American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, April 1865


Mr. Furbush
by Harriet E. Prescott [Spofford]

  sudden and terrible death of Miss Agatha More threw such a gloom over all their plans that the preparations were for a time abandoned, and Mr. Denbigh’s energies were called upon to assist his wife in rallying from the low nervous fever into which she had been thrown and prostrated by this tragedy, when returning with her husband from a drive they had discovered it in all its horror.

Mr. Denbigh was himself greatly afflicted by the death of his ward and the fearful manner of it — she had been strangled in her own handkerchief — for besides the debt of affection he owed her as a child of a dear dead friend, long years of familiarity, her extreme loveliness, and the winning gentleness of her sweet and timid ways, had given her a deep and warm place in his heart. Of late she had been a little out of health, not recovering rapidly from the great exhaustion and weakness of severe seasickness, and he had been unremitting in his endeavors to promote her comfort and happiness; while in making ready their new abode, both he and his wife . . .


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    It is not very long since the community was startled by the report of an extraordinary murder that occurred at one of our fashionable hotels, under peculiar circumstances and in broad daylight, and without affording, as it appeared, the slightest clew to motive or murderer. Public curiosity, finding that nothing was likely to satisfy it, gradually dropped the matter, and as gradually it died out of the newspapers.

The person who was thus abruptly ushered from this world into the unknown region of the next was a young girl, some twenty summers old, and possessed of great personal charms. She was the heiress to a small fortune, a mere annuity, but had resided since her childhood with her guardian, the wealthy and generous Mr. Denbigh, who had always surrounded her with every luxury and elegance. When Mr. Denbigh married, he and his wife took their ward with them on the foreign tour they made, and the three had but just returned to America, residing temporarily at a hotel till their uptown mansion should be suitably prepared, when the




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