The Expressman and The Detective - Allan Pinkerton 1874 - W. B. Keen, Chicago - First Edition ‘Vice may triumph for a time, crime may flaunt its victories in the face of honest toilers, but in the end the law will follow the wrong-doer to a bitter fate, and dishonor and punishment will be the portion of those who sin.’

A lovely copy of this Haycraft-Queen Cornerstone title, illustrated with 14 full page plates. The first of Pinkerton’s crime series, which draws on the author’s extraordinary life as the basis for his tales of deceit, fraud, kidnapping, and conspiracy.

The Expressman and the Detective follows the adventures of young stationmaster Nathan Maroney, as he is falsely accused of stealing $50’000 dollars. This work became one of the driving forces behind the popularity of dime-novels, and is credited as one of the first detective ‘memoirs’, though Pinkerton presented it as thinly veiled fiction during its publication.

Pinkerton himself has left quite a legacy in the world of detection: the term ‘private eye’ is thought to have been coined based on Pinkerton’s own detective agency logo (a large eye with the words
‘we never sleep’ written underneath which is imprinted in gilt to the front covers) and his surname became popular in America as slang for ‘sleuth’ up until the 1950’s.
  Allan Pinkerton (1819-1884): It is not usual for an author’s life to outshine those of his literary creations, but Pinkerton was certainly an exception. Born in Scotland, he emigrated to the United States in 1941, where a series of jobs coincidentally brought him within earshot of a criminal conspiracy... after tracking the culprits for several days, he brought them to the police and began to collaborate regularly with law enforcement agencies, helping them solve several train robberies and forgery cases. Following a successful career with the first branch of the Chicago PD, he founded his own company: The Pinkerton National Detective Agency (still in operation today). He then became the head of what is now known as the Secret Service, and foiled two assassination attempts against President Abraham Lincoln while serving as his bodyguard.

Provenance: Mrs. Mary R. Gilson, with contemporary inscription to her compliments of John A. Hawks.

References: Herbert,
The Oxford Companion to Crime & Mystery Writing 120. Haycraft, Murder for Pleasure. Encyclopedia Britannica [web].

Octavo (19.5 x 13 cm). pp. [2] 278 [4]. In publisher’s green cloth, spine lettered in gilt and decorated in black, front board lettered in black, illustrated in black and gilt, yellow endpapers.
  Condition: Near fine, light rubbing to corners and spine ends, spine mildly toned.   Ref: 108991   Price: HK$ 3,500