American Detective Fiction    April 1841-July 1891

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Leaves from the Diary of a Law-Clerk by the Author of “Recollections of a Detective Police Officer,” &c. London: J.C. Brown & Co., 1857.
Malvern Versus Malvern
  was inclined to do, the ruined roue’s necessities. As the suit however proceeded, a vague feeling of apprehension succeeded to the solicitor’s contemptuous pooh-poohish manner of treating it, and yet, wherein could lie the danger? Mr. and Mrs. Leigh Malvern had been married some four or five years; three children, two, boys and a girl, were the issue of the union; and the estates contended for were entailed on the heir-male. There could be no doubt of all this; still, Mr. White, a wary, clever man, grew more and more fidgety when Hilary term came round, and the cause was ripe for hearing at an early day. And this vague, undefinable feeling of alarm appeared at the last consultation held at Mr. Prince’s chambers on the eve of the day when the cause would, in all likelihood, be called to be shared by all the counsel engaged, Mr. S— included. Mrs. Malvern, accompanied by her brother, Mr. John Halcombe, was present for a short time, and they also, I observed, looked pale and nervous, chiefly, I concluded, . . .


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The remarkable suit I have just named, came on for hearing before Lord Ellenborough and a special jury, at Westminster Hall, about five-and-thirty years ago. Mr. White, of Furnival’s Inn, Mrs. Leigh Malvern’s solicitor, retained Mr. Prince for the defence, which was to be led by the great Nisi Prius celebrity, Mr. S—. The matter, in its first aspect, had a queer, almost absurd, character. Mr. Raymond Malvern, a broken-down gentleman of high family, but by no means equally elevated character, had brought, on the demise of his elder brother, Mr. John Leigh Malvern, in conjunction with the mythic John Doe, an action in ejectment, to establish his right to certain property in Middlesex, wrongfully withheld from him by Mrs. Leigh Malvern, the guardian of the said deceased brother’s infant son. The claim involved, in fact, the right to the whole of the Malvern estates which were extensive. At first, Mr. White believed the action to be a mere flash in the pan, a stupid clumsy device to terrify Mrs. Leigh Malvern into supplying, much more largely than she





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