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The Big Read: Rogue's Gallery

Learn more about "Detective McLevy's Casebook" and the #NapierBigRead
Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums

Jean Brash

"But I have had enough experience of Jean to enable me to say that she was the most "organic thief" of my time."

-"The Ingenuity of Thieves" p. 13


Elizabeth "Lizzie" Gorman

"Strange perversity of the human heart! I felt a jealousy of the snab. He was unworthy of such perfection. The bride must be mine at all hazards, even if I should be obliged to renounce my beauty to the superior claims of the Colonial Secretary."

- "The Orange Blossom" p. 22

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums

Elizabeth Jackson, Mr Gardener, & Matilda Jerome

"I suspect, however, that what we here sometimes call happiness, is only a kind of accommodation of misery. Thus they take the sign for the thing; and when they are roaring over the tankard, they think they are enjoying themselves. Perhaps they have more of the real thing in the hardness of the their rebellion; for I think I have read somewhere, that man (and woman too, I suspect) is such a strange being that he can feel pleasure in the very spite of pleasure. I can't say I would relish that happiness very much."

- "The Half Crowns" p. 45

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums

David "The Bolter" Howie

"David Howie, originally belonging to North Leith, was famous about 1836, chiefly for his escapes by bolting... We repeatedly were within arm's-length of him, but his recklessness in leaps fro windows, his speed, and confidence in the qualities, enabled him to baulk us oftener than any man I have known."

- "The Whisper" pp. 47-48

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums

Mr Gardener

"There was no doubt of Gardener's guit, yet it was viewed as a strange case, altogether without precedent. The magistrate said that 'there really was no substantial evidence against the man upon which he could be charged.'"

- "The Ash-Backet" p. 67

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums

George Kerr

"The fellow absolutely ground his teeth against each other till I heard the very rasping; a scowl sat on his low brow, so demonic that if I had not been accustomed to such looks it might have made me recoil; and I believe if he had...any other poker, he would have tried his skill at laying open heads on my cranium."

- "The Blood-Stained Moleskin" p. 77

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums

William Brash

"Nor did I take any notice of the change, that like a flash, came over his countenance. He was a ruddy, healthy fellow, new from a voyage, and had not yet taken on the close-colour, but he was in an instant pale enough to satisfy even Despair herself."

- "The Belfast Key" p. 92

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums

The Peebles Pedlar

"'Drunkeness is a very good handcuffing itself, though I never saw the instrument I have heard so much of, nor would I like to deserve it. But, man,' he continued, after a pause, during which he perhaps thought he did deserve the application of the check, and maybe shook a little at the prospect of feeling, 'what are handcuffs - what like are they? Could a strong man not snap them?'"

- "The Handcuffs" p. 101

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums

The Schoolmaster of Bo'ness

"I am only a humble instrument for discovering the secret ways of man's wickedness... But every man to his trade - shoemaker, poet, judge, and last - excuse me - the ferreter out of evil. It is easy to "charge" on such labours as mine, - easy to pronounce the word guilty, as proved by them, - easy to hang, as a consequence of them; and yet no man has less reason to complain than I myself."

- "The Conjuror" p. 114

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums

Charles Holmes and Angus McKay

"Perhaps the pleasure of that condition called incognito - into which, I rather suspect, all men and women, when their eyes have been glared upon by the disturbing sun of curiosity or notoriety, love to glide - was equal on both sides. Ay, where is the man and woman without their occasional mask?"

- "The Swan" p. 122

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums

John Ferguson and William Ferguson

"I have often found that Edinburgh thieves, when disturbed in their sweet security, make, like the deer, for the water, - not to swim... but as a means to get away... Somehow they think policemen don't cross waters, - loving rather to search on dry land, after the maners of the bloodhounds, which are always at fault in lochs and streams."

- "The Hayseeds" pp. 135-136

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums

Mr Taylor

"And so, under our necessity, we went to the house of our honest man, which we erer not long in finding; neither were we long in discovering the goods. Laying my hand upon them, as they were yet warm, as it were, from the fevered hand of guilt."

- "The Look-Out" p. 149