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American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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Experiences of a French Detective Officer by William Russell. New York: Dick & Fitgerald, 1864. 18-66.

This collection was originally published in England in 1861 under the pseudonym of Thomas Waters and claimed to be an adaptation from a manuscript by Théodore Duhamel, yet another pseudonym.

 
My First Case
  fortunate part of the population. In France, the only public interest not organised, left utterly dis-organised, is the compulsory relief of the poor. Bearing that terrible fact in mind, no one can feel surprised to hear that there have been wild, frantic uprisings of the habitants of La Croix Rousse against authority, the necessity of restraining which, in the interest of the insurrectionists themselves led, after Bugeaud’s bloody repression of the outbreaks in 1836, to the erection of the sixteen huge forts, the fire of which scientifically cross each other, and could reduce the weavers’ quarter to ruins in less than an hour. So at least Castellane boasted, when apprehensive of a revolt in January, 1852. The holy virgin of Fouvrières who, as his eminence the Cardinal Bonaldo reminded the Emperor the other day—his Majesty devoutly acquiescent—saved, once upon a time, La Croix Rousse from the ravages of cholera, would not, it was apprehended, have proved equally successful in averting Castellane’s cannonballs; and the projected . . .

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I AM a native of Lyon, in the department of the Rhȏne, the second city of France, seated upon the banks of those glorious rivers, the Rhȏne and Saȏne, and encircled by a magnificent amphitheatre of hills. My name is Theodore Duhamel, and I was bred to the trade of silk weaving, in one of the narrow, dingy streets which make up La Croix Rousse, that crowded, squalid quarter of the city, huddled together upon the upper part of the broad strip of land which divides the two rivers, and gradually narrows to their confluences, from which point their mingled waters flow in one broad volume to the sea.

Ascend the lofty height of Fouvrières and look around! Splendour, magnificence, both of nature and art, everywhere meet the dazzled glance, save in the direction of that huge agglomeration of the dens of despair, where scores of thousands of haggard, famine-dwindled workers spin and weave silk and satin from early youth to earlier age—their average length of life being probably some twenty-five percent. less than that of the more

   

 

 


 

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