As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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‘The Peculiar Case of the Electronic Constable’ by Carol Baxter
Published by Oneworld Publications, 5
September 2013. ISBN: 978-1-78074-243-4
The apprehending of Dr.
Crippen through the sending of messages to alert the authorities of his
presence on a ship to America
in 1910 was not the first notable use of the electric telegraph to alert the
authorities to the arrival of a potential criminal. This is a nonfiction work
which deals with the story of Quaker John Tawell and a murder in 1845. The
story begins in 1845 with the receiving of a message via the Electric Constable
(as the telegraph was known) at Paddington Station from Slough which told of a
murder just committed at Salt Hill and a suspect who had caught the train to London.
The investigation into the crime and the trial of the
suspect is given very thorough coverage by Carol Baxter who looks at events in
Australia as well as in England. There are lots of fascinating facts here, for
example the ability of a convict to return from transportation a rich man and
the establishment of a patent for and an active telegraph in London before Morse set up an American
There are new developments in forensic pathology as doctors
and scientists strive to find tests for poisons. What does not show any change
is the perennial interest of the populace in murder trials from the crush of
people attempting to enter the trial room to the enthusiasm to attend a
This story holds the reader's interest as the investigation
and trial proceed.
The historical research required to find the material is impressive as the
lengthy bibliography shows. This is indeed as the title page states 'a true
tale of Passion, Poison and Pursuit.' ------
Reviewer: Jennifer S Palmer
Carol Baxteris a
prize-winning author of three popular histories, writing about previous investigations
of real life crimes. She lives in Sydney.
Jennifer Palmer Throughout
my reading life crime fiction has been a constant interest; I really enjoyed my
15 years as an expatriate in the Far East, the Netherlands & the USA but
occasionally the solace of closing my door to the outside world and sitting
reading was highly therapeutic. I now lecture to adults on historical topics
including Famous Historical Mysteries.