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.
Paul Spiring’s book reviews
The Mystery of the Jade Spear: Home Magazine of Fiction, January 1905 (pp. 79-88). In this sixth and final episode (Chapter 8 in the book edition), one Colonel William Bulstrode is inadvertently killed by his brother, Anstruther Bulstrode following a dispute over the ownership of a valuable jade spear. The surname of both the victim and culprit might be derived from Bulstrode Park in northwest Buckinghamshire. This is the site of a former house that was built for the infamous ‘Hanging Judge’, George Jeffreys (1645-1689). He was the son of John Jeffreys (1608-1691), a notable Royalist during the English Civil War (1642-1651). Bertram Fletcher Robinson was a history graduate with a special interest in the English Civil War and he is known to have visited Buckinghamshire. The use of the Christian name Anstruther is also noteworthy because it was later used by PG Wodehouse within a short story entitled The Love That Purifies (1929), which was republished in Very Good, Jeeves (1930). Wodehouse collaborated with Fletcher Robinson on at least four separate occasions between 1904 and 1907 and 'Mr. Anstruther' remains one of his most notable incidental characters. Moreover, there is also a repetition between the Christian names of Bertram Fletcher Robinson and the famous Wodehouse character, Bertram Wilberforce Wooster.