Hello again readers. A very nasty bout of the flu has kept me indoors for a while but my spirits were cheered after watching a very interesting documentary about the first murder on Englands Railways in Victorian Times. I already knew the background to this tale and knew it would be based on the book “Mr Brigg’s Hat” by Kate Colquhoun. This is a deeply researched crime thriller and similar in some ways to Kate Summerscale’s “Suspicions of Mr Whicher”, indeed if memory serves me correctly I think Kate Summerscale mentions this murder in her book. Both of these books are a source of inspiration for me, both authors have already blazed the trail I intend to follow. I love the attention to detail and the rigorous background research without which there simply would not be a story to tell. Both books are based on very real life murders.
The hour long program on BBC 2 on Thursday 21st February was also very unusual and like no ordinary documentary. It told the story in a very interesting way with a journey back in time to 1860s London to hear first-hand accounts from the main characters in the story. So we start off with the engine driver who discovered Briggs body on the line. We meet the Police Officer investigating the case and in time he leads us to the main suspect. Frederick Wicks, a Victorian Journalist is the presenter of the whole story and here is something new… Wicks travels back and forth in time strolling around modern day London in his best Victorian clothes one minute, then he is back investigating in the 1860s. A trans-atlantic race ensues when the chief suspect is found to be New York bound. The dashed clever English copper gets his man by dint of catching a much faster steam powered ship and arrives a few weeks before the German suspect. He is waiting to arrest him as soon as he arrives in New York.
I wont spoil the ending by writing any more!
The whole episode should be available on the BBC Iplayer for a while yet, for those who can access it, here is the link..
And of course if you cannot view the program you can get hold of Kate’s book. Its certainly one I was happy to add to my collection.