Book Review – The Real Sherlock Holmes, The Hidden Story of Jerome Caminada



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.

Book Review – Life in the Victorian Kitchen, Culinary Secrets and Servants Stories



It has been said that an army marches on its stomach, the kitchen is the heart of the home, and that nations can be judged by their cuisine. The Victorians were at a turning point in the preparation of British food. The author has provided a comprehensive review of the Victorian kitchen and how it was supported, painting a vivid picture of Victorian life and complementing the range of Victorian themed books produced by the publisher. This is a delightful account of the part food played in Victorian life and contains many surprises for most readers.

Book Review – Whitechapel’s Sherlock Holmes, The Casebook of Fred Wensley OBE KPM Victorian Crime Buster



Fred Wensley was the son of a Somerset gardener who travelled London and joined the Metropolitan Police in 1888 and retired 41 years later as Chief Constable of Detectives. His life as a policeman was extraordinary and has been captured very ably in this book. There are some very helpful photo plate sections and this is a most informative book, not just in recounting and extraordinary life, but is exposing the state and development of policing into the forensically driven industry that it is today.

Wensley received the first Police medal to be awarded, was appointed OBE and dubbed “The Greatest Detective of All Time”. The author has brought to life this exceptional policeman in a very readable book.

Book Review – What’s Tha Up To This Time, More Memories of a Sheffield Bobby



This third volume in the series continues the stories of policing in the 1960s and 1970s. There is humour and nostalgia. This is the period when British policing began to experience major change. As a social history and an account of historic policing, this is a book not to miss.

Book Review – Life in the Victorian Asylum, The World of Nineteenth Century Mental Health Care



A thoughtful and provoking book that provides a detailed account of Victorian Mental Health care. It is also in part a depressing story because it shows how little mental health care has advanced over the last hundred years or so. This really is a book that everyone should read because everyone is potentially at risk, or has friends and family who develop mental health conditions. The mark of a truly civilized society is the support and care provided to the old, the sick and the vulnerable, to enable them to live with their difficulties. It is very easy to build a large bureaucratic organization that spends money like water, but fails to deliver the standard of care that is due and deserved.

Book Review – Terror Attack Brighton, Blowing Up the Iron Lady



This is an exciting story that examines all of the many angles of what was a shocking attack on British Government. The author has looked at how close the attack came to killing more people, including the Prime Minister. The Bomber’s own reflection is included, together with any effect the attack may or may not have had on the subsequent peace talks. There is a well presented account of the bravery of rescuers and victims in the rescue and recovery at the Grand Hotel. This is a workmanlike review of an event that has received less attention than it deserves. High recommended.

Book Review – Warriors on Horseback, The Inside Story of the Professional Jockey



This is a very interesting look at the professional jockey and the fiercely competitive sport of horse racing. The title is also interesting in that it refers to the modern equestrian competition but also highlights the origins of the sport. As with many sports, it dates back into ancient history when ‘games’ were rallies of warriors who were demonstrating their abilities that were deployed on the field of battle. A group of warriors could demonstrate their superiority and convince others that they could not be resisted, so avoiding an actual armed conflict. There are many images through the body of the book and a full colour photo plate section. A must for all those followers of racing, but a great read that will hold the attention of a wider readership.