Detective Piggott’s Casebook: True Tales of Murder, Madness and the Rise of Forensic Science

Kevin Morgan

Detective Piggott's Casebook: True Tales of Murder, Madness and the Rise of Forensic Science
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Detective Piggott’s Casebook: True Tales of Murder, Madness and the Rise of Forensic Science

Kevin Morgan

Welcome to hell, a world at war. The streets of Melbourne no longer a tidy grid but fractured with laneways like cracks in old varnish, a hotchpotch of chaos - of shanties and factories, woodpiles and chimneys - the city smouldering under its bludgeoned sky. Here, crime flourishes, the damaged fester and the wicked plot: a circle of the damned into which strides Frederick Piggott - enforcer of the King’s law. Detective Piggott’s Casebook presents for the first time the riveting inside facts on nine of the most important Victoria Police investigations of the early 20th century, drawing on the long-hidden personal papers of forensic pioneer, Frederick Piggott (1874-1962). Likened by his contemporaries to Sherlock Holmes, Piggott’s investigations - conducted in the shadow and aftermath of World War I - covered the state’s most gruesome and mysterious crimes, including the notorious schoolgirl murders of Alma Tirtschke and Irene Tuckerman, and the horrific `headless boy' and `Yarra baby killer' cases. These uncensored accounts expose the graphic and often perplexing nature of the period’s criminal investigation work and point to the dawn of a new era in Australian crime detection - the rise of forensic science.

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