'Paddington' Pollaky, Private Detective: The Mysterious Life and Times of the Real Sherlock Holmes

'Paddington' Pollaky, Private Detective: The Mysterious Life and Times of the Real Sherlock Holmes

Bryan Kesselman

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: 0750959746

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Who was the Victorian super-sleuth ‘Paddington’ Pollaky? In reality, he was a contradiction: a man of mystery who tried to keep out of the limelight, while at times he craved recognition and publicity. He was a busybody, a meddler, yet someone whose heart was ultimately in the right place. Newspaper accounts detail his work as a private detective in London, his association with The Society for the Protection of Young Females, his foiling of those involved in sex-trafficking, and of his tracking down of abducted children. Themes that remain relevant in the twenty-first century. What was his involvement in the American Civil War? Why did he place cryptic messages in the agony column of The Times? And why were the newspapers so interested in this Hungarian detective and adventurer while the police thoroughly disapproved of him? In this first biography of this complex character, author Bryan Kesselman answers these questions, and examines whether it was Pollaky who provided the inspiration for the literary greats Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes.



















fit I will continue my surveillance until You are in receipt of an answer from Washington, which will settle any further question – but You must remit funds and remain in constant direct Communication with me as Mr M— appears to be dans l’embaras [sic], what to do, even in the case that something good turns up. [Dans l’embarras: embarrassed.] Finally, he writes that Sanford’s presence ‘for a few days only would be highly beneficial’. HSS.139.14.7. Pollaky to Sanford A description of the

watching at 7.40 a/m at 58 Jermyn St Piccadilly. Postman delivered 2 letters for Major Anderson one for Major Gore (all from Liverpool) Major Gore is as I learned only lately arrived in England. � past 9 Saw Gentl go to 58. White hat, mourning band on hat, light cape [...] and moustache also black beard, remained in about 10 minutes; went across to Messrs Isaacs & Campbells the Army & Navy Outfitters (I have not seen this man before). Major Anderson, Major Gore, Capt Blackley, Capt Huse & Lieut

threaten him including Lomax, who we shall meet in this chapter. Between 1862 and 1884 when he retired, Pollaky worked on numerous cases as a self-employed private investigator. Many were reported in the press, or can be deduced from his communications in the ‘Agony Column’ of The Times. The ‘Agony Column’ was the nickname for what was officially called the ‘Second Column’. To avoid confusion, it will be referred to as the ‘Agony Column’ from here on. Many different papers from New York to

characters we might add among other lesser known people written about by Charles Dickens not only Joseph Grimaldi, the actor and clown whose memoirs Dickens wrote, but also Ignatius Pollaky; their names seem to have as much to recommend them as Mr Micawber, Miss Haversham, Mr Bumble, and Jarndyce and Jarndyce. Finally, although Field’s name is also mentioned in the article, it is Pollaky who gets the brunt of the criticism – after all, Field was a friend, and Dickens had already written about him

less than no time’, as he forcibly expressed it. I grieve to tell you that he has discovered her to be mean, vindictive, and barbarous to a degree you will hardly credit. But I will give you the painful particulars, as Mr Pollaky has just been here: his head and shoulders were covered with earth, and he was altogether so shaken and confused that I had some little difficulty in making out his story, which was as follows: It appears that he got into the garden behind the “Retreat” (your friend’s

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