The caution with which a Scotland Yard man must proceed often seems to drag the feet of the memoirs which come from there but then as Hatherill, along with Nicolas Bentley (a voice from the past heard in the introduction), remind you several times over, the public taste has been distorted by the media. Hatherill has had a venerable (45 years) and honorable (O.E.B.) career in what comes down to 98% hard work, 2% luck, patience, persistence and a blimp-sized bump of curiosity. As well as that eye for detail -- say the way some bed linen was folded to recognize the national origins of a malefactor. Working his way up from police constable to Detective Superintendent of the C.I.D., Hatherill handled all kinds of cases -- smuggling or forgery, 50 murders for the Murder Squad, fraud, extortion, confidence games, ending with The Great Train Robbery of 1964. There are two explicitly gruesome incidents here involving the strangling-stabbing, rape-killings of three little girls. Hatherill regrets the elimination of capital punishment without really making a case for it. In fact there's not that much of the human element which he calls ""vital"" here -- rather the exact science, whenever possible, which Conan Doyle contended that ""detection is, or ought to be.