After going on a guided walk around Manchester looking at places mentioned in this book I decided to buy the book for myself. Found it very interesting, an easy read written by the detective himself. Found out a great deal about Victorian Manchester and how they policed the area and the types of people who lived there!
I first heard about Jerome Caminada through my dad talking about him, Caminada being a touchstone for cunning and nous in Manchester decades after his retirement from the police. Reading this all too brief selection of the detective's memoirs, it's strange to see a technique that is so far either from Holmesian deductions or forensic analysis, yet was eminently practical and effective. Caminada's primary strength was that he seemed to know every criminal, major or petty, in the city. Given a description, even a poor one, and the hint of an MO, was enough to set Caminada off on the trail.
The other main actor in the memoirs is the city of Manchester itself. Through a myriad of novels, films, and TV series, we have a very good sense of what Victorian London was like, but the rest of the country is far more obscure. Manchester was the first industrial city and developed some huge stews as a result, people living in densities we might find hard to credit today. Crime was rampant as a result, much of it violent. It's strange reading of perfectly respectable parts of the modern city revealed as thieve's kitchens barely over a century ago, of pitched fights in pub saloon bars between detectives and criminals, and of an occasionally laissez-faire approach to law enforcement where it's almost like a game in a schoolyard. I'm thinking especially of a notorious burglar in whom the police seemed to lose interest if he managed to escape the scene of the crime and get back to his house. They knew where he lived, but apparently regarded it as unsporting to arrest him there. Strange.
In short, this is an interesting read if you're curious about early detective work, or the secret life of a Victorian city that isn't London for a change.
I love this genre of Victorian detectives real life tales in print. This was an entertaining collection of short stories. I might be a bit biased (being from Edinburgh) but I really think that inspector mclevy has the edge on inspector caminada (with a Manchester backdrop). Still, a good read and a bargain price.
Deeply fascinating! It's the abridged version of Caminada's full memoirs and it does make me want to read more. The editors have chosen the most interesting stories and obviously slimmed them down to a modern audience's taste, but they have kept a delightful Victorian feeling. For the price, this book is well worth a look if you are interested in mysteries, or history.
I loved this book (Kindle) I had no expectations and had read no reviews, I was just looking for something to read. I'm not sure how much of the English has been changed for a 21st century audience but once I started to read I thought this wasn't written by a Victorian. I wish I knew if it was Jeromes writing or the Author editing it for a 21st century reader.
As a Family historian I loved all of the aliases that the underworld used and the terms used for different types of crimes.
It's an easy read and some cases leave you wanting more information.
Jerome Caminada would be worth his weight in gold if he was around now, he knew a lot of criminals and how they operated. He seemed to work alone but there was always at least one Beat Policeman within shouting distance, if he had to await assistance to make an arrest now, this book would never have been written.