From Boudica and the Romans to the Krays, the motive for crime and murder is just as intriguing today as it has always been! As it is nearly Halloween, this monthâs selection of books offers an overview of crime through history, from an analyticalÂ look at the archaeology of human bones andÂ the science of DNA to the mysteries of skulduggery, murder and punishment.
If, as I did, you loved the revelatory events of Richard III, and the story that evolved around the archaeology of finding âthe man in the car parkâ,Â Past CrimesÂ is a fascinating read. It explains how police forces all over the world use archaeological techniques to help solve crimes – using the same methods as archaeologists to identify and investigate crimes from the past. It introduces some of those techniques and explains not only howÂ they have been used to solve modern crimes, but also to investigate past wrong-doing. Archaeological and historical evidence of crimes from Ancient Egypt to Victorian England is presented, as well as reports on how criminals were judged and punished. It looks at the development of forensic approaches to crime andÂ the methods of collection and analysis of evidence invented by pioneer criminologists.
If you have a fascination withÂ Jack the Ripper or Dick Turpin stories and an interest in history then Underworld LondonÂ is the book for you! ItÂ starts with an account of a public execution at Tyburn and goes on toÂ describe a life of Elizabethan street crime, cutpurses and con men. It moves from theÂ Gordon Riots and highway robbery of the 18th centuryÂ to the rise of prisons, the police and the Victorian era of incarceration. There are some horrific accounts of punishments â from hangings, drawings and quarterings to being boiled in oil at Smithfield! The book also investigates the influence of London’s criminal classes in the 1950s and 1960s including the Krays and the Soho gangs of London. Continue reading »