The First Detective by James Morton
The Life and Revolutionary Times of Vidocq: Criminal, Spy and Private Eye

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Eugene François Vidocq was born in France in 1775 and his life spanned the French Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars and the 1848 revolutions. He was the Inspector Morse, the Sherlock Holmes, the James Bond of his day.

A notorious criminal in his youth, he became a police officer and employed a gang of ex-convicts as his detectives. He developed innovative criminal indexing techniques and experimented with fingerprinting, until his cavalier attitude towards the thin blue line forced him out of the police. So he began the world’s very first private detective agency.

The cases he solved were high profile, and gradually he grew in notoriety. However, his reputation didn’t prevent him from becoming a spy and moving secretly across the dangerous borders of Europe. The First Detective is a gloriously enjoyable historical romp through the eighteenth century in the company of the man whose influence on law enforcement still holds to this day.

About James Morton

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Published March 30, 2005 by Ebury Pr. 340 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, Crime, War, Political & Social Sciences, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

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Former lawyer turned proficient crime writer Morton (Gangland Soho, 2008, etc.) finds an irresistible subject in Eugène-François Vidocq (1775–1857), who discovered his lucrative calling as a prison informer and founder of the first detective agency in Paris in the 1830s.

Jul 01 2011 | Read Full Review of The First Detective: The Life...

Review (Barnes & Noble)

But in the early modern era there was still a place for the rake and the roué--a place Vidocq filled with imagination and cunning.

Jul 05 2011 | Read Full Review of The First Detective: The Life...

City Book Review

An impressively exhaustive examination, The First Detective is a slow read, with a few lengthy tangents (the Lyons Mail and criminal friends chapters especially).

Sep 11 2011 | Read Full Review of The First Detective: The Life...


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