Seven centuries of London Life and Murder
Capital Crimes tells the shifting story of crime and punishment in London through vivid recreations of a series of murders that stretch from the killing of the Lord Chancellor Roger Lyett during the Peasants' Revolt in 1381 through to the hanging of Syllou Christofi in 1953. Some of the murderers, such as the psychopath Neville Heath, are still remembered. Others, including the eighteenth-century throat-cutter Gerard Dromelius, are largely forgotten. But all their lives and fates have much to tell us -- about London's changing underworld, about the slow evolution of policing in the capital, and about the strange workings of the law (Elizabeth Lillyman, for example, who murdered her husband in 1675, was found guilty of 'petty treason'). Above all, they provide a fascinatingly sidewise view of London itself over the centuries -- from the crime-ridden alleyways of the Georgian capital to the supposedly respectable suburbs of Finchley, where the notorious 'baby-farmers' Amelia Sach and Annie Walters operated at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Illustrated throughout with contemporary engravings and photographs, this is an essential read for all devotees of London -- and of crime.
MAX DÉCHARNÉ is the author of six previous books, such as Hardboiled Hollywood -- The Origins of the Great Crime Films. His most recent is King's Road -- The Rise & Fall of the Hippest Street in the World. He is a regular contributor to Mojo magazine, and his work has also appeared in a variety of publications including the Sunday Times Colour Magazine, The TLS, The Guardian and Neon. He also works as a tour guide at Kenwood House.
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