Charles Dickens was one of the great pioneers of detective fiction. While the larger-than-life characters in his novels have settled themselves in the public imagination, his detectives have had a profound effect on the development of crime fiction, and Dickens is now seen as the first major publicist for the police detective. In Hunted Down, Peter Haining has assembled a fascinating selection of Dicken's detective stories. Added to these are extracts from the novels in which the men of the law make their mark. These law officers, and the circumstances in which they work, were based on Dickens's observations of the fledgeling police detective force when he was a solicitor's clerk and reporter. He accompanied detectives on their nightly patrols of the streets of London, he witnessed the day-to-day running of police stations, he attended magistrates' courts and was present at murder trials and public executions. Out of these eye-witness experiences grew Mr Nadgett in Martin Chuzzlewit, the first detective in an English novel to play a major role, and Inspector Bucket in Bleak House, who solves the murder of an unscrupulous lawyer. The assorted cast of inspectors, sergeants and constables include also an amateur detective, a river policeman and the prototype of all undercover policemen.
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