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.
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.
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’.
The Mile End Murder
The Case Conan Doyle Couldn't Solve!
Like his fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle enjoyed applying his mind to unsolved crimes, and the murder in 1860 of wealthy widow Mary Emsley was one such case. This book tackles the problem afresh, picking apart the evidence against the man who was hanged for the crime and, unlike Conan Doyle, reaching a conclusion as to the identity of the real killer. Off-mint.
The Disappearance of Maria Glenn
A True Life Regency Mystery
The sudden disappearance of 16-year-old Maria Glenn in Taunton in 1817 gripped the nation. She and her alleged abductors gave such different versions of what happened that one of them had to be lying. This rollercoaster story of deceit and betrayal tells how the reputed heiress to West Indian plantations was kidnapped by a local farming family hoping to force her to marry one of their sons. Maria was rescued and four defendants imprisoned…but then the townspeople turned on Maria.
Crime's Strangest Cases
Extraordinary but True Stories from Over Five Centuries of Legal History
Convinced that God would save him, John Lee was calm in the face of the executioner at Exeter Prison in 1885. His confidence proved well founded when three times the hangman's trapdoor failed to open, resulting in his reprieve. This collection of crime and punishment oddities ranges from a 13th-century ‘trial by battle’ to a phantom villain at Derby Magistrates Court in 2001.
The Victorian Master Criminal
Charles Peace and the Murders of Cock and Dyson
Charles Peace had served several short prison terms for burglary before he killed a policeman during a robbery in Manchester in 1876. Later the same year a second murder provoked a nationwide hunt for Peace, who was only apprehended two years later in London, where he had been living luxuriously on the proceeds of his crimes. This book tells the story of one of Victorian England's most notorious criminals, his trial, eventual confession and execution.
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, with the police investigation and trial keeping the public gripped and the accused's acquittal (largely due to legal rulings disallowing key evidence) causing 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 culprit of this long-unsolved killing.
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.
Murder & Crime: London
Within weeks of breaking auction house records, when bought by a Bond Street art dealer, Gainsborough's portrait of the Duchess of Devonshire was sensationally stolen, not to surface again for 25 years. This compendium of London crime describes 18 notorious felonies in the capital from Guy Fawkes and Jack the Ripper to Crippen and Christie.
Scotland Yard's History of Crime in 100 Objects
Established in 1875, Scotland Yard's private collection of items gathered from notorious crime scenes, informally known as the Black Museum, represents a history of crime on British soil. Each of the artefacts chosen for this book prompts an exploration of a different area of criminal activity, the objects ranging from the poisoned pellet used to assassinate Georgi Markov in 1978 to the fingerprint-covered ketchup bottle that helped convict the Great Train Robbers in 1964.
From the murder of sweet Fanny Adams in 1867 to that of Florence Dennis – shot in the head and left in a ditch in 1894 – Jan Bondeson has scoured the archives of the Victorian Illustrated Police News (IPN) to give accounts of 56 murders, with background details of the victims and the fates of the killers. Each case features at least one illustration – often depictions of the crime scene and the scaffold – from the pages of the IPN.
The Thieves of Threadneedle Street
The Victorian Fraudsters Who Almost Broke the Bank of England
Although still in his twenties, Austin Bidwell was an experienced international criminal at the time of his arrest for a fraud on the Bank of England in 1873. Based on court transcripts, witness statements, diaries and letters, this book tells the story of the American con man and his four co-conspirators who successfully passed off bills of exchange for large sums before a small mistake led to their arrest and a trial that exposed the fragility of the financial system.
Gangs, Vice and Packet Rats: 19th-Century Crime and Punishment
The crowds of immigrants, merchants, sailors, slave traders and soldiers passing through the colonial port of 19th-century Liverpool provided an ideal cover for gang-led criminality and drink-fuelled depravity. This entertaining survey of Liverpool’s Victorian underworld presents a litany of crime stories, including murder, robbery, prostitution and bodysnatching, many of which involved sailor gangs like the notorious Packet Rats. The presence of Irish Catholic immigrants in the city, as Archibald points out, also raised tensions.
Crime in 19th Century Scotland
This true crime book investigates some of the lesser-known murders, robberies and misdemeanours committed in 19th-century Scotland; and while it pursues a thematic approach to crime, including poisoning, rural murders and drink-related offences, it also reserves stand-alone chapters for the Dundee Museum Robbery and the Siege of John Street. Archibald is keen to contrast the romantic ‘glens and bens’ notion of Scotland with the reality of a cruel and desperate criminal underworld.
The Secret Train Robber
The Real Great Train Robbery Mastermind Revealed
The London crime scene of the 1950s and 1960s was rife with notorious villains such as the Krays and the Richardsons, but this book reveals that behind the headline-grabbers there was an unsuspected mastermind planning the Great Train Robbery and a string of other major robberies, a shadowy Mr Big controlling London's crime from the cover of his day job as a solicitor's clerk. His only confidant, his nephew Lee Sturley, tells the story.
The Count of Scotland Yard
The Controversial Life and Cases of DCS Herbert Hannam
DCS Herbert Hannam was one of the most compelling characters in Scotland Yard and the CID during the post-war period; in this biography of Hannam, Wade describes some of the sensational crimes he investigated in the mid 1950s and the unsolved murder of Emily Pye.
Age of Assassins
A History of Conspiracy and Political Violence 1865–1981
Introduced by a discussion of justifiable killing and the attempts to kill Hitler, this book presents a catalogue of political assassins, from John Wilkes Booth, the man who shot Abraham Lincoln, to the failed attempt on Ronald Reagan’s life in 1981.
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.
There Must be Evil
The Life and Murderous Career of Elizabeth Berry
In 1887, Elizabeth Berry, a young widow employed as a nurse at the Oldham workhouse, became notorious throughout the country, having murdered her own daughter; and there were suspicions surrounding another death – that of Elizabeth’s mother. Here, the celebrated crime author Bernard Taylor investigates the disturbing life of Elizabeth Berry and concludes that, although she was indicted for a single murder, she was in fact a cold-blooded serial killer.
Inside the Minds of Britain's Most Notorious Criminals
The Criminal Justice Act of 2003 allowed judges to sentence the perpetrators of particularly shocking crimes to a ‘whole life order’, with no chance of release. This book examines the lives of murderers currently serving these sentences in British prisons, such as Ian Huntley and Rose West. Debating the question of whether life really should mean life, the reports investigate each inmate’s motivations for committing their crimes as well as their subsequent attitudes to the offences and their imprisonment.
A History of Heads Lost and Heads Found
'A severed head can be many things: a loved one, a trophy, scientific data, criminal evidence, an educational prop, a religious relic, an artistic muse, a practical joke.' Larson surveys all these fates of human heads in a strange and often gruesome history that ranges from primitive tribes' shrunken heads to bizarre experiments in bringing guillotined heads back to life, and discusses issues such as the spectacle of public execution, the human face and the act of decapitation.
The Secret Poisoner
A Century of Murder
In the 19th century, homicidal poisoning was considered a grave threat to society, yet prosecutors were commonly frustrated by lack of evidence. Stratmann chronicles how, during a century-long battle of wits between the law, medicine and the public, the new science of forensic toxicology evolved to thwart the poisoner’s art. Painful death, post-mortems and executions darken a gripping narrative that includes, among others, the notorious cases of Eliza Fenning and Betty Eccles.
The Good Old Days
Crime, Murder and Mayhem in Victorian London
The moral tone of Britain's elite may have been high in the 19th century but the reality for many of the people living in the world's richest city was squalor, drunkenness, violence and crime. Drawing on contemporary accounts, this tour of Victorian London lifts the lid on the living conditions of the poor and describes some of the capital's most notorious crimes and criminals. Slightly off-mint.
Bristol & Bath Whodunnit?
Anger, adultery and avarice lie behind the 20th-century cases featured here – one of which ended in the shortest murder trial on record (at just six minutes). The book explores the motivations of otherwise unremarkable people who were driven to kill; it also describes three brutal unsolved murders, and tells the story of one killer caught through the Crimewatch UK programme.
Mafia and Organized Crime
A Beginner's Guide
Who are the Mafia? Why are they so glamorized in popular culture? And how much damage do they really cause? The answers to these and other questions can be found in this lucid primer. Debunking the myths, it reveals the harsh realities of global organized crime from Russia to Mexico, and charts the trail of human misery and economic instability created by extortion, drug-running, money-laundering and human trafficking.
Trials of Passion
Crimes in the Name of Love and Madness
In judging ‘crimes of passion’, where should we draw the line between the ‘mad’ and the ‘bad’? This question featured prominently at several sensational trials between 1870 and 1914 as lawyers began to argue with psychiatrists over the inner lives of murderers. Focusing on three such trials in different countries, this book uses court and asylum records, letters and newspaper accounts to highlight the social debates prompted by the mind doctors’ new concepts of insanity.
The Mad Sculptor
In 1937 Americans were devouring pulp fiction, while newspapers claimed that a wave of 'sex fiends' was engulfing the nation. So when three women were killed in a swish New York borough the murders became a tabloid sensation. This much-acclaimed title delves into the background of the perpetrator Robert Irwin, a failing sculptor with a history of precarious mental health, and follows his flight, capture and trial as well as the aftermath of the case.
They All Love Jack
Busting the Ripper
The mystery surrounding Jack the Ripper's crimes has led to more than a century of obsessive theorizing about his identity. Now, indignant at Ripperologists' tendency to believe the 19th century's 'greatest liars', Bruce Robinson offers 'a repudiation of virtually everything' published on the subject; his lengthy but lively analysis of the evidence exposes a web of corruption and cover-up that helped the killer to escape. Felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
Crime and Punishment in Victorian London
A Street-level View of the City's Underworld
Tales of crime-ridden slums and the activities of pickpockets, garotters, swindlers and pornographers loomed large in the minds of Victorian Londoners, and those aspects of the city's past continue to fascinate today's readers of historical fiction. Novelist Ross Gilfillan presents his research into the real-life stories of London's poorest and most desperate residents in the mid 19th century, and describes the authorities' changing approaches to the prevention and punishment of crime.
Adventures of Pirates, Scoundrels, and Other Rebels
Whether anarchists, criminals, free thinkers or revolutionaries, outlaws hold a perennial fascination for the safe, law-abiding majority. Richly illustrated in colour and black-and-white, this book charts the exploits of forest outlaws from Robin Hood to Henry Thoreau; seafarers such as Francis Drake and the female pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read; sharpshooters such as Jesse James and Billy the Kid; and city hoodlums from Bonnie and Clyde to Jacques Mesrine.
Murder and Crime: Stirling
Once the capital of Scotland, Stirling is an ancient city with a long and often bloodthirsty history, the dark streets of its Old Town providing a haven for ne'er-do-wells. Illustrated with a wide range of archive material, this book trawls though the town's grisly catalogue of fraud, robbery, assault and murder. Ten cases are examined in depth, while an appendix explores the work of the Circuit Court of Justiciary.
Beggars, Cheats and Forgers
A History of Frauds Through the Ages
Identity theft and pyramid schemes seem very modern problems, but such scams rely on the same techniques that have been used by fraudsters throughout history to exploit their victims' greed, vanity or naivety. David Thomas has delved into the National Archives to uncover the stories behind a host of cons, forged documents and fraudulent beggars – as well as a 70-year spate of 'Spanish prisoner' letters, the Victorian ancestors of today's emails from Nigerian princes.
A History: 1883–2006
The Special Branch of the Metropolitan Police was originally formed to combat a campaign of Irish republican terrorism, but soon took on wider responsibility for the monitoring of anarchists, Bolsheviks and suffragettes. This book presents a complete history of the service until its 2006 merger with the Anti-Terrorist Branch. Combining documentary sources with recollections from their own former colleagues in Special Branch, the authors trace its distinguished history and describe many acts of bravery and high-risk intelligence-gathering.
Cornwall Murder Files
Famous Cases Solved and Unsolved
A murder case usually excites public interest and when the crime takes place in a small community it is perhaps even more of a sensation. This true-crime selection recounts a number of murders committed in Cornwall during the later 20th and early 21st centuries and includes some intriguing unsolved killings such as that of millionaire farmer Les Bate in 2002.
Pinkerton's Great Detective
The Amazing Life and Times of James McParland
Created in 1850, Pinkerton's National Detective Agency used operatives renowned for their skills of subterfuge, infiltration and investigation – and none more so than James McParland, who even featured in a Sherlock Holmes story. This detailed but very readable biography from the author of Nimrod charts the famous cases of this real-life super-sleuth, including his infiltration of the Molly Maguires and his hunt for the Wild Bunch, and sheds new light on Pinkerton's cloak-and-dagger methods.
Crime in Wartime London
At a time when most Londoners were pulling together in the face of terrible adversity, a criminal minority was taking advantage of blitz and blackout to rob and murder. Here, the renowned crime writer Simon Read paints a vivid picture of what life was like in 1940s London as he describes the crimes of the most notorious killers, among them the 'Blackout Ripper', the Elephant Boys, John 'Acid Bath' Haigh and the infamous Rillington Place murderer, John Christie.
Foul Deeds in Islington
Islington may now be one of the most fashionable areas of London, but it was once a dark and dangerous place. This absorbing book charts the many shocking crimes committed within its purlieus, and profiles their perpetrators: police killers Thomas Cooper and Ronald Marwood, the poisoner George Chapman, the child murderer Celestina Somner, and Kenneth Halliwell, who bludgeoned his lover, the playwright Joe Orton, to death on Noel Road.