It seems that by the mid-nineteenth century a criminographical floodgate had been opened. The popularity of the Waters stories and Dickens’s ‘Detective’ Anecdotes of 1850–1853 led to a flourishing sub-literary culture of fictional detective reminiscences. There was a proliferation of texts concerned with detection which continued into the 1860s, and which appeared in the periodicals and increasingly in the form of the cheaply produced and priced books that came to be called ‘yellow-backs’ because of their distinctive covers. The relatively low cost (sixpence) of what might be termed the Victorian equivalent of the modern paperback was calculated to appeal to the readers of the periodicals that had first brought the sub-genre to the reading public, that is, to the literate middle class. Waters’s successors included Russell’s later creation, Inspector F, in Experiences of a Real Detective (1862) and his Autobiography of an English Detective (1863); the Diary of an Ex-Detective (1859), supposedly edited by Charles Martel (the pseudonym of the author, Thomas Delf), and its sequel, The Detective’s Notebook (1860); and Robert Curtis’s The Irish Police Officer (1861). There was also the pseudonymous Andrew Forrester Jnr, whose contributions included Revelations of a Private Detective (1863), and Secret Service, or Recollections of a City Detective (1864).


Reading Public Real Detective Detective Story Distinctive Cover Fictional Detective 
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  1. 1.
    Stephen Knight, Crime Fiction 1800–2000: Detection, Death, Diversity (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), p. 36.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    James McLevy, Curiosities of Crime in Edinburgh (Edinburgh: William P. Nimmo, 1861), and The Sliding Scale of Life: or, Thirty Years’ Observations of Falling Men and Women in Edinburgh (Edinburgh: William P. Nimmo, 1861) and simultaneously (London: Houlston and Wright, 1861).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Cited in R. F. Stewart, … And Always a Detective: Chapters on the History of Detective Fiction (Newton Abbot: David and Charles, 1980), p. 159.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Arthur Conan Doyle, Memories and Adventures (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989 [1924]), pp. 74–75.Google Scholar

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© Heather Worthington 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heather Worthington
    • 1
  1. 1.Cardiff UniversityUK

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