Oliver Cantrell (a.k.a. Ollie)
"Ollie Cantrell has that little sign outside his house to declare himself a 'private investigator,' but, if you ask me, he's more of a thug with a conscience. He knows that his worn-out tweed and hard stare still scream 'COPPER' to anyone he encounters, and he could shed that if he wanted to, but he doesn't want to - it's too useful to scare a snitch or bash someone who thinks they're hard. So, yeah, he's a thug."
Jimmy the Ferret, just before Ollie, who had overheard this whole thing, convinced him to move to Yorkshire.
Ollie was born in Seven Dials, London, in 1892. The smell of a brewery still evokes a weird nostalgia that he cannot tie to a specific location, but that he cannot escape - the thing he remembers most of his childhood is living with 11 other people in a house build for four. Still, for the first 10 years of his life, he was the only child in the house, and he and his ma benefited from the lodgers’ collective generosity.
He was prohibited from working by collective agreement of the well-meaning adults, who ensured her was dispatched to school each day. Ollie was never a stellar reader, but he made up for it with a steel-trap memory that collected obscure and seemingly-disconnected trivia the way some people collect stamps.
When he turned 16, he passed the exam to join New Scotland Yard, and he was raised to detective when he was 22. The circumstances of his birth might have kept him out of plainclothes, but most of the healthy young men were off to the war, and Frederick Wensley, “The Weasel” in charge Criminal Investigations, could not afford to be picky.
Failures & Embarrassments
He did fine as a uniformed copper, as it mostly involved bashing the occasional head. But detective work soured him on the law as an instrument of justice. It wasn’t that he wasn't good at it - he learned to combine evidence and testimony into inescapable nets that produced good arrests that sent bad people to jail. The problem was that, past a certain level of wealth or social status, the law seemed to have a less-firm hold on people, good or bad. His frustration turned to resentment, and resentment turned to making some of his own back in bribes.
Morality & Philosophy
Ollie believes in Justice more than he believes in the law. Years of watching a lack of social status condemn people to a bleak existence, he also has developed a strong sense that humans have a basic, intrinsic value that must be recognized, if you're going to call yourself a decent person. None of this, of course, hinders his capacity at helping people manage a good con. Indeed, his prioritization of Justice means that he's happy to use people's flaws to help them find their way to ruin.
Year of Birth
1892 42 Years old
Seven Dials, London