Unsolved crimes have a particular fascination, none more so than unsolved murders. The horror of the crime itself, the mystery surrounding it, the notion of a killer on the loose, the insight into primitive police work, the chance to speculate about the identity of the killer after so many years have passed - all these aspects of unsolved murder cases make them compelling reading. For this collection Jonathan Oates has selected over 20 varied and intriguing cases from the late 1830s to just before the Great War. Among them are the headless body found in a bag at Waterloo Bridge, the pregnant maid who was bludgeoned to death, the blackmailer whose corpse was discovered in the gutter, the shooting of the night watchman at the CafA(c) Royal, the barmaid whose corpse rode the train from Hounslow to Waterloo, the dead girl packed in a parcel, and the enigmatic case of Frances Coles, the Whitechapel prostitute who may have been Jack the Ripper's ultimate victim. Each of these case histories is recounted in precise, sometimes shocking detail.
The inadequacy of the detection and forensic techniques employed over a century ago is revealed, as is the corrupt and brutal side of life in the Victorian city.show more