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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Boston Detectives—So Called.

(From the New York Herald, November 5, 1875.)


Boston Detectives—So Called.


A Startling Record of their Inefficiency—
When Did They Ever Work Up a Murder Case to a Successful Issue?

Boston, Nov. 4, 1875
The recent failure of the so-called Boston detectives—the pets of the daily press of the “Hub”—in the handling of the Langmaid murder case in New Hampshire, recalls their inefficiency in and around Boston. In the matter of the score of horrible murders which have been committed in the city and vicinity it is difficult, if not absolutely impossible to single out a solitary instance where they have worked a case to a successful issue. Even the case of Jesse Pomeroy, who committed two murders, the smartest of them were baffled by the shrewd youth and final detection was owing the accidental discovery of Katie Curran’s body in the cellar of a house once occupied by his mother by some workmen who were digging for a new foundation. In the case of Pemberton, who was hung a few weeks since the murder of the Bingham woman, in East Boston, their stupidity was equally prominent. Some rings taken from her finger were described to the so-called detectives, and the information was treasured by them as sacred. The Boston Herald accidentally got hold of and published a description of the rings. A man in Salem who bought them of the murderer saw the account, followed up the assassin, had him arrested, and trial, conviction and hanging followed in quick succession. Thus the press served the ends of justice in this as in the Langmaid case, and in spite of the so-called detectives. In the case of Piper, who is charged with the murder of Mabel Young in a church belfry, he was first apprehended by citizens, then turned over to the Boston officers, since which time his case has slumbered. Over in the Bunker Hill district a man named Kimball killed his wife and daughter, and as promptly apprehended; but such a circumstance would probably never have occurred if the murderer had fled instead of committing suicide. A man named Jones who killed Mrs. Barry, his paramour in the immediate vicinity of the Kimball horror, also aided the so-called detectives materially by killing himself in the same room. Then there is the murder of the Joyce children in Buzzy’s woods, the case where a prominent man was found beheaded in a floating barrel in the Charles River, The Bridget Landergan horror, the Dennahy tragedy and the mysterious shooting of a Boston merchant in the door of his own residence in the Dorchester district. All of these  cases and others of less renown are as much shrouded in mystery to-day as they were at the moment of their discovery. In view of such a record it is no more than justice to accord the so-called detectives of Boston the championship of inefficiency.

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