John Henry Greatrex (1827-76), thief, convict, actor, grocer, photographer, bankrupt, preacher, adulterer, absconder and counterfeiter, had a colourfully disreputable life, despite his entirely respectable Victorian family background.
His dubious career took him from England to Australia, Scotland and America – only for him to be arrested by an extraordinarily clever Glasgow detective, for printing his own money. This is his story and though hard to believe, it is entirely true.
“The story captures the imagination today for much the same reasons it did in 1867: it is a detective yarn (though it pre-dates Sherlock Holmes by some 20 years), pitting a determined sleuth against a cunning, charismatic crook. Bruce’s book mirrors the fast pace of the action itself, drawing on the thorough documentation which survives from the trial.” – Scotland on Sunday