In this riveting true crime account, acclaimed author P. D. James, the "Queen of the English mystery novel" (Newsweek) joins forces with historian T. A. Critchley to re-create the Radcliffe Highway murders, a series of vicious crimes committed in 1811 ... The scene is the London Docks near Wapping Old Stairs, a sinister neighborhood where pirates were often hanged. The first victims were two hardworking shopkeepers, along with their baby and shop boy. Twelve days later and only a few blocks away, an equally blameless pub owner was found together with his wife and servant, victims of equal cruelty and apparent absence of motive. The serial killings provoked nationwide notoriety and panic. With the atmosphere and pacing of her best novels, James reveals the rudimentary police system of Regency London coping with a major murder investigation -- and crimes that rank up there with Jack the Ripper, the Boston Strangler, and Son of Sam as the very symbol of murderous and unthinking brutality.
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P. D. James was born in Oxford in 1920 and educated at Cambridge High School for Girls. From 1949 to 1968 she worked in the National Health Service and subsequently in the Home Office, first in the Police Department and later in the Criminal Policy Department. All that experience has been used in her novels. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Royal Society of the Arts and has served as a Governor of the BBC, a member of the Arts Council, where she was Chairman of its Literary Advisory Panel, on the Board of the British Council and as a magistrate in Middlesex and London. She has won awards for crime writing in Britain, America, Italy and Scandinavia, including the Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Award. She has received honorary degrees from seven British universities, was awarded an OBE in 1983 and was created a life peer in 1991. In 1997 she was elected President of the Society of Authors.She lives in London and Oxford and has two daugFrom Publishers Weekly:
In 1811, London's East End was the scene of a series of murders so brutal and irrational that they caused panic throughout the city, which lacked a central police force. This engrossing account, marking the American nonfiction debut of British mystery novelist James, details the seven vicious ("brains battered out and throats butchered"), apparently motiveless slayings (which occurred first in a linen shop, then, days later, in a nearby pub); the confused efforts of local "police" groups; and the cases' suspiciously abrupt closing after suspect John Williams, a seaman and lodger at the Pear Tree public house, committed suicide in jail, thereby sealing his "guilt" and prompting a bizarre parade of his corpse (together with a murderous maul) throughout the city. James and police historian Critchley use documents and contemporary news accounts splendidly, pointing up the incompetence of the investigators and offering an intriguing view of what really happened. First published in Britain in 1971, this will certainly please James's following here.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Constable, 1971. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. First Edition. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0094580200