In December 1811 the family and household of a young shopkeeper on the Ratcliffe Highway in the East End of London were brutally bludgeoned to death. A few days later an innkeeper and his family met the same fate. These bloody murders caused panic through the neighbourhood and a sensation across the nation; the magistracy and watch were exposed as incapable and floundering.The scandal led indirectly to the foundation of the Metropolitan Police in 1829.
The story of the murders and the bumbling investigation is vividly told. As in a classic whodunnit, there is a large but limited cast of suspects, most of whom are closely linked to one another and to one or both victims. Evidence is presented, sometimes obliquely so that the reader is given parts of the puzzle to solve, and testimonies are forensically dissected. Sometimes background details become extended and slightly impeded the flow of the narrative and the ending is a little disappointing (perhaps I was unrealistic in expecting a rather more ingenious solution to a two hundred year old mystery) but apart from these niggles this is an outstanding read.
Thrilling. February 2013; 364 pages
- Having reviewed over 1200 books on this blog, I have now written two myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. The Kids of God is a thriller set in a dystopia ruled by fascist paramilitaries. Both are available as paperbacks and on Kindle through Amazon. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57