The Invention of Murder
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The Invention of Murder : How the Victorians Revelled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime

By (author) Judith Flanders

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"We are a trading community, a commercial people. Murder is doubtless a very shocking offence, nevertheless as what is done is not to be undone, let us make our money out of it." Punch Murder in the 19th century was rare. But murder as sensation and entertainment began and became ubiquitous -- transformed into novels, into broadsides and ballads, into theatre and melodrama and opera -- even into puppet shows and performing dog-acts. In this meticulously researched and compelling book, Judith Flanders -- author of 'The Victorian House' -- retells the gruesome stories of many different types of murder -- both famous and obscure. From the crimes (and myths) of Sweeny Todd and Jack the Ripper, to the tragedies of the murdered Marr family in London's East End, Burke and Hare and their bodysnatching business in Edinburgh, to Greenacre who transported his dismembered fiancee around town by omnibus. With an irresistible cast of swindlers, forgers, and poisoners, the mad, the bad and the dangerous to know, 'The Invention of Murder' is both a gripping tale of crime and punishment, and history at its most readable.

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  • Hardback | 556 pages
  • 156 x 238 x 44mm | 907.18g
  • 06 Jan 2011
  • HarperCollins Publishers
  • HarperPress
  • London
  • English
  • 0007248881
  • 9780007248889
  • 95,615

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Author Information

Judith Flanders is the author of the bestselling 'The Victorian House: Domestic Life from Childbirth to Deathbed' (2003) and 'Consuming Passions' (2006), as well as the critically acclaimed 'A Circle of Sisters' (2001) -- a biography of Alice Kipling, Georgiana Burne-Jones, Agnes Poynder and Louisa Baldwin -- which was nominated for the Guardian First Book Award. She is a frequent contributor to the 'Daily Telegraph', the 'Guardian', the 'Evening Standard', and the 'Times Literary Supplement'. She lives in London.

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Review quote

Praise for Consuming Passions: '"Consuming Passions" tells the story of Victorian leisure and pleasure as an interrelated and intricate set of transformations!no single book could bind so complex and vast a field within a single theory!(it) leads its crocodile of readers on an eccentric, meandering path through the question of how Victorians took pleasure!its pursuit proves a fascinating, bewildering, marvel-crammed quest.' Guardian 'It is a world explored with much wit and insight!Flanders is excellent!It's a rich mix [and]!fluently written!It has every chance of becoming a bestseller.' Sunday Telegraph 'Formidable![an] excellent study!a major achievement.' Observer

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Customer reviews

Invention of murder.

Invention of murder is an appropriate title for the way this book has been written. After reading the Daily Mail write up on this book, I considered it to be a must have. But after struggling to get to page 36. I had to put this book down. The haphazard way of writting and continual jumping about was way beyond my comprehension of a Best read (Daily Mails words). Dont waste your money, go to the library and lend the book if you have to read it.show more
by Dave Clark