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American Detective Fiction    April 1841-July 1891

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  Published in
Harper’s Weekly, December 4, 1858.
 
T4FG2G:
A Detective Experience


  beats, for one thing: but mainly to try to nab some party of burglars at work—catch enough to frighten the rest. I tell you, it was cold work! I often thought that I should like to haul one of those old grumblers that was always complaining about the inefficiency of the police out of his bed, where he’d be all cuddled up under the blankets, and start him out on a beat in a northeaster. Guess he’d step into a cellar, once in a while, for a hot “tod” too. It’s such a deal easier to find fault, with the thermometer at “temperate,” than to do patrol duty at “twenty degrees below.”

Speaking of “hot tod,” though, I’d rather have hot coffee anytime—and that brings me back to the story, with a short turn, and “sarve me right.”

My party was out one night—a little, fine, tingling snow blowing like old Bor’as himself—and we’d just been together into Mike’s for some coffee—he kept near the . . .

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    I think it’s best, since the story I am to tell is like to be a long one, to work as close as I can to the facts. It is the longest case I ever was on, and one of the sharpest, and if I can remember to stick to my text, and not go cruising round from Dan to Jerico—or Beersheba, one of the two—I think I can make out a story that you won’t get tired listening to.  Some of my friends tell me a good parson was lost to the world when I turned policeman. Well, anyhow, here’s a straight yarn this time, if I know how to spin it, and I’ll do my best, I promise you.

It happened in the winter of 185-,—a desperate cold winter, as perhaps you may remember—that there were so many burglaries downtown, and so much complaint about the “inefficiency of the police”—that used to be the cry—that the chief put some of us “specials” at work on regular night duty. There were several squads, five picked men in each, under the command of a sergeant, and our duties were to see that the patrolmen kept their
   

 

 


 

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