Writing Greenwood Tree – and more

News From Westerby

In 1833, a Frenchman named Eugène François Vidocq founded an organisation that was, in effect, the world’s first freelance detective agency. Presumably acting on the principle of “set a thief to catch a thief,” Vidocq’s “Bureau of Universal Information” (Le Bureau des Renseignements Universels pour le Commerce et l’Industrie) was staffed almost entirely by ex-convicts. The Bureau had excellent results, especially in apprehending fraudsters and con-men, but its success did not impress the police force — not least because the Bureau had a habit of not always following the letter of the law itself. The police were determined to put an end to Vidocq’s Bureau.

After ten years of successful operation, they finally believed that they had succeeded when Vidocq himself was arrested and charged with taking money on false pretenses and unlawful imprisonment. Although he was initially sentenced to five years in prison, Vidocq appealed and won…

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2 responses

  1. Thanks for the re-post!

    March 29, 2013 at 8:51 am

    • You’re welcome! An intriguing character, well worth writing about – looking forward to a sequel! 🙂

      March 29, 2013 at 11:10 am

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