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American Detective Fiction    April 1841-July 1891

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Published in
The [Madison, WI] Weekly Argus and Democrat, February 17, 1857

The [Madison, WI] Weekly Argus and Democrat cites as its source Harper’s Weekly.

   
The Gramercy Park Mystery

Toward the end of last autumn, Gramercy Park—which, as everybody knows, is one of the most charming localities in the city—has been oppressed with a mystery which no one could fathom.  The most daring and inexplicable robberies were constantly taking place. Consternation reigned in the servant’s hall.  Rings, spoons, brooches, shawl-pins, in short every species of valuables were being daily missed from a number of houses in the Park.  No one could tell how they went.  Married ladies mourned over their diamonds.  Demoiselles wept for lost pledges of affection.  The services of a distinguished detective were called in.  He watched, examined, catechized the servants, and put on spectacles and false whiskers, but all to no purpose.  Intelligence officers reaped a harvest, for everybody was discharging their servants and getting new ones.—One wealthy family had suffered such severe losses that they had almost come to the resolution of doing their own chores.  Gramercy Park—usually so tranquil—was in a high state of fever.  The very sidewalks could have baked Connecticut pies.

    One of the servant sufferers among the many victims was Mrs. Y—, a lady who inhabited one of the handsomest houses in the Park, and who was rather distinguished in society from the fact of her being always accompanied by a very beautiful and intelligent monkey.  Other people carried lap dogs—she carried a monkey; and, as to be uncommon is, in nine cases out of ten, to be famous, she had an unblemished reputation for eccentricity. Her distinction did not, however, preserve her from the general calamity.  She related, with tears in her eyes, the story of the loss of some family jewels of inestimable value which were stolen from her bedroom.  She had the police on the track, but no clue could be obtained to the criminal.  The mystery increased in intensity.  Barrington and Jack Sheppard faded in significance before the ingenuity of this unknown burglar.

Among the residents of Gramercy Park is a Mr. B—, a middle-aged gentleman, who, having had a long career of success in business, committed some time since the unpardonable folly of marrying a young and pretty wife. . . .

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