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American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
The New Hampshire Statesman, February 24, 1855
 
The Murder in the Room

FROM THE NOTE BOOK OF AN EMINENT PHILADELPHIA LAWYER, LATELY DECEASED
  Fred—little Tom Needham—Jack Fry and myself. Harry was impetuous, hasty, irritable, but in the main good-hearted; his brother was cooler, more calculating, and if anything a little avaricious. Tom was a true toper, who enjoyed his glass to the extreme, and was never happy except when half drunk; and Jack was a kind of hanger-on and toady for the whole of us. For myself, there was only two peculiarities worth myself. Harry was impetuous, hasty, irritable, but in the main good-hearted; his brother was cooler, more calculating, and if anything a little avaricious. Tom was a true toper, who enjoyed his glass to the extreme, and was never happy except when half drunk; and Jack was a kind of hanger-on and toady for the whole of us. For myself, there was only two peculiarities worth mentioning, from their apparent inconsistency. As quick as a flash, the least angry word would arouse me to a tempest of ungovernable passion, which, when subsided, would find me as cold as ice, and with a mind free to plot and contrive anything.

On one evening we had lost a good deal of. . .

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The narrative which I present, I give as I find it in my notebook. It was taken in almost the very words of the murderer, though not committed to writing until next day; for the narrative made a very powerful impression on my mind. The disappearance of the murdered man had excited much conjecture as to his fate; but the general impression was that he had absconded to avoid his creditors, and his friends often wondered whether he would ever return.

THE MURDERER’S STORY

There were five of us together—constant companions—fond of women, wine, and the dice-box. We made love in company, got drunk together, and gambled from the same purse. A very slender purse it was, too—but that’s not to the point.

There was Harry Pierce and his brother

   

 

 


 

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