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.
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.
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.
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.