‘Took a lot of breakin’ down’ in Yellow Slugs by E.C. Bailey

He gazed at Bell with large, solemn eyes. “His wife! He’d schooled her thorough. Ever hear anything more miserably appealing than her on her dear babies and poor old Mrs. Wiven? Not often? No. Took a lot of breakin’ down.”

A part of Yellow Slugs by H.C. Bailey.

The dialogue was between the detective and police superintendant, after the detective solved the case. In many cases, Bailey’s style is too brief, omitting subject or verb in the sentences.

But what’s the real meaning of took a lot of breakin’ down in this paragraph?

Answer

In the context of an interrogation, to break down (or just break) a suspect/witness is to pressure them until they confess/reveal the truth.

The quote implies she was thoroughly prepared for the interview, and it was a lot of work to get the truth from her.

Attribution
Source : Link , Question Author : user58207 , Answer Author : Neil W

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