American Detective Fiction    April 1841-July 1891

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  Published in
Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, August, 1855
The Mysterious Occurrence in Lambeth
by G.P.R. James

  post, when the former was pushed back as far as the chain would allow it, wrenched out the staple through which the iron catch was passed. Immediately this was accomplished the officer and four of the nearest neighbors, namely, Mr. Andrew Tibbits, the blacksmith above mentioned, Mis­tress Golding, a lady who keeps a chandler’s shop opposite, Mr. Stimpkins the tailor in the same street, and Mr. John Piggensdorff, the German sausage-maker who lives at the corner, entered the house and proceeded to examine the rooms on the first floor.

“Nothing of any importance met their eyes in the parlor, which is a small room fronting the street. Everything seemed in perfect order, and wore evidence of two people having taken tea there. The teapot was found quite cold, but half full, with two teacups on the table, which had clearly been used the night before. The sugar basin was in its place, and the silver teaspoons had not been disturbed. The window shutters also in all the under rooms were shut and barred; and in the further examination . . .


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    “Yesterday morning, about a quarter to six o’clock, as police constable B 45 was returning from his round, he perceived the door of a house in Transom Street, Lambeth, appa­rently not quite closed, and judging that it must have been left in this condition all night, he thought it advisable to enter in order to warn the inhabitants against such gross carelessness, which only gives encouragement to the pilfer­ing habits long a reproach to that neighbor­hood. On pushing the door, however, he found that it was chained on the inside, and now feel­ing his suspicions still more excited, he knocked loudly for admission. No answer was returned from the house; but his repeated applications to the knocker called forth several of the neigh­bors, from whom he received information which induced him at once to force his way in. This was effected by means of a crowbar obtained from the shop of Mr. Tibbits, a blacksmith, five doors farther down the street, which, being introduced through the small aperture left be­tween the door and the door    




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