The Matilda Hunter Murder (The Tuddleton Trotter Mysteries, Vol. 1), by Harry Stephen Keeler (epub/Kindle/pdf)
It all began with a mysterious black satchel stitched closed with silver wire. Mrs. Matilda Hunter, Jerry Evans’ landlady, finds the satchel and leaves it in his room -- and then is heinously murdered. Before long, Jerry finds out about the contents of the satchel -- a device known as the Michaux Death Ray -- and he's off on an odyssey!
"My guiltiest pleasure is Harry Stephen Keeler. He may been the greatest bad writer America has ever produced. Or perhaps the worst great writer. I do not know. There are few faults you can accuse him of that he is not guilty of. But I love him." -- Neil Gaiman