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American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
Strange Stories of a Detective; or, Curiosities of Crime. New York: Dick and Fitzgerald, 1863. 38-41.
 
The Trap

by A Retired Member of the Detective Police
[William Russell]

  out. So, in an hour after the counterfeiter starts a new bill, the whole island is on the look-out against it. I’ll tell you a good story how one country “horse-dealer” got “took in.” It was while I was with Chief Matsell—say about ten years ago.
 
A messenger came down, late one afternoon, from one of the uptown wards, asking me to come up and see if I could recognize a couple of fellows they had arrested on suspicion. They couldn’t find any bad bills on them, but thought they might have disposed of them in some way while being arrested: they have plenty of ways of getting rid of the stuff when they find it dangerous. Well, I had worked a good deal among counterfeiters, and they thought I might know them; so I went up. I took a look at them through a hole in a curtain—they hadn’t been put in the cells, but were detained in the sitting-room—and I thought I’d seen them somewhere; still I couldn’t fix them. However, I determined to know more about . . .

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    BEFORE the telegraph came into use, the counterfeiters—or “horse-dealers,” as they call themselves—drove a much better trade than they do now. When they had started a good bill it would run two or three days—or a week even—before the public generally would find it out. But now-a-days, since we have had the telegraph all over town, they find themselves brought up with a short turn. Deputy Carpenter has arranged a plan which spoils their fun completely. Just as soon as information is received at any station that a counterfeit has been offered, that station communicates directly with headquarters, giving a description of the bill; from headquarters the news is telegraphed immediately to every station in the city; the patrolmen are called in, the captain or sergeant reads the description to them, and they go back at once to their beats and warn all the shopkeepers—in fact every body likely to receive money in business—that such a bill is    

 

 

 
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