The primary research for All Which is Truth involved examining thousands of pages of precognitions (eye witness statements) held in the National Archives of Scotland, complemented by the study of many other sources of information such as court records, newspaper reports, genealogical records, historic maps, town plans and directories.
The eighteen murder cases covered are described as accurately and objectively as possible, adhering to the available facts. “All which is truth” or “All which he (or she) declares to be the truth” appears at the bottom of each witness statement. These signed statements of “truth”, corroborated wherever possible by other information, form the basis of each story. Readers can form their own opinions about what happened and about the verdict.
Written in handwriting that is beautifully legible, with faultless grammar and punctuation, these precognitions provide a vivid view into the world of the victims, the accused and the people who were closely connected with them at the time. Who would have thought that in 1888 it would be normal for a barber to be working until after midnight on a Saturday night? Or that in 1848 a man would think nothing of walking from Dundee to Lochee in the middle of the night carrying a chest of drawers on his back? Looking back from the twenty-first century it is hard to believe that doctors would perform a full post mortem in the murder victim’s home and that very young children could be called to testify in court against their parents!
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