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.
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.
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
Malcolm Archibald investigates some of the lesser-known murders, robberies and misdemeanours committed in 19th-century Scotland, contrasting the romantic ‘glens and bens’ notion of the country with the reality of its criminal underworld. As well as dealing with themes in crime, such as poisonings, rural murder and ‘wild women’, the book has chapters devoted to celebrated cases including the Dundee Museum Robbery and the Siege of John Street.
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.
Murder, Mayhem and the Master of Disguise
One of Sheffield’s most infamous sons, Charlie Peace responded to the steel mill accident that crippled him and the loss of a father that impoverished the family by turning to crime – and proving himself a genius at burglary, murder and disguise. Ben Johnson narrates Peace’s career of crime, from petty theft to murder and, eventually, to Armley Gaol and the hangman’s rope.
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.
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.