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A GREAT DETECTIVE. The career of America’s greatest detective, Mr Wm. J. Burns-, has an obvious interest at present, because his name has gone round the woHd in connection with the municipal bribery scandals of San Francisco. Burns is known as the King of Detectives, but he is said to bear little resemblance to the detective kings of fiction. “What interests me most ■about Burns,” said an astute, American lawyer the cither day, is that he never misses a meal. I never saw him in too much of a hurry to take his hour for dinner at any time. He is methodical in everything. It is all in a day’s work with Burns, and when he turns in at night he sleeps like a top.” “Yet ho never procrastinates,” put in another lawyer. “I asked him the other day if he thought he could get a man we wanted and bring him to the office in the morning. ‘What’s the matter with* getting him now ?’ said Burns. Taking down the receiver from the telephone, he called up a saloon. His man was there. Burns- told him it would bo better for his health to surrender at our office without delay. The man came at once. SCORNS DISGUISES. Burns uses few of the stereotyped detective methods. With disguises he will have little to do. Ho says himself : “People seem so think that there is something uncanny about detective work. They imagine we go around disguised in false whiskers and wearing blue goggles. I never use a disguise, except a change of clothes, but 1 can take one of my men and let you talk with him ; then bring him in to-morrow, and you would not believe him the same man. Here in San Francisco everyone knows me—at least all the grafters do—so it would be useless to try a disguise.” LIKED BY THE MEN HE ARRESTS. A -great deal of Burns’s success is due to his personal magnetism. The men he hunts down like him. ,A landgrabber whom he laid by the heels, and who is described as one of the “hardest” of his* kind, drew a revolver on Burns at the moment of his arrest, hut did not five. However he knocked the detective down with the butt-end of it, and got away. Burns followed him across the States, and caught his- man, who is now in prison. Someone -asked the fellow' later why he had not shot Burns when he had him at his mercy. “I was going to shoot,” he answered, “but I like Burns too well to kill him.” Strange to say. Burns, according to the New [York “Herald,” which devotes three colours to a portrait of the great detective, began life as a cutter in tailor’s shop. He was twenty-six when he took his first detective case. The tally sheets had been altered in an election of State legislators to provide for the election of a certain candidate to the Senate. ,The point was to find out who committed the forgery. Burns did the trick so nicely that he has never cut a suit of clothes since that day.—Selected.

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Bibliographic details

Sketcher., Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 21, 7 September 1907

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Sketcher. Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 21, 7 September 1907