The Real Sherlock Holmes, The Hidden Story of Jerome Caminada

B2186

The author has had many articles published on the topics of family history and discovered Caminada during her research into her own family history. This has resulted in a book that is highly descriptive of life and crime in Manchester in the last three decades of the 19th Century. It is a gripping tale of one extraordinary detective in his attempts to clean up the Manchester underworld. The book will appeal strongly to all those interested in tracing their roots and in past social structures, but it provides a highly entertaining and informative insight into crime and crime fighting. The purist may baulk at the ‘real Sherlock Holmes’ connection because Holmes was a creation seen from an early forensic scientist’s perspective. It laid this view alongside the Victorian interest in ‘detecting’, whereas Caminada is a Victorian policeman who used determination and ‘modern’ techniques to achieve success in fighting real crime and real criminals in the grimy conditions of a major late Victorian city that had experienced large numbers of immigrants who combined with rural Britons drawn from the land to the cities.

reviews.firetrench.com

brn.firetrench.com

bsd.firetrench.com

nthn.firetrench.com

ftd.firetrench.com

NAME: The Real Sherlock Holmes, The Hidden Story of Jerome Caminada
DATE: 200215
FILE: R22186
AUTHOR: Angela Buckley
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back
PAGES: 157
PRICE: £19.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT:
ISBN: 1-78159-269-1
IMAGE: B2186.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/orgh43r
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: The author has had many articles published on the topics of family history and discovered Caminada during her research into her own family history. This has resulted in a book that is highly descriptive of life and crime in Manchester in the last three decades of the 19th Century. It is a gripping tale of one extraordinary detective in his attempts to clean up the Manchester underworld. The book will appeal strongly to all those interested in tracing their roots and in past social structures, but it provides a highly entertaining and informative insight into crime and crime fighting. The purist may baulk at the ‘real Sherlock Holmes’ connection because Holmes was a creation seen from an early forensic scientist’s perspective. It laid this view alongside the Victorian interest in ‘detecting’, whereas Caminada is a Victorian policeman who used determination and ‘modern’ techniques to achieve success in fighting real crime and real criminals in the grimy conditions of a major late Victorian city that had experienced large numbers of immigrants who combined with rural Britons drawn from the land to the cities.

Caminada had to deal with all types of crime, from pickpockets and thieves, through con artists, cold-blooded killers, to organized crime and what would now be regarded as anti-terrorist duties. As a large and expanding city, Manchester attracted many of the worst criminals in society that saw poverty and high crime rates as the other side of the Industrial Revolution coin.

The engaging text is supported by a very interesting photo plate section that includes reproductions of sketches, adding further depth to the review of Caminada’s part in developing the art of detection.

The Preface sets the scene to the research project that led to the book. The Prologue then sets the scene in which the study of Caminada is set. The writing style lends a thread of entertainment by painting a high level of detail, more in the style of a novel, and this will engage readers who might not otherwise have started reading a history of real people. The reader is drawn into the fabric of the study, rather than just being presented with a number of facts, however engaging, in a strict chronological order.

In any study of British policing it can be challenging to present from one period of history. Policing goes back, with perhaps some breaks, to the time of the Roman occupation. The Medieval period saw an organized structure of watchmen in the towns and cities, these particularly being active as Night Watchmen. However, it was not until the mid 19th Century that formal police forces, broadly similar to modern police organizations, came into being. Sir Robert Peel is credited with the formation of the modern police force, but it might be more accurate to say that he was responsible for creating an organizational structure and uniform to make the purpose and composition of a police force easily recognizable. These early police forces continued to provide a very similar set of services to those provide by the Night Watch, walking defined beats and checking that doors were locked and that anyone abroad at night was investigated to be sure that the individual was not a criminal on the prowl. The duties of running down fugitives was conducted on a more uniform basis, but still followed the pioneering work of the Bow Street Runners.

The rapid social, financial, political and technological advances of the Railway Age and the urbanization of Britain demanded similarly rapid advancing of policing to deal with new levels of threat to society and order. However, police were still largely drawn from the working class areas where the differences between policeman and criminal could be very small. It was still a very physical job where a punch might be all that was required to stop a situation getting out of control. There was a high level of violence, but the use of firearms was low in a society that was armed and the policeman usually had no weapon other than a truncheon. The early police forces did have armouries and firearms were issued when there was an identified armed threat, mainly when revolutionaries had been cornered, rather than ordinary criminals.

Leave a Reply