Twenty-Five Years of Detective Life by Jerome Caminada
An inspiration behind Sherlock Holmes, Jerome Caminada (1844-1914) was probably the most well-known detective in late Victorian England. Living in Manchester his whole life, he grew up in Deansgate, notorious for its brothels and beerhouses. He joined the police in 1868 and later became Manchester's first detective superintendent. Known for his unorthodox, eccentric methods, he regularly donned disguises and once hid inside a grand piano in order to catch a thief. Despite being responsible for imprisoning over 1,000 criminals, Caminada was perhaps progressive in his belief that punishment 'strengthens evil propensities, prevents repentance and renders reform impossible'. Peopled with characters such as 'Cabbage Ann', 'Bodger' and 'One Armed Kitty', this autobiography, first published in 1895, paints an extremely vivid picture of a seedy, dilapidated and dangerous Victorian city and its criminal underworld.