Real life crimes, famous and forgotten, re-examined by leading crime writers
A superb collection of brand new and original essays about famous and obscure real life crimes, Truly Criminal showcases a group of highly regarded, award-winning writers who all share a special passion for crime. Among these real-life crimes, famous and forgotten, are such notorious cases as Samuel Herbert Dougal, the Moat Farm murderer; George Joseph Smith, the Brides in the Bath killer; and Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen, one of the most infamous killers in British history. Featuring a dazzling list of contributors, including leading crime novelists Peter Lovesey, Andrew Taylor, and Catherine Aird, as well as 2013 CWA Crime Non-Fiction Dagger winner Paul French; a bonus essay by the late great Margery Allingham about the controversial William Herbert Wallace case has also been rediscovered. With a foreword by international bestselling writer Peter James, this collection will thrill lovers of true-crime writing.
|Publisher:||The History Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Martin Edwards is an award-winning crime writer whose Lake District Mystery series includes The Coffin Trail, which was shortlisted for the Theakston’s prize for best British crime novel, and The Arsenic Labyrinth. He has written 10 novels and eight nonfiction books. He won the CWA Short Story Dagger in 2008, has edited 21 anthologies, annd has published eight nonfiction books. He is Archivist of the Detection Club and the Crime Writers’ Association. Peter James is an international bestselling crime thriller novelist, who has been published in 36 languages. He was Chair of the CWA from 2011-2013.
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A Crime Writers' Association Anthology of True Crime
By Peter Lovesey, Andrew Taylor, Catherine Aird, Kate Ellis, Paul French, Jürgen Ehlers, Margery Allingham, Martin Edwards
The History PressCopyright © 2015 Martin Edwards for the CWA
All rights reserved.
THE DEATH OF THE STURRY DOCTOR
On the night of Friday, 4th September 1896, Edward Jameson, called doctor, of Sturry, a large agricultural village near Canterbury, left a house in King Street, Fordwich, an adjacent ancient port and the smallest township in England, where he had been having a late supper with his friend Captain Alfred Cotton, at 10.30 p.m. and was not seen alive again.
This case is particularly interesting because of the conspiracy of silence it occasioned. So much so that seventy years later when I was talking about it to an old man who remembered it well and I foolishly got out a pencil and paper, he said, 'Oh, you mustn't write anything down. It was all hushed up at the time.' Quite how right he was – and who it was who hushed it up I didn't discover until later.
Edward Jameson was one of three sons of Dr William Jameson – no connection with Jameson's Raid – who had been Sturry's doctor for the middle years of the nineteenth century. He had died in 1875 at the age of seventy-eight, and, very unusually for those times, left his widow as his sole executrix and legatee – something that I came to see as significant. His three sons were called Edward, John and Willy. John died of cirrhosis of the liver at the age of thirty-three, ten years after his father. Willy, too, died from this condition but much later.
Edward had attempted to follow in his father's footsteps as a doctor but unfortunately wasn't clever enough to pass the Conjoint Examination. In those days this did not prevent him from following the calling of doctor's assistant – one of whose earlier functions, you will remember, was to hold the patient down as a substitute for anaesthesia.
Brother Willy seems to have been much less bright and became a games coach at one of Canterbury's several public schools. He used to teach the boys to bowl by marking out the field into squares and calling out to them the number of the square to which they were to pitch the ball. He was known to be often short of money and to have rows with his surviving brother over this. There is some suggestion that he was even a sandwich short of a picnic.
Edward Jameson, called doctor, served Sturry as such for twenty years. When his father died, he became assistant first to a Dr Wheeler and then, when he moved away, to Dr T.M. Johnson of Canterbury. When anything beyond his medical capabilities arose, a telegraph message would be sent to Upper Chantry Lane where Dr Johnson lived in a house bombed in 1942. Dr Johnson would then saddle his horse and ride the three miles north out to Sturry. (He probably got there more quickly than by a car in today's traffic.) Incidentally – but not irrelevantly – Dr Johnson happened to be the Canterbury City Coroner.
Jameson himself had no horse, going everywhere on foot – to Stodmarsh in one direction and to Broad Oak in the other. It may be fairly presumed that he knew the roads of the village like the back of his hand and this is important and you should remember it.
He was a big man, a powerful man with a dimple on his chin and he left a reputation of joviality, cheerfulness and kindness behind him. While he always had a bottle of medicine in one pocket, he inevitably had a bag of sweets in the other and never dispensed the one without the other. He was extremely popular with children and generally of such a well-liked, amiable disposition that the question of suicide was never considered.
He was a strong swimmer and a keen cricketer. The Sturry Cricket Club, which celebrated its centenary in 1963, had him in its team in 1878 when playing Harbledown, which scored 130. Sturry knocked up 209, of which E. Jameson had scored 104 not out for Sturry – the first recorded century for the village team. Dr Jameson bowled between his legs and if it has been reported that I had been seen in Sturry High Street watching a lively demonstration of this by a notably sprightly octogenarian who remembered him well, then I assure you that it was done purely in the interests of research.
The next doctor to come to Sturry was Dr A.H.D. Salt. He was a Parsee and was graphically described to me as a gentleman but not a teetotaller. The year is 1896, the old Queen is on the throne and all's right with the world – or very nearly. The explorer, Dr Nansen, is on his way to Canterbury to lecture, Mr Weedon Grossmith was there already producing a play, football in the city was at a low ebb, and Kent County Council was bringing in a bye-law that all vehicles were to carry lights at night. Mr Daniel Brice is chair of the Bridge-Blean Rural District Council and is busy writing letters to Kent County Council imploring them not to let the matter of building a bridge at Grove Ferry drop.
They didn't, but it took them until 1962 to do it ...
Dr Jameson is forty-six years old and unmarried. A smart, upright man, he always wore a hat called a 'Muller-Cut-Down'. (This was a hat half-way between a top hat and a bowler and named after Franz Muller, who was hanged for the killing of Thomas Briggs, the first man to be murdered on the railway in Britain. Muller had altered his black beaver hat by cutting the crown by half and sewing it to the brim.)
And now – as the writers of detective fiction say – we come to the night of ... what? Shall we say the night of Dr Jameson's death?
Friday, 4th September 1896, during which he went about his work, was a fine day until the evening. At ten o'clock that night he walked from his house in Sturry High Street to his friend's house in Fordwich – about a third of a mile. His host, Captain Albert Cotton, said later that he had known the doctor for about ten years and he had arrived late and stayed to supper before.
At 10.30 p.m. Edward Jameson said he was in a hurry to get home and went away, Cotton letting him out but seeing no one about in the street. He had on his head his hard felt Muller-Cut-Down hat but carried no umbrella or stick. It was then very dark and just beginning to rain. He was, deposed Cotton, perfectly sober and walked quite straight.
Early next morning a wood reeve called Farrier went fishing down-river in the Stour for eels. At 6.30 a.m. he was coming back upstream when he saw a body floating face downwards in the water some thirty yards below the bridge. He had set out before sunrise, which had been at 5.31 a.m. that morning, and had seen nothing then.
The body was removed from the river and was soon identified as that of Edward Jameson. Mark you, no search had been instituted for the doctor in spite of the fact that he had been in a hurry to get home the night before and no alarm of any sort raised until his body was found.
This may strike you as curious.
The body was fully clothed save that his Muller-Cut-Down hat was missing. He had on an overcoat. There were several things in his pockets including a purse containing £3 15s 4d – a considerable sum at the time. The wood reeve noticed that the doctor's watch had stopped at five o'clock. The clothing was in no way disarranged and according to the local newspaper report of the finding of the body (although not in the newspaper report of the inquest) there was a slight wound on the forehead.
The wood reeve went for the police and PC 'Ginger' Callaway took charge. He promptly and properly reported the body to the County Coroner, Mr R.M. Mercer. (It has only been since 1963 that the city of Canterbury and the county of Kent have shared a Coroner). You will remember that Dr Jameson had at one time been an assistant to the City Coroner, Dr T.M. Johnson.
The County Coroner decided to hold an inquest that very afternoon and a jury was summonsed to be at the Fordwich Arms public house at 5.30 p.m. The Coroner opened an inquest to determine how it was that the popular, amiable doctor, Edward Jameson, who knew the roads of the village like the back of his hand, who was a big and powerful man and a good swimmer, who had left Captain Cotton's house quite sober at 10.30 p.m. had come to be found dead in the river, with a bruise on his forehead, at 6.30 a.m. the next morning with his watch stopped at five o'clock.
There had been barely time for PC Callaway to search for the missing hat, which was presumed to have fallen off as the doctor fell over the low wall at the bridge opposite The George public house. (The Dragon came later.) The Coroner asked him about this at the inquest. Callaway said the river had been dragged but the hat had not been found.
The Coroner said, 'If it is assumed that the deceased fell over the wall at the bridge in the agile manner that has been suggested, surely his hat would have been found?'
The police constable (very rightly sticking to fact and refusing to be drawn into speculation) said, 'I have searched the river but cannot find it anywhere.'
The Coroner took evidence from a neighbour who knew the doctor, Farrier, the wood reeve, and the policeman and that was all – there was no mention of brother Willy.
He went on to observe that as far as he could see there was not a scrap of evidence from which the jury could come to any verdict as to how the deceased had got into the river. It had been suggested that he had stumbled over the low railing on the left of the bridge and toppled. He, the Coroner, had carefully looked at the spot and certainly thought that was possible. He did not think there was any suggestion of foul play but they could not say actually when the deceased entered the water and there was nothing to show even that he went in at the bridge.
Under all the circumstances he felt that their verdict ought to be 'found drowned between the hours of 10.30pm on 4th September and 5am on 5th September'. You've noticed that Freudian slip, haven't you? He said 5 a.m. – the time the watch stopped – even though the body wasn't found until 6.30 a.m.
So far, so good.
But not far enough and not good enough for the village jury.
They carefully considered their verdict and agreed that Dr Edward Jameson had been found drowned, adding firmly that, 'How or by what means the deceased so came into the river there was insufficient evidence to show, but in the opinion of the jury, owing to darkness the deceased accidentally fell into the river on his way home.'
Grounds for a legend there, do you think?
There the legal proceedings rested. At the inquest begun and finished on Saturday, 5th September, within twelve hours of the body being found.
Between then and the afternoon of Tuesday, 8th September, but at a time I was unable to establish, a post-mortem examination was held.
A report of the findings appeared rather shyly under the anonymity of some person calling him or herself 'A well-informed correspondent' who wrote to the local paper, the Kentish Gazette, as follows:
It will no doubt be interesting to your readers to learn a few further particulars concerning the so-called mysterious death of the late Mr Edward Jameson, of Sturry. To throw further light on the subject it was thought necessary to have a post-mortem examination. This was held by Messrs Frank Wacher – [a famous name in Canterbury's medical history; his house was also bombed in 1942] – and A.H.D. Salt, the former being appointed by the Scottish Accidental Employers' Liability Insurance Company of Moorgate Street, London, in which the deceased was insured. [They aren't there any longer.]
The results of the post-mortem examination showed that the deceased had received injuries on the left side of the head, left arm and both knees which were in themselves sufficient to render him insensible. The condition of the lungs was not that of drowning but suffocation; the stomach was full of undigested food, the state of the digestion proving that that he had come to his death very shortly after supper.
But it was proved that his watch had stopped at 5.00 a.m. This would seem to show that the deceased must have fallen into shallow water which only covered his head, but that owing to the heavy rain, the mill and other causes, the river rose by morning and it must have been about 5.00 a.m. that the body actually floated and the watch stopped.
So the doctor wasn't drowned at all but suffocated. And suffocated, in all probability, while insensible from injuries to head, arm and both knees – injuries, you will remember, described earlier as a slight bruise or wound of the forehead. And dead, as proved by the state of the digestion, very soon after leaving Captain Cotton's house at 10.30 p.m.
What happened after that newspaper report?
First of all Edward Jameson's mother, Harriet, took to her bed with an attack of paralysis and nervous aphonia and spoke to no one.
Secondly, a man called Harry Enston took on – or was paid to take on – the role of keeper to Willy Jameson and from that day forward was his constant companion – so constant a companion that Willy was never questioned or left alone with anyone. In fact, when Willy died in 1898, then aged forty-six, it was Harry Enston who was present at death and who registered it.
And what happened after that?
The miller might have been asked if he had indeed opened the floodgates upstream at 5 a.m. that fateful morning. I don't know. I do know that with the kind assistance of the Kent River Board (whom I am sure thought I was at least two sandwiches short of a picnic when I asked them) I calculated that high tide, such as it was, at the bridge at Fordwich would have been at 11.30 p.m. on the Friday evening and low tide therefore at 5.30 a.m. the next morning. Certainly any body – and I do mean 'any body' – would travel more than thirty yards in eight and a half hours in the River Stour, especially on an ebb tide flowing at three knots.
'an attack of paralysis and nervous aphonia'
On the Monday evening a parishioners meeting unanimously agreed that they would send a wreath. The Cricket Club settled on what was called as 'a characteristic floral token of a touching description'.
The funeral, taken by the Vicar, the Reverend George Billing, and attended by Willy as the only family mourner, was held on the Tuesday afternoon, the occasion being one of general mourning in all three local villages.
And then – I had a surprise.
Checking, some seventy years later, on the death certificate, I found that this had been received at the General Register Office, at Somerset House, on Thursday morning, September 10th from R.M. Mercer, Her Majesty's Coroner for Kent, who certified that the inquest had been held on the day before, that is Wednesday, 9th September. The place of death was given as the River Stour and the cause 'Found Drowned' and it stated that Edward Jameson's death had taken place on the previous Saturday, 5th September.
This may strike you as strange. It did me, too. I can't explain how it is that if the report in the Kentish Gazette is correct on the one hand, the inquest was held on the Saturday, and on the other hand if the death certificate is correct that it was held the following Wednesday.
I can only say that if it was held on the Saturday it was before the post-mortem, which may strike you as unusual, (the more especially so since it was in the days when the jury were expected to view the body – super visum corporis), and if it was held on the Wednesday then not only was it held after the post-mortem but it was after the funeral, too, which is even more unusual.
Then what happened?
The Kentish Gazette, having dropped the bombshell about the post-mortem, got itself into a high state of indignation about the Armenian Massacres. The Sturry Cricket Club went ahead with their averages and recorded the late E. Jameson as having 23 innings, 5 times not out, 117 runs ... some things are quite immutable, aren't they? A public subscription was opened to pay for a gravestone. You can still see it by the north door of St Nicholas' Church, at Sturry.
What you couldn't see at the time is as good an example of professional solidarity as you'll ever find, and completely hidden from 1896 until 1963, when I first looked into this murder – when a Coroner of all people knowingly put his head into a noose and risked his professional reputation and his medical career by acting for what he considered for the best to save the widow of a former colleague from losing her third – and last – son to the gallows.
Excerpted from Truly Criminal by Peter Lovesey, Andrew Taylor, Catherine Aird, Kate Ellis, Paul French, Jürgen Ehlers, Margery Allingham, Martin Edwards. Copyright © 2015 Martin Edwards for the CWA. Excerpted by permission of The History Press.
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Table of Contents
ContentsForeword by PETER JAMES,
Introduction by MARTIN EDWARDS,
The Death of the Sturry Doctor CATHERINE AIRD,
The Compassionate Machine MARGERY ALLINGHAM,
The Stanfield Hall Murders MARTIN BAGGOLEY,
Disappearing Icelanders QUENTIN BATES,
Catherine Foster: A Deadly Dumpling and a Clutch of Dead Hens KATE CLARKE,
Sins of the Father CAROL ANNE DAVIS,
The Cop Killer Who Created Cop Fiction JIM DOHERTY,
Bad Luck and a Blazing Car MARTIN EDWARDS,
The Girl from the Düssel JÜRGEN EHLERS (translated by Ann-Kathrin Ehlers),
The Aigburth Mystery KATE ELLIS,
Murder in the Shanghai Trenches PAUL FRENCH,
The Queen of Slaughtering Places PETER GUTTRIDGE,
The Headless Corpse BRIAN INNES,
Baby Face DIANE JANES,
A Crime of Consequence JOAN LOCK,
The Tale of Three Tubs: George Joseph Smith and the Brides in the Bath PETER LOVESEY,
The Case of the Greek Gigolo LINDA STRATMANN,
Distressing Circumstances: The Moat Farm Murder of 1899 ANDREW TAYLOR,
A Baby Hidden in a Kailyard MARSALI TAYLOR,
The Bite of Truth STEPHEN WADE,
Margaret Catchpole: The Woman, the Legend MARK MOWER,