An accessory before and after the fact but not in crime

I got what is an accessory before and after the fact is but in the story i am reading there is A detective in his apartment introduces his colleague to his visitor. His colleague is Mr. Jameson. And he says: “Mr. Jameson is an accessory before and after the fact in my detective cases” he says this phrase to the visitor. What does he actually mean when says this? His colleague isn’t a criminal, they are together revealing different detective cases. Please help me to understand. Thank you

I looked up a bit about the story and characters and read the passage. So it seems like Jameson and Kennedy have known each other for a long time and worked together. I think he’s using the langague “accessory before and after the fact” figuritively to say they’ve known each other for a long time and worked together on many cases. In other words, Fire Marshal McCormick can continue explaining his story and trust Jameson.


an interesting using of that law definition, i hardly could understand it. Thank you for reading a bit about the story to help me

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Sounds like eric has it, but I should add: the term “accessory” is a legal term and is used ONLY to refer to crime as in “an accessory before and after the fact.” It comes from that. The person who is the accessory is one who aides in the commission of the crime, or getting away with it–even if they weren’t actually at the crime scene (an acomplice) or was directly involved in its commission or planning (conspirator).

However, I believe in this context the speaker is saying, “Mr. Jameson is an accessory before and after the fact in my detective cases” he’s trying to use the term affectionately and playfully, turning it on its head and effectively saying “Mr. Jameson is my partner is crime.” Someone who jokingly/playfully use this expression for anything like planing a surprise party, working together, etc.


So what that man said about Mr. Jameson made him smile? it was like a joke.

Yes like a joke, but also with the purpose to put at ease the fireman whom he was talking to and let him know that Jameson is trustworthy.

This use of it is a bit strange and I think Lilingquist has a better phrase that would be used in this day and age “partner in crime”. Meaning they go way back and have worked together on many things or are very good friends.

Since this is from 1912 the writing probably could be a bit strange in places. Certain phrases they might use back then might not be as applicable today, or someone might give you a funny look, like you came from a time machine from an earlier era =)

“Partner in crime” i heard it, but that phraze… it took me several days to figure it out, but with your help i did it! Thank you so much! i am stiil reading and translating the story, so i think i will ask here again and again)