The Invention of Murder

  • by Judith Flanders
  • Narrated by Janice McKenzie
  • 18 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A deeply engaging and completely original book about nineteenth-century Britain's fascination with good quality murder.
Murder in nineteenth-century Britain was ubiquitous - not necessarily in quantity but in quality. This was the era of penny-bloods, early crime fiction and melodramas for the masses. This was a time when murder and entertainment were firmly entwined.
In this meticulously researched and compelling book, Judith Flanders, author of Consuming Passions, takes us back in time to explore some of the most gripping, gruesome and mind-boggling murders of the nineteenth-century. Covering the crimes (and myths) of Sweeney Todd and Jack the Ripper, as well as the lesser known but equally shocking acts of Burke and Hare, and Thurtell and Hunt, Flanders looks at how murder was regarded by the wider British population - and how it became a form of popular entertainment.
Filled to the brim with rich source material - ranging from studies of plays, novels and contemporary newspaper articles, A Social History of Murder brings to life a neglected dimension of British social history in a completely new and exciting way.

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What the Critics Say

"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)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

How we once lived

There's a wealth of background histrical research behind this book. It's well-read and has touches of levity. It's essentially a string of murder cases, with the "facts" compared/contrasted with contemporary newspaper, theatical and other opinion. The contrast between how things were done "then" and "now is highlighted. I would have welcomed some occasional editing and a little more overview to provide a chronological context for the "set piece" cases. That said, this is a book that will provide fresh material and insights for both the historian and the literary scholar.
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- Ian

Murder Tales

This is a competently read version of the bestselling book. It is essentially a string of tales recounting murders and their treatment in the media during the Victorian era, some familiar (Murder in the Red Barn, Jack the Ripper).

Its strength lies in it's episodic nature allowing the listener to dip in and out without losing the thread.
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- Robert

Book Details

  • Release Date: 20-01-2011
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Limited