If you enjoyed my previous classic crime tale “The Murder Hole,” then here’s another sinister inn story for you! This one comes from the ultra prolific Scottish historical novelist and travel writer Charles Macfarlane.
Among the many, many tomes that Macfarlane produced, one of the more fun ones is The Lives and Exploits of Banditti and Robbers in All Parts of the World, which first appeared in two volumes in 1833. This particular tale tells the adventure of a Hungarian horse dealer, returning home from a successful and profitable business trip to Vienna. Just past the Hungarian border, he stops off for the night at a respectable-looking inn.
The host then inquired what business had carried him to Vienna. He told them he had been there to sell some of the best horses that were ever taken to that market. When he heard this, the host cast a glance at one of the men of the family who seemed to be his son, which the dealer scarcely observed then, but which he had reason to recall afterwards.
Not so respectable an inn, after all.
As in “The Murder Hole,” our protagonist gets away — but just barely, thanks to a rather cruel twist of fate.
And if you want more, here’s both volumes of The Lives and Exploits of Banditti and Robbers in one. I don’t like the illustrations in this 1837 edition as much as the ones in the 1833 volumes, but it’s readable, and certainly more convenient.
Part of the Classic Crime series.
Illustration: Hungarian Robbers, from The Lives and Exploits of Banditti and Robbers in All Parts of the World, Volume II (1833). Source: Internet Archive