In this fascinating exploration of the seedy underside of Victorian London, Adrian Gray provides a rich picture of the variety of criminal activity in the city.
The familiar Dickensian themes of grisly murders and ragged street urchins are joined by other dramatic cases, which show patterns of crime and illustrate the causes and effects of changes in criminal law.
The author shows how both pure greed and genuine mental illness were responsible for unpleasant cases - such as the murder of an elderly aristocrat in his bed or the poisoning of a series of 'working girls'.
The author covers the whole spectrum of theft, from the spectacular - including train robberies and the infamous garrotting gangs - to the mundane - such as petty thieving by servants.
Other chapters focus on less publicised topics, including prosecution for possession of obscene material and the widespread rioting that typified popular politics.
Changes in the law are charted, showing how new offences were created from old customs, and how the law was updated to deal with modern problems such as motor cars. In a book that covers the complete range of crime, the reader will meet many colourful characters including Courvoisier, a murderous butler.
With many gruesome details and excellent illustrations, this book will appeal to London and Victorian historians as well as the macabre-minded.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 160 pages, 100 illustrations
- Publisher: The History Press Ltd
- Publication Date: 01/01/2006
- Category: British & Irish history
- ISBN: 9781860773921