Donald Sutherland Swanson was born in the far north of Scotland, leaving for London in 1867. The following year he joined the Metropolitan Police and began patrolling the streets of the capital as a uniformed constable. When he retired 35 years later, in 1903, he had risen to the rank of Superintendent of the CID at Scotland Yard, the top detective in the country. On 15th September 1888 Swanson was hand-picked by Commissioner Sir Charles Warren to lead the investigation into the Whitechapel murders by the so-called Jack the Ripper, as a result learning more about the case than any other officer as he read every report, statement, letter and telegram. Although the mystery was never officially solved, more than 50 years after Donald Swanson's death his grandson discovered private handwritten notes which seemed to finally explain what happened to the murderer - and to name him at last.
ADAM WOOD is editor of Ripperologist magazine, considered the leading publication on the study of the Whitechapel murders. He is the author Swanson: The Life and Times of A Victorian Detective, from which this book is extracted, and Trial of Percy Lefroy Mapleton, a study of the 1881 murder on the Brighton railway.