Manchester, Review

Book Review: The Real Sherlock Holmes: The Hidden Story of Jerome Caminada

Off 26

Humanity Hallows Issue 6 Out Now
Pick up your copy on campus or read online


By Jacqueline Grima


In January 1899, the Superintendent of the Manchester Police Force announced his retirement, his police career having spanned an impressive 31 years and The Evening Telegraph describing him as ‘one of the most noted detectives of the country.’ His work in cleaning up the crime-ridden streets of Manchester had also been recognised by the Postmaster General and the Duke of Norfolk.

The superintendent in question was Jerome Caminada, a now legendary ‘Victorian Supersleuth’ who, during his career, became notorious for the tricks he used to catch criminals. Both in his lifetime and after, Caminada was often compared to Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes.

In The Real Sherlock Holmes: The Hidden Story of Jerome Caminada, Angela Buckley takes us into the dark and grim streets of Victorian Manchester where she follows Caminada as he climbs the ranks of the city’s police force, joining as a 23-year-old constable in 1868.

The book tells of Caminada’s humble beginnings as the son of an Italian immigrant, in a city where the life expectancy of the working class was a shocking 18. His family life blighted by tragedies such as the premature deaths of various siblings, the alcoholism of his brother and the impact of syphilis on his mother, Caminada used his time in the police force to not only improve the lives of his fellow Manchester residents but also his own.

In such a time of poverty, many individuals turned to crime and, after he joined the police, it was Caminada’s job to ensure the law was upheld and the streets of Manchester kept safe. Cases that Caminada tackled, and solved, during his career included The Manchester Cab Mystery, the case of the infamous Birmingham Forger and many incidents involving so-called Quack Doctors. A master of disguise, the detective also foiled many criminal plots in other areas of the country, including apprehending a gang of pickpockets at the Grand National in a guise ‘so convincing it even deceived his own chief constable.’ His talent for going undercover obviously standing him in good stead, it is also revealed that for many years, Caminada worked for Special Branch, carrying out top secret missions and taking his instructions directly from the Home Office.

Buckley’s descriptions of the Manchester streets – including Deansgate, St Ann’s Square and the then ‘Little Ireland’ (now Oxford Road Station) – are vivid and detailed. Indeed, anyone familiar with the city can walk Caminada’s beat alongside him, as he polices the many illegal drinking dens, gin joints and houses of ill repute that then occupied the city. An experienced historian whose work has featured in The Times and The Telegraph, Angela Buckley brings 19th century Manchester very much to life in this book and The Hidden Story of Jerome Caminada is a must read for all true-crime fans.

The book is available to buy from Pen and Sword and Amazon.

About the author / 

Jacqueline Grima
Jacqueline Grima

Jacqueline Grima is currently in her third year of an MA in Creative Writing at the Manchester Writing School. Her creative work has appeared in The Literary Commune and on Jacqui Bennett Writers’ Bureau, Single Feather and Literally Stories websites. Her first novel will be released in 2018 with Manatee Books. Follow her on Twitter @GrimaJgrima

More News Stories:

  • Classical Archives: Behind Holst – The Planets

    In our Classical Archives series, Bronwyn Riseley looks at composer Gustav Holst’s 1914-16 orchestral suite The Planets By Bronwyn Riseley The Planets, Op. 32: I. Mars, the Bringer of War This composition may seem familiar if you’ve watched films such as Star Wars or Gladiator (we’ll call it heavy inspiration), but this is the origin…

  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Trailer: 65 million years in the making

    By Pruthvi Khilosia Film fan excitement went viral when the trailer for the next chapter in the Jurassic series, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, was finally released on Friday. This is something that fans all around the world have been waiting for since the release of the fourth film Jurassic World in 2015. A fourteen year wait…

  • #HumanityHallowsMCR: WIN £100 Voucher with Student Photography Competition

    Featured image: Assan Begimov Are you a Manchester Met student and photography enthusiast? Do you love the city of Manchester as much as we do? If so, then this is the competition for you! Humanity Hallows, Manchester Met’s student magazine, is running a photography competition with the theme of ‘Manchester’. To take advantage of this fantastic opportunity…

  • The Charlatans @ Manchester Apollo

    Touring new album, Different Days, The Charlatans are back and showing that there is plenty of life in them yet! By Sam Gosling “It’s good to be back”, announced frontman Tim Burgess as the indie legends took to the stage. Burgess and co. open with ‘Just When You’re Thinkin’ Things Over’ from their early self-titled album. The Manchester crowd…

Instagram Feed

1
Something is wrong. Response takes too long or there is JS error. Press Ctrl+Shift+J or Cmd+Shift+J on a Mac.

Categories