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American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
Ballou’s Dollar Monthly Magazine, April 1862
 
The Masked Robbers
A Leaf from a Detective’s Notebook
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by Percy Garrett
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  for two or three weeks before myarrival, scarcely a person left the village at nightfall that was not dispossessed of all his money and valuables. All the robberies had been committed by two men who wore crepe masks. No violence had been done to any person who made no resistance; but one or two individuals, who had disputed the robbers’ right to their property, had been dreadfully beaten. It appeared that every effort had been made to discover the offenders, but every scheme had proved in vain, and even a detective officer from a neighboring city, who had been engaged to ferret out the criminals, had returned home, giving it up in despair.

An hour after my interview with the mayor (whom I desired to keep my visit a profound secret), I was seated in the bar-room of the Congress House, the chief hotel in the town. It was the middle of the month of December, and intensely cold, so that I was very glad to draw my chair close to a large stove used for heating the apartment. A considerable number of . . .

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    SOME six or eight years ago I received a requisition from the mayor of a small town in the interior of the State of New York, to visit that place for the purpose of discovering the perpetrators of various highway robberies which had been committed in the neighborhood. I soon reached my destination, and found Elliotsville, the name of the town in question, consisted but of one long, straggling street, containing the usual number of stores, taverns, etc., which are to be found in all country places. The neighborhood, however, was very pretty, and I was not surprised to learn that in summer time it was the favorite place of resort for the dwellers of cities.
 
My first duty was to call on the mayor, and receive from him the particulars of the crimes he had referred to in his letter to me. I found “his honor” to be a smart, active little man, who in a few minutes put me in possession of all the facts he knew, which amounted to simply that
   

 

 


 

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