The invention of murder : how the Victorians revelled in death and detection and created modern crime

by Flanders, Judith,

Format: Print Book 2013.
Availability: Available at 14 Libraries 14 of 15 copies
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Andrew Bayne Memorial Library Nonfiction 364.1 Flan
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Andrew Carnegie Free Library Nonfiction 364.152 FLANDE
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CLP - Allegheny Regional Non-Fiction Collection HV6535.G4 F43 2013
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CLP - Sheraden Non-Fiction Collection HV6535.G4 F43 2013
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CLP - Squirrel Hill Non-Fiction Collection HV6535.G4 F43 2013
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Community Library of Castle Shannon Non Fiction 364.1523 Flanders
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Monroeville Public Library Non-fiction 364.152 FLANDERS
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Mt. Lebanon Public Library Non-Fiction 364.1523 Fla
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Pleasant Hills Public Library Nonfiction 364.152 F58
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Shaler North Hills Library Non-Fiction 364.152 F
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South Fayette Township Library Nonfiction 364.152 FLA
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Whitehall Public Library Nonfiction Collection NF 364.15230942 F613
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CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction CHECKED OUT
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Summary

"Superb... Flanders's convincing and smart synthesis of the evolution of an official police force, fictional detectives, and real-life cause c#65533;l#65533;bres will appeal to devotees of true crime and detective fiction alike." - Publishers Weekly , starred review

In this fascinating exploration of murder in nineteenth century England, Judith Flanders examines some of the most gripping cases that captivated the Victorians and gave rise to the first detective fiction

Murder in the nineteenth century was rare. But murder as sensation and entertainment became ubiquitous, with cold-blooded killings transformed into novels, broadsides, ballads, opera, and melodrama-even into puppet shows and performing dog-acts. Detective fiction and the new police force developed in parallel, each imitating the other-the founders of Scotland Yard gave rise to Dickens's Inspector Bucket, the first fictional police detective, who in turn influenced Sherlock Holmes and, ultimately, even P.D. James and Patricia Cornwell.

In this meticulously researched and engrossing book, Judith Flanders retells the gruesome stories of many different types of murder in Great Britain, both famous and obscure: from Greenacre, who transported his dismembered fianc#65533;e around town by omnibus, to Burke and Hare's bodysnatching business in Edinburgh; from the crimes (and myths) of Sweeney Todd and Jack the Ripper, to the tragedy of the murdered Marr family in London's East End. Through these stories of murder-from the brutal to the pathetic-Flanders builds a rich and multi-faceted portrait of Victorian society in Great Britain. With an irresistible cast of swindlers, forgers, and poisoners, the mad, the bad and the utterly dangerous, The Invention of Murder is both a mesmerizing tale of crime and punishment, and history at its most readable.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "The Victorians, everyone knows, made the most out of mourning; the clothes they wore after a death, for example, signaled to the world at what stage they were in their grief from the deepest black of widow's weeds through shades of purple leading to a normal range of colors. This social history catalogs the Victorians' parallel obsession with sensational crimes real, fictional, and hybrids of both (as in broadsides that took great liberties with the truth, or novels with references to crimes of the day, like the practice of garroting as a street crime, which appears in Trollope's Phineas Finn). Historian Flanders gives a brisk review of crimes and criminals that fascinated the Victorians, including Jack the Ripper and the body snatchers William Burke and William Hare, along with many other criminals, crimes, and public practices, like sightseeing in just-discovered crime scenes (no police tape protected the scene). This compendium is a little too brisk, presenting many facts but very little analysis. Still, it will appeal to historical true-crime fans and Victorian-era enthusiasts.--Fletcher, Connie Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Social historian Flanders (Inside the Victorian Home: A Portrait of Domestic Life in Victorian England) does a superb job of demonstrating the role that the press and fiction writers played in shaping the British public's attitudes toward crime during the 19th century. She captures perfectly the appeal of bloody fiction and macabre news stories: "Crime, especially murder, is very pleasant to think about in the abstract: it is like hearing blustery rain on the windowpane when sitting indoors." But it's unlikely that the British thought of murder much at all during the first decade of the 19th century-in 1810, there were a mere 15 murder convictions in England and Wales combined. The public's perception of random lethal violence changed with the horrific 1811 Ratcliffe Highway killings, brutal mass murders in London's East End that coincided with technological advances that enabled swifter and cheaper production of broadsheets describing the crimes. Flanders's convincing and smart synthesis of the evolution of an official police force, fictional detectives, and real-life cause celebres will appeal to devotees of true crime and detective fiction alike. B&w illus. throughout. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Murder -- Great Britain -- History -- 19th century.
Publisher New York :2013.
Edition First U.S. edition.
Language English
Notes Reprint. Originally published: London : HarperPress, 2011.
Description xi, 556 pages ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 519-535) and index.
ISBN 9781250024879 (hbk.)
1250024870 (hbk.)
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