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.
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.
Strangers on a Bridge
The Case of Colonel Abel and Francis Gary Powers
On 10 February 1962, on Glienicke Bridge between East Germany and West Berlin, the American U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers was exchanged for Rudolf Abel, Soviet head of espionage in the USA. James Donovan was the American lawyer who defended Abel in court and negotiated his release to the USSR and the return of Powers. First published in 1964, this is the first-hand, inside story of a tense episode at the height of the Cold War. Felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge and slightly off-mint.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Crime and the Art Market
In this study, Riah Pryor, a former researcher for New Scotland Yard’s Art and Antiquities Unit, examines criminal activity linked to the art market and considers how far the market, with its culture of secretive practice and huge financial transactions, is itself responsible for accommodating art crime. Among the topics discussed are Nazi art theft; forgery; pillaging of cultural heritage in Afghanistan and Iraq; and the agencies tackling the criminals.
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.
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 original sources, including court transcripts, this is the story of the American con man and his four co-conspirators who successfully passed off bills of exchange until a small mistake led to their arrest and a trial that exposed the fragility of the financial system.
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 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.
The Who's Who of British Crime
in the Twentieth Century
Doctor Crippen, Lord Haw-Haw, Fred and Rosemary West, the Kray Twins – this book tells the stories of modern British history's most notorious murderers, traitors, burglars and fraudsters. Its alphabetical listing includes further entries for unsolved mysteries such as Lord Lucan's disappearance and the Brighton Trunk Murders. On a happier note, the 20th century saw extraordinary advances in the fight against crime, so successful police officers, forensic scientists and lawyers also find a place here.
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.
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<./i>
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.
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.