Fife woman reveals her past life as Scotland’s very own Agatha Christie

A Fife woman has revealed her past life as Scotland’s very own Agatha Christie to mark International Woman’s Day.

Friday, 4th March 2022, 2:04 pm

Helen Wilson, from Upper Largo, now 84, lives a quiet and comfortable life at Renaissance Care’s Jesmond care home in Aberdeen.

But she has shared stories from her remarkable career as a private detective to promote the theme around International Woman’s Day of breaking the bias.

Helen told her story to residents and staff about how she joined a private investigation agency in Glasgow after leaving Strathclyde Police where she had served as a WPC.

Helen Wilson joined a private investigation agency in Glasgow after leaving Strathclyde Police where she had served as a WPC.

Starting at only 18, her career in the police had been an exciting one, but she found herself intrigued by the other side of the legal system and decided to tap into her inner Poirot.

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Looking back on her colourful life for International Women’s Day, which falls on Tuesday, Helen said: “It was still quite unusual for women to be a part of the police force back then, but it was something I had always wanted to do.

“I never had much fear and always enjoyed the faster side of life, so after my 18th birthday I took myself out of Upper Largo and moved to the big city, Glasgow.

Helen Wilson

“I loved being a policewoman. It was exciting working in the marine division and I met my husband-to-be during that time, but my interest in the criminal side of the job had been well and truly piqued and I knew it was something I wanted to try something new.”

That the job was seen as male dominated did not deter her.

Helen said: “It wasn’t common for young women to work in crime in general in the ‘60s, never mind as a private detective, but that didn’t stop me.

“No job was the same, and I met some amazingly interesting people – good and bad, but always with a story to tell. From shoplifting to more serious crimes such as assault, I helped solve many crimes for both the defence and the prosecution at the time.

“Still to this day, most detectives you see on the TV and in films are men, but that’s outdated.

“It was skills such as my attention to detail, my ability to speak to anyone and a keen intuition that set me apart in my private detective days and, although I don’t use my investigating skills much anymore, I still think I can sniff out a dodgy character from a mile off.”

Helen moved to Jesmond care home two years ago and keeps her curiosity alive with jigsaws, quizzes and crime books.

Jade McGowan, activities co-ordinator at Renaissance Care’s Jesmond care home, said: “Helen is a great example of breaking boundaries and bias within gender.

“She is so inspiring and is a fantastic role model to young women today who still face similar challenges in their own lives.

“We are always sharing life stories and having open and engaging conversations in the home, and International Women’s Day poses a great chance for us to explore more about the residents’ experiences and discuss how things have, and haven’t, changed over generations.”

International Women’s Day is on Tuesday, March 8.

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