American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
Waters, The Diary of a Detective Police Officer, NY: Dick and Fitzgerald, 1864. 46-56.

This story was originally published as “Recollections of a Police-Officer: The Widow.” in Chambers’ Edinburgh Journal on May 18, 1850.

It was also previously published in the collection Recollections of a Police-Officer by William Russell, under the pseudonym Thomas Waters (London: J. & C. Brown & Co., 1856).
The Widow
[by William Russell]

  hours after I had left London he had reappeared, it seems, in his counting-house, after having a few minutes previously effected the investment of the money in accordance with his client’s instructions, and was now, through his attorney, threatening the accuser and all his aiders and abettors with the agreeable processes that in England usually follow sharply at the heels of such rash and hasty proceedings.
My mission over, I proposed to retrace my steps immediately; but unfortunately found myself detained in the island for nearly a week by the hurricane-weather which suddenly set in, rendering it impossible for the mail or other steam-packets to cross the channel during its continuance. Time limped slowly and heavily away; and frequently, in my impatience to be gone, I walked down to the bleak pier, and strained my eyes in the direction in which the steamer from Jersey should appear. Almost every time I did so I encountered two persons, who, I could see, were even more impatient to be gone than myself, and probably, . . .


Find the full text here.






    In the winter of 1833 I was hurriedly, and, as I at the time could not help thinking, precipitately dispatched to Guernsey, one of the largest of the islands which dot the British Channel, in quest of a gentleman of, till then, high character on the Stock Exchange, who it was alleged, had absconded with a very large sum of money entrusted to him for investment by a baronet of considerable influence in official quarters. From certain circumstances, it was surmised that Guernsey would be his first hiding place, and I was obliged to post all the way to Weymouth in order to save the mail packet, which left that place on the Saturday evening, or night rather, with the Channel Island mails. Mr.— had gone, it was conjectured, by way of Southampton. My search, promptly and zealously as I was aided by the Guernsey authorities, proving vain, I determined on going on to Jersey, when a letter arrived by post informing me that the person of whom I was in pursuit had either not intended to defraud his client, or that his heart had failed him at the threshold of crime. A few    



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