Detective Allan Pinkerton and the Gordon Case Part 2

About the famous detective Allan Pinkerton and the Gordon Case, account of the chase, clues, and final solutions.


The Chase

Arriving on the scene, Pinkerton quickly ascertained that several men could have come to the bank on the night of Gordon's murder, including the county clerk, Alexander Drysdale. By examining the figures written on the bloodstained note under the body, Pinkerton was able to establish a possible link with Drysdale's account. Pinkerton next discovered that Drysdale was left-handed, and the coroner had already determined from the direction of the blows that the murderer was left-handed. But more was needed to establish a case, and to discover the whereabouts of the stolen money.

Pinkerton returned to Chicago, but he sent back three operators separately and incognito: Timothy Webster, a crack agent; Mrs. Kate Warne, the first woman private detective and a superb operative; and a young man named Green.

To facilitate surveillance, Green found a job in a local shop where idlers gathered and gossiped. Webster passed himself off as a man in the market to buy a plantation; curiously, one just like that adjoining Drysdale's property. Mrs. Warne posed as a widow looking for a new place to live.

After they had spent some time and had little to show for their efforts, the operatives grew discouraged. But suddenly Webster stumbled on two interesting facts, which he immediately cabled to Pinkerton in code: Green resembled the murdered George Gordon, and Alexander Drysdale was both nervous and extremely superstitious. With that information at his disposal, Pinkerton knew what to do and sent back instructions.

On two visits with Drysdale to the plantation he was "considering buying," Webster arranged for Green to pop out from behind trees, dressed like Gordon and besmeared with blood. On both occasions, Drysdale was extremely upset. Webster denied seeing anything at all.

In the meantime, after feigning an accident in front of the Drysdale home, Mrs. Warne was carried inside, where she stayed several days to "recover." One of her duties while inside was to spread a bloodlike red liquid all about, to further play on Drysdale's nerves. Green was directed to appear nightly in his ghostly garb around the Drysdale house in town. Drysdale soon developed somnambulism and deteriorated noticeably in health and appearance. Eventually he was ordered to bed by his doctor, and Webster took the opportunity to do a little digging at a spot on the plantation Drysdale had shown him and at another spot under a boulder in the middle of the town creek. Drysdale's behavior on various occasions had led to Webster's suspicions about these areas. Under the boulder in the creek, he discovered $23,000 in coins; on the plantation, he found $105,000 in currency.

The Solution

Pinkerton realized that all this evidence was circumstantial, so he decided to gamble on a confrontation and possible confession. Arriving in town again, he obtained a warrant for Drysdale's arrest and helped serve it. Drysdale fainted. When he recovered, Drysdale protested his innocence and agreed to face the bank directors and repeat his statement. At the bank, Green appeared again, dressed in gory glory as Gordon, and Drysdale fainted again. This time when he recovered, he was presented with the evidence: the scrap of paper under Gordon's body with figures on it which Pinkerton had tied to Drysdale's account, the fragments of clothing burned in the fireplace to destroy incriminating bloodstains, the coin and currency recovered by Webster.

Drysdale confessed. He was heavily in debt and had gone to the bank to ask for a loan. Instead, he had murdered Gordon and stolen the money. Drysdale then excused himself to go to the bathroom, where he committed suicide with a bullet to the brain. His hidden pistol thus concluded one of the most bizarre hunts in the Pinkerton casebook.

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