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The Shadow by Vince Kelly p1

READERSVOICE.COM aims to give a few samples from out of print books. Some of these are well worth finding and are at least as good as a lot of books out there today, fiction and non-fiction.

One of the best things about the biography The Shadow by Vince Kelly, published 1954, is that it gives an insight into life in Sydney in the 1920s. The book is about Frank Fahy who was an expert at surveillance or the shadowing of police suspects. The book is a case history and tells how Fahy ended up frustrating the plans of bank robbers, expert burglars, shilling forgers, safe breakers, a ring of bicycle and motorbike thieves; and even smugglers exporting possum skins.

Fahy had served a plumber’s apprenticeship before joining the New South Wales police in 1919. He was a probationary constable in Paddington and had served for two years when Sergeant William John MacKay issued a memo to departmental heads. He wanted someone for a confidential job: shadowing criminals.

It wasn’t an easily filled job. Most police looked like cops even in plain clothes, and would be spotted quickly by criminals. But Fahy was tall and thin for a cop. And MacKay liked Fahy’s record. Unseen in the early hours one morning, he had observed a burglar robbing a kiosk in Centennial Park. Fahy chased the burglar across the park and arrested him at gunpoint. And in civilian life he and another lifesaver had saved a couple from drowning in the surf at Bronte. Above all Fahy was keen, so Sergeant MacKay gave Fahy the job.

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