American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
The Revelations of a Private Detective by Andrew Forrester, Jr. London: Ward and Lock, 1863. 235-53.
Who Stole the Plate?
by Andrew Forrester, Jr.

  the last few months. It’s a very curious affair, sir, altogether. First one thing valuable is missed and then another. The countess has lost several articles or jewelry, Lady Jane has lost a good many little fancy odds and ends that are worth a good lot of money, and Lady Emily has been nearly driven out of her senses by losing a sweet little gold watch given her as a birthday present by the earl.”
I was already getting impatient. Did the noble lord want me to give up my excursion, to trace and hunt down some petty thief among his own servants? I had no doubt he would pay a reasonable figure for the service, but it was the sort of job I would rather at any time not undertake; and to sacrifice a rare interval of leisure—a golden opportunity for enjoyment—for such a task, I certainly did not like the notion of at all.
“Yes, sir,” I observed petulantly, “a small affair that. Would it not be wise for his lordship’s . . .


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    ONE day, as I sat quietly musing in my office, with comparatively little to do, and was planning a nice trip to Ireland, with my wife, solely for the purpose of our mutual enjoyment, and with no concealed or latent professional intent, I was called upon by a person who bore a letter of introduction from a solicitor who had some time previously made use of my services in probing and extinguishing a gigantic fraud upon young scions of the aristocracy.

The business he came upon seemed to be of the most ordinary kind, but, as the sequel will show the reader, it was one of the funniest little romances of the peerage ever described.

After a few words of preface, on either side, the conversation took this turn—

“His lordship,” observed my visitor, “and Mr. Tomlinson our steward, have been endeavouring to quietly find out who has committed several robberies at the Hall within




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