American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
Leaves from the Diary of a Law-Clerk by the Author of “Recollections of a Detective Police Officer,” &c. London: J.C. Brown & Co., 1857.
The Puzzle
  rich and exceedingly yellow East India director, and his son, Mr. Henry Thorneycroft, with whom, until lately transferred to Major Stewart’s service, he had lived from infancy—his mother and father having formed part of the elder Thorneycroft’s establishment when he was born. He had a notion in his head that he had better blood in his veins than the world supposed, and was excessively fond of aping the gentleman; and this he did, I must say, with the ease and assurance of a stage player. His name was scarcely out of the clerk’s lips when he entered the inner office with a great effort at steadiness and deliberation, closed the door very carefully and importantly, hung his hat with much precision on a brass peg, and then steadying himself by the door handle, surveyed the situation and myself with staring, lack-lustre eyes and infinite gravity. I saw what was the matter.

“You have been in the ‘sun,’ Mr. Martin?”


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TEMPUS FUGIT! The space of but a few brief yesterdays seems to have passed since the occurrence of following out-of-the-way incidents—out-of-the-way even in our profession, fertile as it is in startling experiences; and yet the faithful and unerring telltale and monitor, Anno Domini 1851, instructs me that a quarter of a century has nearly slipped by since the first scene in the complicated play of circumstances opened upon me. The date I remember well, for the Tower guns had been proclaiming with their thunder­throats the victory of Navarino but a short time before a clerk announced, “William Martin, with a message from Major Stewart.”

This William Martin was a rather sorry curiosity in his way. He was now in the service of our old client Major Stewart; and a tall, good-looking fellow enough, spite of a very decided cast in his eyes, which the rascal, when in his cups—no unusual occurrence—declared he had caught from his former masters—Edward Thorneycroft, Esq., an enormously





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