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An excellent historical true crime book. Fourteen of these fifteen cases I hadn't heard of before, and Farrell describes the murders in great detail. He also includes information on the context of the crime. I know a lot about true crime and a reasonable amount about Victorian England, but I still learned something from this book.
The conventional view of Victorian England is one of prudishness, rigid class structure, and foggy streets. It was also a time of some spectacular murders. Jack the Ripper immediately springs to mind, but there were other murders that also captured the attention of tabloids and the general public to a much lesser extent. Some of these murders the general reader may never have heard of, but each case introduced some forensic tool still in use today. One such case was the Lothario of Portland Town in 1845. James Delarue and his younger friend, Thomas Henry Crocker, enjoyed casual sex with a number of young servant girls, bar maids, and other powerless women with no male protectors. James Delarue's body is discovered in a field by Thomas Crocker, but Crocker doesn't inform the police that he knew the victim. This case is not about forensics, but about the investigative methods used by the police: witness statements, searches of rooms of suspects, and use of a timeline to trace movements of Delarue and Crocker. This is the first case in which such investigative tools are used in tandem by the police to gather enough circumstantial evidence to prosecute.
Each case is presented in chronological order and one can trace the development of the increased use of either a forensic tool or investigative method or both. The book is about the drama of murder, but about the methods used to arrest and convict the guilty party. The book should appeal to those interested in forensics and police procedure.
I was pleasantly surprised at how well written the stories were in this book. It was well researched, fast moving and very entertaining. I really enjoyed it and hope to read more books by the same author.
This was a very enjoyable book. It was well researched and the writing was very good. I would certainly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys true crime, and to those who like to read Ann Rule's books.