Usually ships next business day
Shipping options »
List Price $26.99
Hardcover
In Stock
Order

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

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

Author Judith Flanders
Publisher Thomas Dunne Books
Publication Date 2013-07-23
Section European History
Type New
Format Hardcover
ISBN 9781250024879

“Superb. . . . Flanders’s convincing and smart synthesis of the evolution of an official police force, fictional detectives, and real-life cause célèbres will appeal to devotees of true crime and detective fiction alike.” —Publishers Weekly

In this fascinating exploration of murder in the nineteenth century, Judith Flanders examines some of the most gripping cases that captivated the Victorians and gave rise to the first detective fiction. Murder in the nineteenth century was rare. But murder as sensation and entertainment became ubiquitous, with cold-blooded killings transformed into novels, broadsides, ballads, opera, and melodrama—even into puppet shows and performing dog-acts. Detective fiction and the new police force developed in parallel, each imitating the other—the founders of Scotland Yard gave rise to Dickens's Inspector Bucket, the first fictional police detective, who in turn influenced Sherlock Holmes and, ultimately, even P.D. James and Patricia Cornwell. In this meticulously researched and engrossing book, Judith Flanders retells the gruesome stories of many different types of murder, both famous and obscure: from Greenacre, who transported his dismembered fiancée around town by omnibus, to Burke and Hare’s bodysnatching business in Edinburgh; from the crimes (and myths) of Sweeney Todd and Jack the Ripper, to the tragedy of the murdered Marr family in London’s East End.  Through these stories of murder—from the brutal to the pathetic—Flanders builds a rich and multi-faceted portrait of Victorian society.  With an irresistible cast of swindlers, forgers, and poisoners, the mad, the bad and the utterly dangerous, The Invention of Murder is both a mesmerizing tale of crime and punishment, and history at its most readable.

There are no customer reviews for this item yet.

Support Your Local Indie Bookstore

Here are a few of the ways you can support your bookstore during challenging and uncertain times.

Learn More »

Noteworthy Signed Books: Join the Club!

Join our Signed First Edition Club (or give a gift subscription) for a signed book of great literary merit, delivered to you monthly.

Learn More »

Our Frequent Buyer Card

Members of our Frequent Buyer Program receive benefits at Harvard Book Store and harvard.com. Sign up for free!

Learn More »