|07-31-2009, 06:19 AM||#1|
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Hanshew, Thomas W: Cleek, the Master Detective. V1. 31 July 2009
Thomas W. Hanshew (1857 – 1914) was an American actor and writer, born in Brooklyn, N. Y. He went on the stage when only 16 years old, playing minor parts with Ellen Terry's company. Subsequently he played important roles with Clara Morris and Adelaide Neilson. Later he was associated with a publishing house in London, where he resided at the close of his life. He used, among others, the pen name "Charlotte May Kingsley," and wrote more than 150 novels.
Hanshew's best-known creation was the consulting detective Hamilton Cleek, known as "the man of the forty faces" for his incredible skill at disguise. The central figure in dozens of short stories that began to appear in 1910 and were subsequently collected in a series of books, Cleek is based in Clarges Street, London, where he is constantly consulted by Inspector Narcom of Scotland Yard. Hamilton Cleek is laughably unrealistic, at least to the modern reader, not only for his ability to impersonate anyone but for his physical derring-do and his frequent melodramatic encounters with Margot, "Queen of the Apaches", and her partner-in-crime Merode.
The thing wouldn’t have happened if any other constable than Collins had been put on point duty at Blackfriars Bridge that morning. For Collins was young, good-looking, and knew it. Nature had gifted him with a susceptible heart and a fond eye for the beauties of femininity. So when he looked round and saw the woman threading her way through the maze of vehicles at “Dead Man’s Corner,” with her skirt held up just enough to show two twinkling little feet in French shoes, and over them a graceful, willowy figure, and over that an enchanting, if rather too highly tinted, face, with almond eyes and a fluff of shining hair under the screen of a big Parisian hat—that did for him on the spot.
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