House of Mystery Radio/Inside Writing
ADAM WOOD - SWANSON VICTORIAN DETECTIVE
Donald Sutherland Swanson was born in the remote far north of Scotland, leaving for London in 1867 at the age of 19 and initially working as a City clerk.
The following year he joined the Metropolitan Police and began patrolling the streets of the capital as a uniformed constable. 35 years later he retired as Superintendent of the Criminal Investigation Department, the top detective in the country.
Set against the backdrop of the developing Metropolitan Police, this book tells the story of a life and career which included railway murderers, grave robbers, fraudulent mediums, Jack the Ripper, the Philosopher’s Stone, Fenian dynamite campaigns, shocking revelations about the aristocracy and a crazed captain with sea serpents in a bottle.
Linking it all together is Donald Swanson, whose application letter to the Metropolitan Police spoke of a desire for “a good opening”. After reading his story, the reader will be left in little doubt that he made the most of the opportunities which came his way.