The book is divided into sections based on areas of London: Westminster, Kensington, Islington, Chelsea and Fulham, etc. and then arranged chronologically. Many famous cases are covered, as well as ones that I'd never heard of before. While many of the crimes were "solved" (well, someone was arrested, tried and frequently hanged), there are also many cases that remain unsolved to this day. I was especially intrigued to learn that the street where I stay on my visits to London, Cartwright Gardens, was the site of two unsolved murders in the 1800s. The houses are long since gone, so one can hope that the ghosts of the victims have also departed the area!
|Murder of Olive Yong from Illustrated Police News|
The only slight quibble I have with the book is the tendency for some repetitive language. The phrase "things weren't looking too good for" defendants in murder trials is used multiple times, as is the habit of calling suspects a "cove." Still, if you are discussing murders, suspects and trials, I guess there are only so many ways to say the same thing over and over!
I think anyone with an interest in London history or true crime would enjoy this book. I especially enjoyed the many illustrations from the sadly defunct Illustrated Police News, particularly the startled expressions and wild gestures of those who found the murder victims. If you've already visited London and been on one of the many Jack the Ripper or ghosts tours, this book provides ample information for you to design your own "murder house tour" on your next visit!
Final Verdict for Murder Houses of London: Five Gherkins, for being a detailed and well-illustrated look at the violent side of London's history