John Wilson Murray

John Wilson Murray, police detective (b at Edinburgh, Scot 25 June 1840; d at Toronto 12 June 1906). Called the "Great Canadian Detective," Murray was a pioneer of scientific crime investigation. He was one of the first to utilize forensic science and information obtained through autopsies.

John Wilson Murray, police detective (b at Edinburgh, Scot 25 June 1840; d at Toronto 12 June 1906). Called the "Great Canadian Detective," Murray was a pioneer of scientific crime investigation. He was one of the first to utilize forensic science and information obtained through autopsies. His painstaking method of reconstructing crimes and cross-checking statements and evidence to the smallest detail was both innovative and effective.

Originally trained as a sailor in the US Navy, Murray became a detective during the Civil War and was instrumental in thwarting an attempt by Canadian-based Confederates to seize a US warship on Lake Erie. After working as a detective for the Canadian Southern Railway he was invited by Attorney General Sir Oliver Mowat to become provincial detective of Ontario. He accepted the post in 1875 and held it for 31 years. In that period he solved hundreds of crimes, including the famous J.R. Birchall murder case. His Memoirs of a Great Detective, originally published in 1904, is a colourful collection of his most notable cases.