The Invention of Murder

The Invention of Murder

How the Victorians Revelled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime

Book - 2013
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In this exploration of murder in the nineteenth century, Judith Flanders explores some of the most gripping cases that fascinated the Victorians and gave rise to the first detective fiction. She 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.
Publisher: New York :, Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press,, 2013
Edition: First U.S. edition
ISBN: 9781250024879
Branch Call Number: 364.1523 FLANDERS
364.1523 Flanders 2013
Characteristics: xi, 556 pages ; illustrations ; 25 cm


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Jan 05, 2017

so far its ok very interesting though. half way finish. Book is getting better. so far the book is a little repative could of been reduce about a hundred pages. just finish this book it was really interesting how early 19 century white people tend to try to make money off someone grissly death. very interesting subject matter. and it still happens today.

Oct 27, 2016

Judith Flanders research is flawless if a little over done. I enjoyed reading how crime not only brought about what we consider a modern police force, but also period entertainment. I do feel that she could have left out half of the examples of books, plays, puppet show, etc. that were influenced by said murder. I did enjoy the book very much even if I did skip a few pages along the way.

ezhurbin Jul 21, 2016

Victorian era is Flanders' forte and this book does not disappoint. This book is a guide-book to the famous murder crimes of the Victorian period and the society's reactions to them. Each chapter is structured in the same way-it opens with the details of a murder case, then follows the trial & the execution, then the society's response to the crime-invention of the police force, the Scotland Yard, the detective force,- and then how the crime played out the in pop-culture of the time-penny-dreadfuls, plays, shows, books, Madame Tussauds, etc. Most of the final chapter deals with Jack the Ripper. As all of Flanders' books, this books is meticulously researched and full of minute details, which, at times, can get boring and feel like a catalog, nevertheless it is a very entertaining and thrilling read. Another great thing about this book is that it references famous literally works of the Victorian period-Charles Dickens's, Thomas Hardy's, Stevenson's Jekyll and Hyde, Stoker's Dracula, etc,.-and explains how those authors were influenced by the murder cases and the social atmosphere at that time, and how they incorporated the criminal and detective elements of the crimes into their works. I think that gives an interesting insight and adds an additional dimension to those works, that is not readily apparent to a modern reader.
I enjoyed reading this book as much as Victorians enjoyed death and detection!

Nov 28, 2011

What a great title and a real disappointment. Full of meandering details that I could hardly find the beginning or end of, and numerous footnotes that are on almost every page, this non fiction read is a quagmire of prose that I barely escaped from.


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