Paddington Pollaky

The Pollaky Project


'Paddington' Pollaky, Private Detective
The Mysterious Life and Times of the Real Sherlock Holmes

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The History Press
ISBN: 9780750959742
Published (UK and Europe): Feb 2015
Published (US): June 2015



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Reviews of 'Paddington' Pollaky: Private Detective:

...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.
from 'I am an Omnivorous Reader' - The Sherlock Holmes Society of London's book reviews - Summer 2015

Click here for another online review

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.