Max Adeler was the nom de plume of the American writer and humorist Charles Heber Clark (1841 - 1915). His tale A Desperate Adventure begins thus: "WANTED, four persons who are bent upon committing suicide, to engage in a hazardous adventure. Apply etc. to Captain Cowgill, No. 1, Blank Street after nine o'clock in the morning." From the applicants, Captain Cowgill selects three men and one young lady for a most unusual and bizarre quest...which ends in quite a different way to how any of the participants imagine.