The Invention of Murder

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

3.42 (1,856 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 2 business days
When will my order arrive?


`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 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 Sweeney 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, and 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.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 128 x 194 x 42mm | 421.84g
  • HarperCollins Publishers
  • HarperPress
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Illustrations (some col.), ports. (some col.)
  • 000724889X
  • 9780007248896
  • 121,988

About Judith Flanders

Judith Flanders is the author of critically acclaimed `A Circle of Sisters' - a biography of Alice Kipling, Georgiana Burne-Jones, Agnes Poynder and Louisa Baldwin - which was nominated for the Guardian First Book Award; the bestselling `The Victorian House - Domestic Life from Childbirth to Deathbed' and the highly acclaimed `Comsuming Passions'. She is a frequent contributor to the `Daily Telegraph', the `Guardian', the `Evening Standard', and the `Times Literary Supplement'. She lives in London.
show more

Review quote

`Engrossing...Flanders excels at following the trends in detection and how this was reflected in writing' Sunday Times
`Riveting and meticulous...Flanders balances judicious facts with lively story-telling...the research behind this book is phenomenal...THE INVENTION OF MUDER is what great non-fiction should be; as erudite as it is entertaining, as gripping as fiction despite being "stranger than fiction"' Scotland on Sunday
` this intelligent and comprehensive compendium of murder, she has left no gravestone unturned' Sunday Telegraph
`Want to be appalled by a book? Then try this one...In more than 400 blood-soaked pages Judith Flanders lovingly traces the progression of notorious Victorian murders and the public's taste for them...with her expert knowledge and guidance we can shudder at the violence or the cold-calculation of murderers...excellent, well-written and hugely well-informed' Daily Mail
`This is so much more than a compendium of famous crimes...Flanders's knowledge of the period is both wide and extraordinarily deep. She writes incisively, and often with dark wit. Best of all, she had a wonderful ability to make connections and to show us familiar sights from unexpected this unrelievedly excellent book' Independent
show more

Rating details

1,856 ratings
3.42 out of 5 stars
5 16% (295)
4 33% (608)
3 33% (613)
2 14% (263)
1 4% (77)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X