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.
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.
100 Criminal Lives
The practice of transporting criminals to Australia was abandoned in 1868 and replaced by the convict system: serious offenders were sentenced to ‘penal servitude’ in UK prisons and later released on license. Using information in licensees’ records, this volume presents brief biographies of 100 criminals, arranged in an A–Z, from Samuel Ainge (b.1820) who, after a seemingly blameless life was arrested for embezzlement in 1883, to Mary Wright (b.1853), who drowned her young daughter in 1880.
The Case of the Chocolate Cream Killer
The Poisonous Passion of Christiana Edmunds
During the summer of 1871, Christiana Edmunds went on a poisoning spree in Brighton, sending parcels of poison-laced sweets to some of the town’s most prominent citizens. The sensational trial of ‘the Chocolate Cream Killer’ ended with a death sentence, which was later commuted to life imprisonment. Looking at the Edmunds family history as well as the poisonings, Kaye Jones reveals the tragic past that set Christiana on a path to insanity and murder.
Bombers, Rioters and Police Killers
Violent Crime and Disorder in Victorian Britain
Simon Webb examines a dark aspect of life in Victorian Britain which is less well-known than the poisoners and serial killers: rioting and disorder, mob violence and terrorism. Among the topics covered are the Clerkenwell Outrage, when explosives detonated in the street killed 15 people and injured 120; the West End riots on Black Monday and Bloody Sunday; and the Aldersgate Underground bombing in 1897.
The Battered Body Beneath the Flagstones and Other Victorian Scandals
Victorian newspaper reports, Old Bailey transcripts and coroners’ inquests offer a catalogue of grisly and often bizarre crimes: husbands murdering their wives, suicidal lovers, and mistresses taking revenge on their rivals in love. Drawing on these archival records, this book identifies three main types of offence: crimes of passion; theatrical crimes such as the fatal stabbing of the actor William Terriss at the door of the Adelphi; and unsolved mysteries.
A Miscarriage of Justice and the Fight to End the Death Penalty
The case of Oklahoma death-row inmate Richard Glossip has caused an international outcry, since even those who prosecuted him for murder admit he killed no one. The British reporter who became his close friend tells the story of Glossip’s campaign against three scheduled executions. Slightly off-mint.
A Powerful True Story
Returning to Ireland after 50 years, Gordon Lewis began to investigate the secrets of his childhood, only to be told not to go ‘digging up that old stuff’. Brought up in the 1950s in a secretive Catholic hostel for unmarried women, he had little idea of the hardships his mother had suffered, or her determination to keep her child, in defiance of an intolerant society.
An Italian Immigrant's Search for Respectability in Victorian Bath
Colin Fisher tells the story of Stefan Vallerio Pieroni (1819–1900), a seller of plaster figurines who came to England from Tuscany in 1837. Eventually, he settled in Bath, where he became prominent in the city’s social, cultural and political life.
The Lives and Spies of MI5's Maxwell Knight
Based on recently declassified MI5 files, this is the story of one of Britain’s greatest intelligence operators, Maxwell Knight (1900–1968) or ‘M’. From 1923, when he was recruited for MI5 by Sir George Makgill, the book follows Knight’s career through infiltrating Communist and Fascist movements in Britain during the 1920s and 1930s, the Second World War and the Cold War, and examines his particular talent for recruiting and training special agents.
True Stories from the Operators of the UK's First Four-Jet Bomber
The Vickers Valiant was the first of the RAF 'V bombers' to be developed to carry Britain's nuclear deterrent, and was used to drop both atomic and hydrogen bombs in tests in the late 1950s. Drawing on the personal memories of pilots and crew, this record of the aircraft’s service history includes descriptions of its work as a strike bomber, its engagement during the Suez Crisis, and its reconnaissance and in-flight refuelling duties in the early 1960s.
The Ripper of Waterloo Road
The Murder of Eliza Grimwood in 1838
Fifty years before Jack the Ripper, a prostitute was brutally murdered in a house near Waterloo Bridge. The killer was never identified but in this new analysis of the case, the author draws on the investigating policeman's notes and contemporary newspaper reports to link the crime to a series of other murders and identify a possible serial killer.
Solving the Murder of Dr Helen Davidson
In November 1966, the body of Dr Helen Davidson, a GP in Amersham, was found in Hodgemoor Wood, near her Buckinghamshire home. Police surmised that she had surprised lovers and they had killed her, but no killers were ever found. Fifty years later, Monica Weller reopened this cold case and solved the mystery. In this book she describes her investigation and finally reveals the identity of the murderer.
The Acid Bath Murders
The Trials and Liquidations of John George Haigh
John Haigh did not deny the murders of which he was accused during his trial in 1949 but claimed insanity, citing a history of disturbing dreams and claiming that he had drunk the blood of his victims before dissolving their bodies in sulphuric acid. This new analysis of the famous case draws on unpublished archive material, including letters that Haigh wrote from prison while awaiting execution.
Digging in the Dark
A History of the Yorkshire Resurrectionists
‘It is nature that teaches us to use the bodies of the dead to preserve the bodies of the living,’ argued a solicitor’s clerk found guilty of body snatching in 1831. He is just one of the Yorkshire grave-robbers, from many walks of life, who appear in this compendium of grim tales. Johnson vividly describes the resurrectionists’ macabre methods, the violent public protests against their activities and the private anguish of their victims’ families.
Tales from the Dead-House
Harold Shipman's killing spree prematurely ended the lives of an estimated 284 people, mainly elderly women. The killer's life and personality as well as his deeds are reviewed in this collection of macabre true crime stories. Also included are the tales of Mary Wilson, the Gateshead poisoner of four husbands; Arthur Waite, the murderous dentist; and the brutal gangland killings of Glasgow's so-called ‘ice cream wars’.
Death in the Air
The True Story of a Serial Killer, the Great London Smog, and the Strangling of a City
An unprecedented smog hit London in December 1952, plunging the city into an eerie and poisonous darkness that killed 12,000 people. A few days later, John Christie strangled his wife and, over the following months, committed a further three killings. This true crime story draws together the notorious Rillington Place murders and the environmental disaster to chronicle a dark period in austerity London. Off-mint with a felt-tip mark on upper trimmed edge.
Ballad of the Anarchist Bandits
The Crime Spree that Gripped Belle Époque Paris
On the eve of the First World War, the French capital was terrorized by bandits – but these were no ordinary criminals. This narrative history charts the rise and fall of Jules Bonnot and his gang – violent anarchists motivated by the city’s inequalities of wealth and poverty, who robbed banks and wealthy Parisians. Among their supporters was the young Victor Kibalchich, better known as the Russian revolutionary Victor Serge.
Pretty Jane and the Viper of Kidbrooke Lane
A Victorian Murder Mystery Solved
The brutal murder of Jane Clouson in Eltham, South London in 1871 became a press sensation: the police investigation and the trial kept the public enthralled and the accused's acquittal – after legal rulings disallowed key evidence – caused outrage. This re-examination of the case and the subsequent libel trials fought by the prime suspect reviews the evidence in the light of 21st-century procedure and finally identifies the killer.
The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife and the Missing Corpse
In 1897, 20 years after the death of the reclusive Duke of Portland, a Mrs Druce made the extraordinary claim that her father-in-law, Thomas Charles Druce, who supposedly died in 1864, was in fact the 5th Duke, and her son was heir to his millions. This book follows the legal contortions of the sensational Druce-Portland case.
The Life and Crimes of Victorian England's Most Notorious Doctor
In 1856 Dr William Palmer was convicted of poisoning his best friend with strychnine and was suspected of committing at least a dozen other murders. One of the last people to be publicly hanged in Britain, he was described by Charles Dickens as ‘the greatest villain who ever stood trial at the Old Bailey’. But in this fresh examination of the evidence, journalist Stephen Bates considers Palmer’s motivation and asks whether he really was a prolific and ruthless serial killer.
A Century of Unsolved Homicides
Rumours of black magic and a ritualistic killing surrounded the murder of a farm worker in Warwickshire in 1945, but the authors of this book believe that this was a false trail set by the murderer, who was never convicted. Winner of a Crime Writers' Association award when first published in 1987, this book reviews the evidence from (and in some cases reveals fresh information about) seven intriguing unsolved British murders.