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The Ascent of the Detective: Police Sleuths in Victorian and Edwardian England

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9780199577408: The Ascent of the Detective: Police Sleuths in Victorian and Edwardian England
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The figure of the detective has long excited the imagination of the wider public, and the English police detective has been a special focus of attention in both print and visual media. Yet, while much has been written in the last three decades about the history of uniformed policemen in England, no similar work has focused on police detectives. The Ascent of the Detective redresses this by exploring the diverse and often arcane world of English police detectives during the formative period of their profession, from 1842 until the First World War, with special emphasis on the famed detective branch established at Scotland Yard. The book starts by illuminating the detectives' socioeconomic background, how and why they became detectives, their working conditions, the differences between them and uniformed policemen, and their relations with the wider community. It then goes on to trace the factors that shaped their changing public image, from the embodiment of 'un-English' values to plebeian knights in armour, investigating the complex and symbiotic exchange between detectives and journalists, and analysing their image as it unfolded in the press, in literature, and in their own memoirs.

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Review:

... fine and eminently readable book. (Bernard Porter, The Guardian)

This is a valuable addition to the growing body of scholarship on the history of Victorian crime. It does what historical enquiry surely should always do: raises important questions about how the present has the configuration we perceive, and why we have that perception. (Stephen Wade, Times Higher Education)

[An] absorbing work (Frank R Crowe, Journal of the Law Society of Scotland)

About the Author:

Haia Shpayer-Makov currently teaches British and European history at the University of Haifa, Israel. She began her academic career by concentrating on the anarchist movement in Britain, but later shifted her interest to the study of the anarchists' enemies - policemen. Author of The Making of a Policeman. A Social History of a Labour Force in Metropolitan London (2002), and co-editor with Professor Clive Emsley of Police Detectives in History, 1750-1950 (2006), she has also published extensively in leading scholarly journals.

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