The Vanished Millionaire

The Vanished Millionaire


(1 Review)
The Vanished Millionaire by B. Fletcher Robinson







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The Vanished Millionaire


(1 Review)
From "The Chronicles of Addington Peace", etext prepared by Joe Horvat.

Book Excerpt

Then I must refuse. I am sorry, but--"

"Don't apologize, Mr. Harbord," said the little man, cheerfully. "I shall have to find some one else, that is all."

We walked into the breakfast-room, and a few minutes later Ransome appeared with a great bundle of letters and telegrams in his hand. He said not a word to any of us, but dropped into a chair, tearing open the envelopes and glancing at their contents. His face grew darker as he read, and once he thumped his hand upon the table with a crash that set the china jingling.

"Well, Inspector?" he said at last.

The little detective's head shook out a negative.

"Perhaps you require an incentive," he sneered. "Is it a matter of a reward?"

"No, Mr. Ransome; but it is becoming one of my personal reputation."

"Then, by thunder, you are in danger of losing it. Why don't you and your friend hustle instead of loitering around as if you were paid by the job? I tell you, man, there are thousands, hundreds of thousands melting,

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The Vanished Millionaire: Home Magazine of Fiction, December 1904 (pp. 577-587). This fifth and penultimate episode (Chapter 6 in the book edition) is the most ‘popular’ of Bertram Fletcher Robinson’s short stories in so far that it has been republished on at least eleven occasions. There are several editions of the original tale and some of these were published under the inflationary title of The Vanished Billionaire in American publications. This episode centers upon the kidnapping of an American businessman during the execution of an important deal. Although this crime is committed upon an estate on the Hampshire Downs, the general setting is reminiscent of Dartmoor in Devon. Furthermore, like Arthur Conan Doyle’s two Dartmoor-based Sherlock Holmes stories, Silver Blaze (1892) and The Hound of the Baskervilles (1901), the case hinges upon a set of tracks that were made by the victim and then subsequently disturbed. Such parallels have prompted some to speculate that The Vanished Millionaire might be based upon some 'Proto-Hound’ story that was written during the collaboration between Conan Doyle and Fletcher Robinson over The Hound of the Baskervilles. However, there is, as of yet, no documentary evidence to support this theory.