- Hardcover: 556 pages
- Publisher: Harper; First Edition edition (2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0007248881
- ISBN-13: 978-0007248889
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.7 x 9.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,576,201 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Revelled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime Hardcover – 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
The premise is not only sound, but downright intriguing. The confluence in the early 19th Century of at least the beginnings of leisure time among the laboring classes, the introduction and slow but inexorable growth of mass circulation newspapers, and the much-deferred official attention to not only the detection but the prevention of crime combined to spawn a febrile public interest in significant misdeeds, and, as might be expected, particularly murder.
Flanders undertakes in this book to portray in great detail the most notorious killings and proceeds to paint a vivid picture of how they were given lives of their own, if you will, through serialization, fictionalization, dramatization, and every other `zation' one can conceive. My problem with the work is not its composition because few writers of History can equal Flanders' easy but elegant writing style.Read more ›
Some of the crimes here are famous; Flanders winds up with a final chapter that includes the ravages of Jack the Ripper, which in her telling seems a murder spree culmination of all the ones she describes preceding it.Read more ›
With her two previously published, critically acclaimed and commercially successful books; "The Victorian House" and "Consuming Passions", Judith Flanders has proven that there is no other contemporary writer that can compare to her knowledge of Victorian society. She returns to that era with this book cataloguing the murders, punishment and society's mixed reactions of fear and insatiable curiosity fed by the sensationalism of contemporary media. Lurid newspaper stories, plays, marionettes, pamphlets, ballads, guided mini-tours, books by popular authors (Conan-Doyle, Dickens, R.L. Stevenson, Collins et al) and wax museums riveted the attention of the public, creating a profitable commodity for entrepreneurs.
Executions were public events attended by multitudes, akin to today's major sports events. In 1823, over forty thousand persons gathered to watch the execution of John Thurtell, who bludgeoned a rival gambler to death and disposed of the corpse in a pond. Twenty years later, the murderous Manning couple had an audience 50,000 people at their hanging. This process was repeated with the many crimes that beset the times.
That was also the time when the London Metropolitan police was created in 1829 with 3,000 men, eventually growing to a force 12,000 officers. New investigating techniques were being developed; forensics and post-mortem autopsies were evolving rapidly, as tools in the hands of trained detectives, in the hunt for criminals.
Flanders enumerates every murder, its grizzly details and graphic cruelty, the investigation leading to the arrest, trial and punishment of the perpetrator.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Murder most foul – and more than enough to satisfy even the intensely curious.
That said, there are so many tales of evil deeds and how the British media responded to... Read more
She as an author is very wordy. There are facts about the cases, but it is less fluid more focused on press related content. Read morePublished 1 month ago by kayti r.
It took me a few days to digest this book because it can drag a bit with detail but I found it very interesting. Some people may find it boring.Published 3 months ago by FictionalGypsy
Fascinating history of death and the Victorian period. I never knew CSI had it's start in the 1800s.Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
I found this a bit hard to read. Never captured my attention.Published 7 months ago by Michael Stevens
I loved Ms. Flanders other books on Victorian London (The Victorian City, Inside the Victorian Home) but this particular book is a bit harder to wade through - the writing doesn't... Read morePublished 11 months ago by A. McCullough
I was bored to tears. Lots of dates and names...snooze...Published 11 months ago by Whitney Reinhart
Overall I found this book to be disappointing. With such an intriguing subject matter and title, it did not deliver. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Marie Petto