...a forensic investigation itself worthy of a clue-gathering master...
...a fascinating story, perfect material for a TV costume drama...
— The Jewish Chronicle, 8 May 2015
...an absorbing account of a real private detective whose career overlapped with Holmes's.
— 'I am an Omnivorous Reader' - The Sherlock Holmes Society of London's book reviews, Summer 2015
'Paddington' Pollaky is a stupendous achievement in research.
— Brilliant Deduction website Read the full review here
Kesselman spills the beans on Ignatius Pollaky, one of the better-known private detectives in Victorian England.
— Who Do You Think You Are magazine, Summer 2020
Mention of book in blog on cryptograms
From the back cover:
Who was the Victorian super-sleuth ‘Paddington’ Pollaky? In reality, he was a contradiction: a man of mystery who tried to keep out of the limelight, while at times he craved recognition and publicity. He was a busybody, a meddler, yet someone whose heart was ultimately in the right place. Newspaper accounts detail his work as a private detective in London, his association with The London Society for the Protection of Young Females, his foiling of those involved in sex-trafficking, and of his tracking down of abducted children. Themes that remain relevant in the twenty-first century. What was his involvement in the American Civil War? Why did he place cryptic messages in the agony column of The Times? And why were the newspapers so interested in this Hungarian detective and adventurer while the police thoroughly disapproved of him? In this first biography of this complex character, author Bryan Kesselman answers these questions, and examines whether it was Pollaky who provided the inspiration for the literary greats Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes.