In 1842 Scotland Yard set up the first detective branch. With very little to help in their pursuit of villains, the group was faced with a difficult task. Fingerprinting and DNA didn’t exist and there was no efficient means of communicating between one officer and another – let alone between different police forces.
Joan Lock has written widely on the highs and lows of those early detectives, and in this book she relates dozens of cases that challenged their investigative powers, including the first railway murder and the work of Jonathan Whicher (who later went on to investigate the murder at Road Hill House).
Though meticulously researched and packed with authentic detail, the book is an easy read and as entertaining as it’s possible to be when describing robberies, assaults and murders. A great read for anyone interested in the work of detectives from the mid-1800s up to the time of Jack the Ripper.