Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in and Around Durham
Covering the whole of County Durham (before the boundary changes of 1974), this survey unearths kidnapping, highway robbery, incest and a burglary at the Co-op in Windy Nook as well as manslaughter and murder, from a strangled labourer in 1624 to the case of Abel Atherton, hanged for shooting Elizabeth Ann Patrick in Chopwell in 1909.
The Lady in the Cellar
Murder, Scandal and Insanity in Victorian Bloomsbury
On 9 May 1879, an upmarket lodging house, 4 Euston Square, was being prepared for the arrival of a new tenant when the body of a well-dressed, middle-aged lady was discovered in the coal cellar. It was obviously a case of murder, and the ensuing police investigation exposed, behind the respectable facade of Euston Square, a sinister web of sexual intrigue involving the housemaid, Hannah Dobbs, and the landlord, Severin Bastendorff. Slightly off-mint.
The Lost Pilots
The Spectacular Rise and Scandalous Fall of Aviation's Golden Couple
A pioneering flight from England to Australia in the 1920s earned Bill Lancaster and Jessie Miller international fame, but their lives unravelled a few years later when Lancaster was tried for murder. Their sensational story describes the financial and personal troubles that led to the death of Miller's lover and the desperate attempt by Lancaster to rebuild his reputation with a long-distance flight that resulted in disaster over the Sahara Desert.
The Sea Devil
The Adventures of Count Felix von Luckner, the Last Raider Under Sail
Slipping past a British blockade in 1916, disguised as a Norwegian merchant vessel, the last fighting sailing ship in the German Navy, Seeadler, set out on a voyage that resulted in the sinking of 14 Allied ships. This account of the adventures of the ship's aristocratic commander describes his remarkable seamanship and gentlemanly conduct (only one Allied life was lost as a result of his victories) as well as outlining his colourful background and post-war life.
Train to Nowhere
One Women's War, Ambulance Driver, Reporter, Liberator
First published in 1948, this Second World War reportage relates the experiences of Anita Leslie, the daughter of a baronet and a distant cousin of Winston Churchill. Her account includes descriptions of working for the Mechanised Transport Corps, driving an ambulance for the Free French Forces, writing letters home from Hitler’s office in the Reich Chancellery, and marching in the Victory Parade in Berlin.
My Dear Ones
One Family and the Final Solution
The discovery of a hidden cache of letters at his late aunt’s house made Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg privy to hitherto hazy details of his father’s life, prompting him to explore his lineage in relation to the history of Europe in the Second World War and the rise of the Nazis.
Whitechapel's Sherlock Holmes
Dick Kirby reopens the casebook of Fred Wensley OBE KPM, the Somerset gardener who joined the Metropolitan Police in 1888 and within months began arresting murderers. An enormously successful detective, he cracked high profile cases including the Bessarabian, Odessa and Vendetta gangs; he played a decisive part in the Siege of Sidney Street; and investigated – although unsuccessfully – the serial murders by Jack the Ripper.