profession then—hunting down thieves and murderers, and I had been so long at the business that a telegram announcing a murder was taken as coolly as if the despatch had related to some ordinary happening.

Before noon I was at Colville. It was a little hamlet about twenty miles from New York, and three miles off the railroad. I had answered the despatch before leaving New York, and they were therefore expecting me. As I landed on the platform a farmer came up and inquired my name, and I was requested to take a seat in his one-horse wagon for a drive to the village. He was greatly excited over the murder, and we had only got started when he commenced talking.

I soon learned that it was a woman who had

   

 

 

 
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