American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
The New York Ledger, June 26, 1858
Unexpected Evidence

by Sylvanus Cobb, Jr


hope. He had stopped overnight at a small inn some twenty miles west of Columbia, and in the morning he [set] out alone on his journey. As he was passing through a wood he saw a dead body lying by the roadside, and he stopped his horse, and dismounted. He found it to be the body of a middle-aged man, who had been killed with a knife, there being several deep wounds upon the breast. The corpse was still warm, and while he was in the act of turning it over, in order to get a better view of the face, he heard some one approaching, and upon looking up he saw two men, who seemed to have come from a little woodpath near at hand. He told them how he found the body, and asked them if they knew who it was. But they only shook their heads, and told him that he was doing it very well. In short, they accused him of doing the deed, and, without further ado, apprehended him, and carried him to the next village, where they entered a complaint and gave in their evidence.

“At first my brother looked upon it as . . .


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    “I once had an adventure,” said my friend, “which I think is worth printing; and if you will write it out, I’ll tell it to you.”

“Go ahead,” said I, “and, if it suits, the printer shall have it.”

“Well—I’ll give it to you,” he resumed, as he threw his cigar away, and tipped his chair back against the wall. “It may not have been so startling an adventure as some, but the train of circumstances connected with it were very curious, and, in my opinion, remarkable. My brother James, who is two years older than myself, had gone out West, intending to settle either in Missouri or Kentucky. He had been gone about three months when I received a letter from him, postmarked at Columbia, Kentucky. He was in jail, and about to be tried for the crime of murder. He had been arrested for murdering a traveler, and the evidence was so strong, and so direct, against him, that no lawyer could be found who could give him any




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