American Detective Fiction    April 1841-July 1891

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  Published in
Flag of Our Union, December 17, 1859
Ballou’s Dollar Monthly Magazine, February 1860
[Written for The Flag of our Union.]

The Robbery of Plate
A Detective’s Story
by Harry Harewood Leech
  sharp answers to me as I cross-examined him, and through his instrumentality he was convicted. I addressed him by name, and after we had talked over this trial, some desultory conversation ensued, when I remarked to him:

“Benson, I suppose you have had many strange adventures in your life, which must be one of excitement, and where success is only obtained through the possession of such rare qualities as prudence, foresight, calmness and courage.”

“Yes, yes, many strange scenes do I pass through, but about the queerest case happened about a year ago in Philadelphia, and the principal actor is now serving out a term in the State’s Prison.”

“Do narrate it, Mr. Benson.” And the little, strongly knit man undid the muffler from about his throat and said:

“I was sitting in the office of our chief about nine o’clock in the morning—let me see, it was much such a day as this—raw, and damp, . . .


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    SOME years ago I was traveling from Amboy to New York—it was a cold, blustering November day. I had gone into the ladies’ cabin on board the John Potter, and was settled near the stove among the pile of soft velvet cushions, before I discovered a figure directly opposite to me on the other side. His great coat was buttoned up to the neck, around which a heavy muffler was wound. Upon his head a heavy fur cap rested, from beneath the rim of which a pair of sharp, ferret-like eyes glowed on me, appearing to take in my whole character, history and business at a single glance. The man’s features seemed familiar to me, and I soon recognized him as a noted detective officer, who lived in Philadelphia. He had succeeded some two years before in bringing some famous counterfeiters to justice, one of whom selected me as his counsel. They were tried at Trenton, New Jersey, and I recollected this man’s puzzling,    



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