The Somnambulist and the Detective: A Classic Tale of Crime and Mystery by Allan Pinkerton
The Somnambulist and the Detective; The Murderer and the Fortune Teller by Allan Pinkerton
If you are a fan of crime and mystery novels, you might have heard of Allan Pinkerton, the Scottish-American detective who founded the Pinkerton National Detective Agency in 1850. Pinkerton was a pioneer in the field of private investigation, and his agency was involved in many famous cases, such as the pursuit of the outlaw Jesse James, the protection of President Abraham Lincoln, and the infiltration of the Molly Maguires, a secret society of Irish miners.
But did you know that Pinkerton was also a prolific writer, who published over 20 books based on his own experiences and cases? One of his most popular works is The Somnambulist and the Detective, a collection of two thrilling stories that showcase his skills and methods as a detective. In this article, we will explore the plot, the characters, and the historical context of this classic tale of crime and mystery.
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The Somnambulist and the Detective
The first story in the collection is titled The Somnambulist and the Detective, and it is based on a real case that Pinkerton handled in 1858. The story begins with Pinkerton receiving a letter from a wealthy merchant named Mr. Pattmore, who asks him to come to his mansion in Philadelphia. Mr. Pattmore tells Pinkerton that he suspects his wife of having an affair with a young man named Mr. Somers, who is also a somnambulist, or a sleepwalker. Mr. Pattmore claims that he has seen his wife and Mr. Somers walking together in the garden at night, and that he has found love letters and jewelry in his wife’s possession.
Pinkerton agrees to take the case, and he travels to Philadelphia with his assistant, Mr. Bangs. They disguise themselves as a gardener and a coachman, and they start to observe the movements and activities of Mrs. Pattmore and Mr. Somers. They soon discover that the situation is much more complicated and dangerous than they expected, and that they are dealing with a cunning and ruthless villain, who is plotting to murder Mr. Pattmore and inherit his fortune.
The story is full of suspense, intrigue, and action, as Pinkerton and Bangs use their wits and courage to unravel the mystery and expose the truth. Pinkerton also demonstrates his innovative techniques and gadgets, such as the telegraph, the photograph, and the secret code, which he uses to communicate with his agents and clients. The story also reveals Pinkerton’s moral and ethical principles, as he shows compassion and sympathy for the innocent victims, and justice and punishment for the guilty criminals.
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The Murderer and the Fortune Teller
The second story in the collection is titled The Murderer and the Fortune Teller, and it is based on a case that Pinkerton handled in 1861. The story begins with Pinkerton receiving a visit from a young woman named Miss Jennie Gray, who asks him to help her find her missing brother, Frank Gray. Frank was a clerk in a bank in Chicago, and he had disappeared a few weeks ago, after being accused of embezzling $50,000 from the bank. Miss Jennie tells Pinkerton that she believes that her brother is innocent, and that he was framed by someone else. She also tells him that she has consulted a fortune teller named Madame Mandelip, who has given her some clues about her brother’s whereabouts.
Pinkerton agrees to take the case, and he travels to Chicago with his assistant, Mr. Green. They start to investigate the bank robbery and the disappearance of Frank Gray, and they soon find out that there is a conspiracy involving several people, including the bank president, Mr. Wilson, the cashier, Mr. Horton, and the fortune teller, Madame Mandelip. They also learn that Frank Gray is not the only victim, and that there is a serial killer on the loose, who is murdering people who have visited Madame Mandelip.
The story is full of twists and turns, as Pinkerton and Green follow the clues and the trail of the murderer, who is always one step ahead of them. Pinkerton also shows his skill and intuition, as he uses his knowledge of human nature and psychology to decipher the motives and the methods of the criminals. The story also reflects Pinkerton’s social and political views, as he criticizes the corruption and the greed of the wealthy and powerful, and the superstition and the ignorance of the masses.
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The Somnambulist and the Detective is a fascinating book that offers a glimpse into the life and the work of Allan Pinkerton, one of the most famous and influential detectives in history. The book is not only a source of entertainment, but also a source of education, as it teaches the readers about the history, the culture, and the technology of the mid-19th century America. The book is also a testament to Pinkerton’s talent and legacy, as he created a genre of literature that inspired many other writers and detectives, such as Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, and Sherlock Holmes. If you are looking for a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat, and that will make you think and learn, you should definitely read The Somnambulist and the Detective by Allan Pinkerton. You won’t regret it!
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