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Four Square Jane. Four Square Jane was created by Edgar Wallace (Viola Beech, Brigand, Wireless Bryce, Felix Carfew, Dixon, Elegant Edward, Inspector Elk, Educated Evans, Dixon Hawke, Heine, Felix Jenks, Just Men, King Kong (I), Larry Loman, Superintendent Minter, Policy Sleuth, Oliver Rater, John G. Reeder, The Ringer, Sanders, York Symon, Tam o’the Scoots, Inspector Wade, Kate Westhanger) and appeared in nine stories in The Weekly News in 1919 and 1920, beginning with “Four Square Jane” (Weekly News, Dec. 13, 1919); the stories were collected in Four Square Jane (1929).
Four Square Jane is a clever career thief. She is a small, lithe, pretty black-haired woman in her early twenties. She always leaves a sticker behind at the scenes of her crimes, the sticker being a square with the letter “J” in the center. She has a rudimentary sense of justice and only preys on disagreeable men and women who, in some moral sense, deserve to be robbed. Jane keeps only the cash she steals and gives the rest–jewels and so on–away to medical charities.
Jane is pursued by Chief Superintendent Peter Dawes, an earnest young policeman who takes the job of finding and catching Jane with some reluctance, as he’s aware that she is more than a match for him. Eventually, after much frustration and leg-work, Dawes deduces Jane’s identity: she is Joyce Wilberforce, whose uncle left her a fortune, but with the condition that she must marry the man chosen by Lord Claythorpe, the pompous and overbearing trustee of the estate. Claythorpe instead stole a half million dollars from the estate, which enraged Wilberforce, who became “Four Square Jane” and targeted Claythorpe and his friends and family for revenge. Eventually Dawes goes to arrest Joyce Wilberforce, but she drugs him and with her sweetheart escapes to South America, taking with her half a million dollars stolen from Claythorpe.
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