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Jonathan Wild: The Thief-Taker General: Background information when reading The Hocus Girl

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The Hocus Girl

A Simon Westow mystery

by Chris Nickson

The Hocus Girl by Chris Nickson X
The Hocus Girl by Chris Nickson
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  • Published:
    Jan 2020, 224 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Erin Lyndal Martin
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About this Book

Jonathan Wild: The Thief-Taker General

This article relates to The Hocus Girl

Ticket to Jonathan Wild's hanging 1725In The Hocus Girl, set in the Northern England city of Leeds in the early 19th century, the three protagonists are thief-takers. They're hired to reclaim stolen property in exchange for a reward from the person who had been robbed. They acted as intermediaries, using their connections and intimidation techniques to get justice for crime victims.

Not all thief-takers were as upstanding as those in The Hocus Girl. Working this job created a lot of opportunities for duplicity, and no one knew that better than Jonathan Wild, nicknamed "The Thief-Taker General." In 1680, London was dealing with an abundance of crime as the city grew. The publishing industry was also expanding, and now there were newspapers reporting atrocities and petty crimes, setting citizens further on edge. Wild became famous for not only returning stolen goods, but for bringing thieves to justice. By his own account, his work sent 60 thieves to be hanged. Again and again he appeared in the papers with tales of his ...

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