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1861 Curiosities of Crime in Edinburgh : James M'Levy : Scotland Detective : True Crime

1861 Curiosities of Crime in Edinburgh : James M'Levy : Scotland Detective : True Crime

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Curiosities of Crime in Edinburgh During the Last Thirty Years

By James M'Levy

Published by William Kay, Edinburgh, 1861. This Edinburgh imprint went through at least four editions in 1861. All are scarce! Hardback, 8vo, original printed boards, recent cloth spine added and new endpapers. pp xvi, 304. Illustrated with a frontispiece portrait of James M'Levy.


A good copy of this very scarce title. The original boards are good with the usual rubbing to the surface. The book has been rebound at some point in the past with a new cloth spine and new endpapers. The text block is complete and in very good clean condition throughout. Overall a scarce little book in good condition.

Collected tales of crime by Edinburgh's legendary first police detective, famous for his high rate of captures and convictions over an illustrious 30-year career before turning his hand to these memoir-adventures. Vigorous, brisk, allegedly true, full of colorful dialogue and moralizing asides, McLevy's literary work was extraordinarily popular, and the author's personal celebrity persists to the present day, continuing to inspire heroizing adaptations of his life and work (most recently, the long-running BBC radio series "McLevy").

The direct inspiration for contemporary imitators like William Crawford Honeyman, who took McLevy as model for his fictional Detective McGovan in the 1870s, McLevy is also cited as a likely influence on Arthur Conan Doyle, born in Edinburgh shortly before the publication of these volumes. As author-protagonist, McLevy shares with Sherlock Holmes a certain relentlessness and confidence, though the essential differences between the two point to the powerful tensions still animating the detective novel. As an agent of the law, with all the authority of the police force behind him, McLevy is both groundbreaking pioneer and conservative force: the first to hold his office in Edinburgh, inventing his profession as he goes, while simultaneously acting as the eye and the arm of the Establishment. Against this righteous folk hero, the figure of Holmes would later appear as an ambiguous counterpoint: a private genius free to choose his own clients and his own loyalties.

(Loc: Glass cabinet no 1 )

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