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John Thorndyke's Casesrelated   By: (1862-1943)

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JOHN THORNDYKE'S CASES

RELATED BY CHRISTOPHER JERVIS, M.D.

AND EDITED BY R. AUSTIN FREEMAN AUTHOR OF "THE GOLDEN POOL," ETC.

WITH SIX ILLUSTRATIONS BY H. M. BROCK, AND NINE FROM PHOTOGRAPHS, ETC.

[Illustration: PROFESSOR POPPELBAUM IS ENLIGHTENED.]

TO MY FRIEND

FRANK STANDFIELD

IN MEMORY OF MANY A PLEASANT EVENING SPENT WITH MICROSCOPE AND CAMERA THIS VOLUME IS DEDICATED

PREFACE

The stories in this collection, inasmuch as they constitute a somewhat new departure in this class of literature, require a few words of introduction. The primary function of all fiction is to furnish entertainment to the reader, and this fact has not been lost sight of. But the interest of so called "detective" fiction is, I believe, greatly enhanced by a careful adherence to the probable, and a strict avoidance of physical impossibilities; and, in accordance with this belief, I have been scrupulous in confining myself to authentic facts and practicable methods. The stories have, for the most part, a medico legal motive, and the methods of solution described in them are similar to those employed in actual practice by medical jurists. The stories illustrate, in fact, the application to the detection of crime of the ordinary methods of scientific research. I may add that the experiments described have in all cases been performed by me, and that the micro photographs are, of course, from the actual specimens.

I take this opportunity of thanking those of my friends who have in various ways assisted me, and especially the friend to whom I have dedicated this book; by whom I have been relieved of the very considerable labour of making the micro photographs, and greatly assisted in procuring and preparing specimens. I must also thank Messrs. Pearson for kindly allowing me the use of Mr. H. M. Brock's admirable and sympathetic drawings, and the artist himself for the care with which he has maintained strict fidelity to the text.

R. A. F.

Gravesend, September 21, 1909 .

CONTENTS

I. THE MAN WITH THE NAILED SHOES II. THE STRANGER'S LATCHKEY III. THE ANTHROPOLOGIST AT LARGE IV. THE BLUE SEQUIN V. THE MOABITE CIPHER VI. THE MANDARIN'S PEARL VII. THE ALUMINIUM DAGGER VIII. A MESSAGE FROM THE DEEP SEA

ILLUSTRATIONS

PROFESSOR POPPLEBAUM IS ENLIGHTENED, Frontispiece PLAN OF ST. BRIDGET'S BAY THE SERGEANT'S SKETCH FLUFF FROM KEY BARREL THE STRANGER IS RUN TO EARTH TRANSVERSE SECTIONS OF HUMAN HAIR THORNDYKE'S STRATEGY THE DISCOVERY THE MOABITE CIPHRE THE PROFESSOR'S ANALYSIS THE APPARITION IN THE MIRROR THE ALUMINUM DAGGER THE SAND FROM THE MURDERED WOMAN'S PILLOW HUMAN HAIR, SHOWING ROOTS SUPERINTENDENT MILLER RISES TO THE OCCASION

JOHN THORNDYKE'S CASES

I

THE MAN WITH THE NAILED SHOES

There are, I suppose, few places even on the East Coast of England more lonely and remote than the village of Little Sundersley and the country that surrounds it. Far from any railway, and some miles distant from any considerable town, it remains an outpost of civilization, in which primitive manners and customs and old world tradition linger on into an age that has elsewhere forgotten them. In the summer, it is true, a small contingent of visitors, adventurous in spirit, though mostly of sedate and solitary habits, make their appearance to swell its meagre population, and impart to the wide stretches of smooth sand that fringe its shores a fleeting air of life and sober gaiety; but in late September the season of the year in which I made its acquaintance its pasture lands lie desolate, the rugged paths along the cliffs are seldom trodden by human foot, and the sands are a desert waste on which, for days together, no footprint appears save that left by some passing sea bird.

I had been assured by my medical agent, Mr. Turcival, that I should find the practice of which I was now taking charge "an exceedingly soft billet, and suitable for a studious man;" and certainly he had not misled me, for the patients were, in fact, so few that I was quite concerned for my principal, and rather dull for want of work... Continue reading book >>




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