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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

MCLEAVY!

MCLEAVY!

THESE TOP NOTCH AUDIO DRAMAS FROM BBC 4 SURROUNDING INSPECTOR MCLEAVY, A TACITURN, VICTORIAN, EDINBURGH SLEUTH, HIS GIRLFRIEND BROTHEL OWNER JEAN BRASH, AND HIS SIDEKICK CONSTABLE MULHOLLAND, ARE A JOY. ORIGINALLY BRAODCAST FROM 1999 TO 2006, GOOD WRITING, GOOD CASTING, AND GOOD DIRECTION MAKE THIS FORTY-FIVE MINUTE SHOW A MUST FOR YOUR BBC DOWNLOADER . . .

These stories are based on a real historical character. James McLevy was an Irishman who moved to Edinburgh, Scotland where he worked as a builder's labourer and then became a policeman in 1830. In 1833 he became a detective, rising to the rank of Police Detective Inspector in the Parish of Leith, Edinburgh. This real life policeman handled over 2200 cases during his 30 year career and it was said that he always secured a conviction.

In retirement during the 1860s he wrote his memoirs about criminals and the underclasses of Scotland's capital city. These case notes were then called Curiosities of Crime in Edinburgh, The Sliding Scale of Life and The Disclosures of a Detective. They are now published in the books McLevy: The Edinburgh Detective and McLevy Returns: Further Disclosures of the Edinburgh Detective.

They feature tales called The Blood-Stained Moleskin, The Ingenuity of Thieves and The Conjurer and his account of how he captured the Edinburgh body snatchers, Burke and Hare.

The books were very popular in Victorian times and are thought to have inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to write the Sherlock Holmes stories years later. A connection between Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and James McLevy is that McLevy sought forensic advice from members of the medical faculty at Edinburgh University, where Conan Doyle later studied.

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