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The First Great Detective - This is an interesting work. It claims to be a new translation of the genuine autobiography of Eugene Vidocq which was first published in 1828. I was a little bit skeptical of that claim, but when I dug into the narrative, I was impressed by the writing. There is certainly an authenticity to the wordplay. Immediately I was reminded of Edgar Allan Poe (who would have been a contemporary of Vidocq). The narrative is rich and rolling and "stretches out its legs" to create nice descriptions where a modern author would rush things. That being said, the work is not cumbersome. The language is well-constructed but not difficult. I've read more celebrated biographies (such as those by Charles Chaplin and Ghandi) and I found this one to be more purely entertaining. How much liberty has been taken in sacrificing truth for the sake of a rousing tale is debatable, but that doesn't change the fact that this book is an excellent read!
Astonishing - I must begin this review by admitting I had no idea who Vidocq was before I read this book. I rad with interest, but a healthy dose of cynicism: Vidocq is widely regarded as the father of modern criminology and of the French police department. He is also considered to be the first private detective... OK, so, if he's worth a read, Wikipedia will surely have something to say about him. Here's what I found:Eugène François Vidocq (1775–1857), founder of the French National PoliceVidocq (2001 film), a film starring Gérard DepardieuVidocq Society, a crime-solving club in Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaVidocq (1938 film), a film with André BruléOK, if there is really more than a myth that has grown up around this man, let's see what the academics have to say about him. So, I turned to Google Scholar, and found: 2690 hits. Where I come from, that number of hits gets you some respect. And then I opened the book, written by...
Fascinating! - As a student of Criminal Justice, I love reading tales of those that brought us to where we are today in the field. Having not heard of Detective Vidocq before, I found this to be a fascinating read. Detective Vidocq is an interesting character: criminal, detective, and forerunner. I had a hard time putting this one down and will definitely seek out more works about him!