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  • Ric Brady

Study the Cases: The Partridge Diamond

Updated: Nov 12, 2021

In these blog posts, I’m taking you through the cases you'll find in Lady Justice, an Interactive Fiction series you can play on Tales. While the cases in Lady Justice are fictional, they’ve been inspired by real Victorian crimes. Read on to find out more.

Finding the Partridge diamond is the main case that you’ll solve in the Lady Justice series. Verity Jade is tasked with solving this case by Lady Partridge, who suspects that her maid stole the diamond. However, after some preliminary investigation, Verity learns that the diamond was stolen by someone else.

Pursuing the diamond will lead you into Victorian Manchester’s criminal underworld. Here, you’ll interact with key members of the Hammers gang, the main criminal gang in Manchester. Lady Partridge’s diamond is in the centre of a gang war between two factions of the Hammers gang, and Manchester’s most notorious criminal, Bob Harper, is suspected of stealing the diamond.

Can you get to the bottom of this case and find the diamond? If you succeed, Lady Partridge will use her contacts to ensure you have a long detective career. But, if you fail, she’ll destroy it just as quickly.

Links to the Past

The real Victorian Manchester was a notoriously dangerous place to be. The city, which now sports designer shopping centres and skyscrapers, housed one of the biggest slums in England. The real Detective Caminada, who grew up in these slums, noted: ‘An arrow’s flight from the grandeur of the Town Hall there are homes of such utter misery and wretchedness. […] In many vicious streets throughout the city, the restlessness of evil was continuously present.’*

Thefts were one of the most common crimes in Victorian Manchester. Caminada, in his autobiography, names lots of cases that involved thievery. One of his stories, includes breaking up a nest of thieves.

A group of thieves was preying on Victorian Manchester, and, after getting some tip offs while disguised as a workman, Caminada tracked down the lodgings of one of the thieves’ leaders, Tommy Lewis. Caminada approached the lodgings, a terraced house on Harrowby Street at breakfast time. He had a fellow detective for support. After knocking on the door of the terraced house, they immediately got into a brawl with an associate of one of the thief’s.

After ‘splitting’ the associate’s lip, Caminada searched the lodgings for Tommy Lewis, but he wasn’t there. After some investigating, he saw Tommy watching him from a grill in the ceiling. Realising Tommy was in the loft, Caminada tore off the grill and squeezed himself through hole.

In the attic, Caminada couldn’t find Tommy. Where had he disappeared to? Searching the loft for a clue, he found a hole in the partition which led to the loft next door. Caminada slipped through and saw Tommy crawling through a similar hole in another partition. Tracking Tommy through the row of terraced houses, Caminada chased him to the final one.

Tommy rushed down the steps of the final house, hoping to leave through its front door and run off into the streets. But, to his horror, the front door was locked. Cornered, Tommy bolted out of Caminda’s way and jumped up the chimney.

Unable to follow him, Caminada instead set a trap for Tommy. He sent his fellow detective to the end house in wait for Tommy, while he went up to the top of the street to start the chase again. Barging through Tommy’s front door, Caminada found Tommy upstairs in bed, and chased him back into the loft.

This time, the two detectives trapped him. They marched Tommy Lewis through the streets of Manchester to the City Police Station. He served seven years for his part in the gang of thieves.

While you won’t chase thieves through the attics of terrace houses in Lady Justice, you will encounter lots in my fictional version of the city.

You can play Lady Justice on Tales [] and explore Victorian Manchester. If you want more details on my historical crime fiction, you can sign up to my monthly newsletter. When you do, you instantly receive an exclusive Lady Justice Game Manual for free.

* Jerome Caminada, 1996, Caminada the Crime Buster, London, The True Crime Library.

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