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Shocking portraits of women who have committed capital crimes in England’s capital city—from the author of Jack the Ripper: An Encyclopedia.
Women have sometimes been seen as less criminally inclined than men. But, as John J. Eddleston shows in this revealing anthology of female crimes in London, this image is hard to mesh with reality, for the city’s history is crowded with cases of women who broke the law. In vivid detail, he reconstructs a series of dramatic, often harrowing, cases in which women were involved and puts their acts in the context of their times. Taking episodes from the eighteenth century to near the present day, he looks at criminal women of all types, from all walks of life. The work of the London police, the courts, and the prisons is an essential element in his study, and each chapter reveals much about how attitudes toward crime and punishment have changed over the centuries.
Fascinating portraits of these criminal women as individuals emerge from their stories; their cases come to life—as does the London in which they lived. They include Catherine Hayes, who was burnt alive for murdering her husband; three women hanged on the same day for highway robbery; two women executed for rioting; Anne Hurle and Charlotte Newman, who were both hanged for forgery; Florence Bravo, who was sensationally acquitted of murder; and, perhaps most famous of all, Ruth Ellis, whose execution in 1955 provoked an outcry against capital punishment.