Fancy hearing about some deadly plots and criminal crackpots? Then head over to the Dot Cafe, Rochester at 6.30pm on Monday 29 September to hear Angela Buckley talking about ‘Mad, Bad & Dangerous’ criminals. I’ve already got my ticket, don’t forget to grab yours!
I was thrilled to be invited to take part in the Rochester Literature Festival, especially as the theme of ‘Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know’ is perfect for sharing stories from Detective Caminada’s casebook. In his tireless fight against crime in the seedy underworld of 19th century Manchester, Jerome Caminada encountered many criminals, many of whom were seriously mad, bad and downright dangerous.
Early in his career, Caminada tackled the insidious and cunningly deceptive quack doctors who preyed on innocent people’s fears for their health within the fragile environment of diseases, such as cholera and typhoid, and a staggeringly short life expectancy of just 18 years. The worst of these charlatans was the Rev Edward Silverton, an expert conman who duped countless victims into buying his miraculous ‘Food of Foods’ in a desperate effort to improve their chances of survival.
Other bad and highly dangerous adversaries of the determined detective included the notorious ‘scuttlers’ (street fighters), who were completely ruthless and defended their ‘territory’ with a fierce loyalty that often descended into madness, as they clashed in terrifying battles with rival gangs. Caminada also faced bands of anarchists, many of whom became embroiled in violent clashes as they resisted arrest, and certainly not least of all, the Fenians, who threatened national security and put the population at serious risk.
At the height of his career and in his signature case, the Manchester Cab Mystery, Detective Caminada brought Charlie Parton to justice. Aged just 18 years old, he drugged his victims in an attempt to rob them and when he poisoned businessman, John Fletcher, Caminada tracked him down using all the brilliant powers of deduction of Sherlock Holmes.
However, in the 30 years of Jerome Caminada’s long career as a detective, one man stands out as the most dangerous of all: his lifelong rival and violent thief, Bob Horridge. He would stop at nothing to keep one step ahead of the police, which proved almost fatal, on many occasions, for Caminada and his colleagues. The arch enemies faced each other in a final confrontation, from which only one man could emerge alive.
I will be talking about the ‘mad, bad & dangerous’ criminals faced by Detective Caminada, at the Rochester Literature Festival at 6.30 pm on Monday 29 September 2014 at the Dot Café, Rochester. Please do come along!