Book, Crime, Historical, History, Non-fiction

Who Killed Constable Cock by Angela Buckley

This is the first of my new style book reviews. They incorporate the #picturestellingstories tag, which you will see a lot more of now on.

This is true story and account of a murdered policeman in 1876.

The first picture is where it took place. At the centre of the story is the firearm that killed the constable. The bullets were found in the waistcoat pocket of a man suspected of killing the him. Three Irish brothers are also centre to the story.

The policeman directing traffic gives an indication of what PC Cock might have looked like as he patrolled his beat in the Manchester suburb.

The incident took place outside the Seymour pub, on the corner of two roads in the early hours of the morning. The killer was sentenced to death by hanging, but like all good stories, there is a a great twist.

Who Killed Constable Cock?: A Victorian True Crime Murder Case: Volume 2 (Victorian Super sleuth Investigates) is 110 pages long and tells the fascinating story of the hunt for the murderer.

At Magic of Stories we’ve always said that true stories can be just as fascinating as fiction, and this is indeed true with this. It also delves into the social history of the life people lived in that time. The police investigation is run by a man called Bent, and the phrase bent copper immediately came to mind, and it made me chuckle. Superintendent Bent was a super sleuth using special techniques to catch criminals that were actually very simple and would never work these days. Back then he had a reputation of always getting his man.

If you like local and social history, then this will appeal to you. For me there was added interest because I lived down the road from where the murder took place. I knew many of the streets and the coroner’s inquest was held in a pub run by my great, great grandfather around the time it happened. Maybe he hosted them, plied them with drinks while they used his room.

If I’d have still lived in Manchester, I would have taken delight in going to visit this places, taken some photos and added them here.

Two of the brothers returned to Ireland via Holyhead, which is near where I live now on Anglesey. Then to top it off, one of the women who married another character came from Oswestry, in Shropshire. Another place I know well.

How I was led to this book is not via the usual way. I was about to begin a short story for an anthology. I remembered a place I used to visit in the suburb of Chorlton, where this book is set. I couldn’t remember what it was called. It was similar to a walled lawn with an arched entrance. It used to be full of graves, but they were removed, and there was a lawn and benches and a pathway. I felt it had a magical feel, except there was also a memorial to murdered policeman.

After some investigation I contacted a local historian and he told me I was thinking St. Clements grave yard with its Lych Gate, and the murdered policeman was PC Nicholas Cock. He told me about this book, which I was delighted to find on Kindle Unlimited. I used this place to base my story around for the anthology.

The lych gate from both sides. It is said that this is where coffins waited for the clergy to arrive before burial.

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