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American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
Altoona Tribune, September 9, 1863
 
A Piece of Paper
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by a French Detective
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  at present, and that it would be wise to keep quiet for a while, as any steps would only lead to loss of time and useless labor. Then the conversation changed, and while talking of one thing and the other, I mechanically took up the piece of paper, which was about three inches long at the most, that surrounded the candle end. I had read beneath the dirty finger marks four words, “Two pounds of butter,” written in an illegible manner, and with ink whose paleness rendered them even more impossible to decipher.ā€” “By Jove,” I exclaimed, “that is a prodigious accident. I must find out the person who wrote those words, and then, perhaps, I shall get a clue to the thieves.”

The commissioner does not think much of this paper; he warns M. Cauler that he intends to close the report at four o’clock, and send all the articles to the prefecture. “Very good,” replies our author; and off he starts, accompanied by an agent, and holding the little piece of . . .

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    A burglary was committed at night in the shop of a certain watchmaker in the Rue St. Dennis. The robbers seized a number of gold and silver watches hanging in the window, and they went off, leaving behind them a wooden handled chisel, which they employed in breaking the lock, and a candle end, wrapped in a piece of paper about half the size of a hand. M.Sā€” did not discover the robbery till he came down to the shop in the morning, and I was not informed of the daring burglary till ten o’clock.ā€” I at once proceeded with an agent to the shop, in order to collect any indications that might help me to discover the robbers; but there was not the slightest clue. No one had seen them, and excepting the two articles to which I have referred, no object of a nature to facilitate search was left in the shop. Under these circumstances, I resolved to call on the police commissioner of that quarter, who might perhaps possess more precise data; but this magistrate told me that nothing could be done    

 

 


 

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