Durham Murders & Misdemeanours
Series: Murders & Misdemeanours
- John Van der Kiste
15th October 2009
A look at the dark side of life, Victorian-style, when nothing was quite as it seemed and a public execution could be an entertaining family day out. Murderers, poachers, thieves, pickpockets and vagabonds all went about their business with impunity. Crime took place on the streets, on public transport, in homes, pubs, prisons, asylums, workhouses and brothels - it was all part of everyday life in Durham in the late 1800s. Naturally the punishments awarded varied considerably, depending upon the crimes committed. Murderers and thieves - particularly horse thieves - could expect the rope, though others could hope for a reprieve. Such a remission would automatically add them to list of convicts to be deported to the penal colonies in Australia. Alternatively, convicts might expect to spend time in gaol or a House of Correction, with hard labour and floggings often thrown in for good measure. This collection of real life crimes vividly recreates the events surrounding them, offering an insight not only into criminal law but also into the social history attached to crime as society evolved and adapted to meet changing industries and class structures. A must have book for any arm chair detective and anyone interested in the social mores of the day.