I've just found this thriller from the 1920s, which contains one of the most wonderfully absurd, cliché-ridden pieces of prose that I've ever read:
Episode I - The Voice on the 'Phone
"WELL, that's that! Now the devil himself couldn't get those diamonds," exclaimed Sir Allen Dunn emphatically.
"Except, perhaps - Blackshirt!" replied Marshall with a grin.
"Blackshirt?" There was a rising inflection in Sir Allen's voice. "Sounds to me like a Fascist!"
Marshall smiled. "You are on the wrong track, I am afraid , sir, for whereas the Fascisti stand for law and order, Blackshirt is responsible for many mysterious affairs which are decidedly against the law."
"Say rather a super-criminal."
"A super-criminal - bah! It is all tommy-rot, this 'super' business. Beside, no criminal can stand up long against the long and very strong arm of the law. I am surprised that you, a detective, should spin me such a tale.No one can be 'super' Marshall, no one. A fairy story! The only 'supers' are in the theatrical profession, and they are the very antithesis of the meaning, otherwise they would be leading men and women instead of in the chorus." Sir Allen laughed at his own humour.
"Let me assure you, once and for all, Sir Allen, that I was not exaggerating in the slightest degree; I may have even been too modest.
Sir Allen's forehead wrinkled in a puzzled frown, whilst his lips puckered at the corners of his mouth, a mute testimony of his incredulity. "What, and who, then, is this - er - Blackshirt?"
Marshall abstractedly pulled his pipe and pouch from his pocket. Unconsciously he filled up and applied a match to the tobacco, meanwhile settling himself more comfortably in his chair.
"Your first question, Sir Allen, has already been answered. Blackshirt is a criminal, a man who, it is believed, moves in Society circles and is the intimate of Society people. It is assumed that by day he lives the life of a well-to-do gentleman. When night falls, however, the tale is different. He becomes a nighthawk, a crook, an audacious burglar."
I particularly like the line "no criminal can stand up long against the long and very strong arm of the law".