Joan Lock

Scotland Yard's First Cases

Scotland Yard's First Case cover

First published in the UK hardback Hale in 2011

When Scotland Yard's first detective branch was set up in 1842 the favoured murder weapon was the cut-throat razor; carrying a pocket watch was dangerous; the most significant clue at a murder scene might be the whereabouts of a candle or a hat; large households (family, servants and lodgers) complicated many a case, and servants sometimes murdered their masters.

Detectives had few aids and suffered many disadvantages. The bloody handprints found at two early murder scenes were of no help, there being no way of telling whether blood (or hair) was human or animal. Fingerprinting was fifty years away, DNA profiling another hundred and photography was too new to help with identification.

In spite of these handicaps and severe press criticism, the detectives achieved some significant successes. Charles Dickens said that Scotland Yard detectives gave the impression of leading lives of strong mental excitement. Readers of this book will understand why...


Amazon *****

An excellent book

'. . . this is much more than a book about famous murders -  she also covers far more of the complete range of cases such as fraud . . . giving a better picture of the development of the detectives and the CID in the 19th century Metropolitan Police than any other book I have read.' Alan Moss, 2012

'. . . a genuinely accurate picture of crime and detection in London, and sometimes beyond the Capital, during the Nineteenth Century. Joan writes in a very readable fashion, bringing out other aspects of people's lives drawing on a good knowledge of social history and technical developments.' Oaktree, 2012

'Thorough account of important early cases.' BJ Rahn, 2014