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Britain’s Unsolved Murders (Paperback)

P&S History > British History P&S History > By Century > 19th Century P&S History > By Century > 20th Century P&S History > True Crime > Jack the Ripper

By Kevin Turton
Imprint: Pen & Sword True Crime
Pages: 139
Illustrations: 24
ISBN: 9781526726322
Published: 9th September 2019


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Britain has its fair share of unsolved murders. Crimes that have both fascinated and horrified in equal measure, with many as baffling today as they were when the stories first hit the headlines in the national press. Spanning 100 years between 1857-1957, this book re-examines thirteen of these murder cases and retells the stories that have endured and confounded both police and law courts alike. Each chapter provides an account of the circumstances surrounding the killing, of the people caught up in the subsequent investigation and the impact it had on some of their lives. It also explores the question of guilt and to whom it should, or should not, be attached. Each of these murders poses an undeniable truth; no-one was ever proven to have committed the killing despite, in some cases, accusing fingers being pointed, arrests being made and show trials taking place. Consequently, notoriety, deserved or otherwise, was often attached to both victim and accused. But was it ever merited?

From the questionable court case surrounding Scotland’s now famous Madeleine Smith, and the failed police investigation into Bradford’s Jack the Ripper case of 1888, to the mysterious deaths of Caroline Luard and Florence Nightingale Shore at the start of the twentieth century, this book disturbs the dust, sifts the facts and poses the questions that mattered at the time of each murder. Did Harold Greenwood poison his wife in Kidwelly? Who was responsible for the Ripper-like killing of Emily Dimmock and Rose Harsent? Why did Evelyn Foster die on the moor near Otterburn in what became known as the Blazing car murder and who strangled Ann Noblett to death in 1957?

These are just some of the cases examined and the stories behind them. Each and every one, no matter how appalling the crime, still deserving of justice.

This is a good book to tell the stories of some intriguing and contentious cases that have worked their way through the criminal justice system.

Read the full review here

Alan Moss

It investigated 13 murders from 1857-1957.I had not heard of so this sparked my interest. The book was easy to read, well researched and kept my interest. A fascinating look at life before forensics.

NetGalley, Sheila Arroyo

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating description of 13 true crimes. The author is very detailed in providing what clues there are available for each case. Some stories you may know while others will not be familiar to you.

I truly enjoyed learning about each case. If you are a true crime aficionado then this book is for you.

NetGalley, Ily Renfroe

Turton narrates these stories in an engaging style, laying out the events in a straightforward manner.

Beating Tsundoku

The book provides a small selection (13) unsolved murders covering a period from 1857 to 1957.
Unlike other books in this genre it does not provide its own solutions or suggestions, it provides the facts as they are, and highlights the changes in the tools of investigation the police had over this period.
I felt I didn’t need to read each chapter in order as each chapter is independent, so can be dipped in and out of.
An interesting read that may help the reader or amateur investigator want to discover more about one or more of these unsolved murders.

For the Love of Books

A very readable history of some of Britain’s most notorious unsolved crimes. An easy read, and fascinating.

NetGalley, Gillian Shackleton

These are tales of crimes that have gone unsolved for many years.
The detail of research that has gone in is evident in the writing and each tale is interesting. I liked the way the tales travelled in historical time and the more recent cases are at the end of the book.
Although no answers are given to crimes, suggestions are given that are, again well thought out and detailed.
A very interesting read.

NetGalley, Melanie Greaves

It was a good read and covered some really interesting cases that I had never heard of and gave me some things to ponder!

Read the full review here

Reading with Alison

One of the things that made me pick it up was the title ,because I love reading anything especially nonfiction that has to deal with cold cases because these are cases that may never be solve.And sadly these well never be because they happened in the mid 1857 though 1957. This book talks about each case as well as gives the story behind it .As your read it you can definitely tell that the author has done his research on each case and brings them to life.

NetGalley, Elizabeth Means

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A comprehensive and surprising study of 13 unsolved murders that occurred in Britain between 1857 and 1957. An interesting peek into the world of historic criminal investigations.

NetGalley, Leah Ralph

As featured by

Suffolk & Norfolk Life, January 2020

'The best of this month's Hertfordshire-linked books and book news'

Hertfordshire Life, January 2020

A fascinating read true crime lovers will race through this book.Going back in time reading above these crimes was an interesting exciting read

NetGalley, Abby Siverman

Britain has its fair share of unsolved murders, crimes that have both fascinated and horrified in equal measure. Spanning the 100 years between 1857-1957, this book re-examines thirteen of these murder cases. Each chapter provides an account of the circumstances surrounding the killing, of the people caught up in the subsequent investigation and the impact it had on their lives. It also explores the question of guilt and to whom it should, or should not, be attached. For each of these murders no-one was ever proven to have committed the killing despite, in some cases, accusing fingers being pointed, arrests being made and show trials taking place. One for any crime fan you know!

See the full review here

Julian Stockwin Blog

I feel weird saying I enjoyed this book, so a better phrasing is probably that this book fascinated me. There are 13 chapters, each including an unsolved murder, starting in the late 1800’s and finishing in the 1950’s and some of these, wow I just can’t believe that to this day they remain unsolved. It feels like with some of them, the culprit is right in front of them and the police just never noticed, or couldn’t find enough physical evidence to prosecute. I felt disgusted at the way some of these people were murdered. After each chapter, I had to take a minute to collect my thoughts and digest what I just read. Kevin Turton’s writing style for this book is highly informative, and he provides an insight into his own opinion on the murders which I found interesting, especially as I felt like I agreed with him for a lot of it. Reading things like this can be I guess somewhat controversial at times, but many of us have this morbid fascination with murder, and despite absolutely hating the sight of blood, I always find myself drawn to these sorts of books, and I think part of me with this book, wanted to see if I could figure out who did it in some cases. Overall, if you do also have a slight morbid fascination with murder, this is an interesting read, but I do suggest taking a break in between each chapter to compose your thoughts.

Read the full review here

Life and Tea Blog

This book covers thirteen murders from 1857 – 1957, some quite well-known and some less so. The author gives the details then discusses the possible killers, as far as he is able to after so long. Each chapter is detailed and the photographs and images provided are helpful. It’s a fairly easy to read book that you can pick up to read a chapter or two then go back to later.

A good place to start if you’re interested in unsolved murders.

Read the full review here

Rosemarie Cawkwell, Blogger

Kevin Turton's casebook of unsolved murders in Britain over a hundred years is not comprehensive and doesn't make that claim. The cases he does present are examined in minute detail and the end result makes for a thoroughly fascinating read.

Books Monthly

Article: 'New book takes fresh look at murder of servant Rose, 22' as featured by

East Anglian Daily Times, 12th October 2019 – words by Steve Russell

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I love true crime books. It fascinates me knowing what has happened in Britain! Was a great read 5*****

NetGalley, Michelle Griffiths

I love a good book about unsolved murders and this one having just been focused in one's in Britain was fascinating! Really good insight and information about each case

NetGalley, Meggan Turner

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

True crimes stories often focus on the psyche of the murderers, but the very nature of these particular crimes mean the focus is on the victims, and it makes for a refreshing change. I really enjoyed reading about these thirteen fascinating cases, all of which are likely to remain unsolved for all time. Five stars for an intriguingly different read and a spotlight beautifully shone at these thirteen cases of murder.

NetGalley, Caitlyn Lynch

This is a fascinating collection of unsolved murders that will have you scratching your head. Some of the murders were brought to trial but the defendants were either exonerated or not proven guilty. The author has examined the evidence and comes to conclusions as to whether justice was or was not served by the acquittals.
Some of the murderers were never brought to trial. There was insufficient evidence in some and in others, the police bungled the investigation by focusing on the easy answer and never wavering. In all the cases, it must have been horribly frustrating tor those who loved the victims. Often times, it was their reputations that were most sullied. In others, despite an escape from the noose, the lives of those accused were ruined beyond repair. In all cases, it is a sad story with no resolution.
It is however interesting reading. It could be dipped into as each chapter stands alone or it could be read in one fell swoop as I did. Either way, it certainly provides insight into some of the darker corners of British history.

NetGalley, Susan Johnston

I found this to be an interesting read and peak into the world of society and criminal investigations in previous generations. The cases were presented with lots of facts while being written in the manner of a short story. This made for an easy read. It was particularly sad to read of crimes that were somewhat obvious who the killer was, but without modern technology justice was never served. I recommend this for history and true crime buffs.

NetGalley, Morris Morgan

"The author concentrates on significant aspects of the crime and investigation that are in the public domain."

Reviewed by Robert Bartlett

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

UNSOLVED.... That one word brings armchair detectives like me running, every time. I am never disappointed by a book about a single unsolved murder (where a great author takes us as deep as the bottom of the abyss) or a book about multiple unsolved murders, like this one.
There is something undone, unfinished about an unsolved murder. Nothing is a mystery in this world anymore, there is an explanation for everything, so how can a murder go unsolved?
...I enjoyed this book very much, it’s an interesting read, yet it doesn’t cause you to debate major social issues of today or yesterday. This is one I would definitely take on holiday with me, instead of a boring romance novel. I rate this book 5 stars and thank Pen and Sword publishers for the copy.

NetGalley, Colleen Louw

This is an intriguing look at some unsolved murders in Britain... it’s certainly an interesting read!

NetGalley, Christine Wallace

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A well researched and gripping book, perfect for true crime lovers.
I liked the style of writing and how the book was organized.
Highly recommended!

NetGalley, Anna Maria Giacomasso

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed this book from cover to cover. Kevin Turton gives a wonderfully detailed account of each murder and makes you want to explore the murders further. The best part of this book is I have never heard of any of these murders, so the stories were fresh.

NetGalley, Camantha Corsi

Britains Unsolved Murders by Kevin Turton was a well written and well researched book.

It investigated 13 murders from 1857-1957. The majority of them I had not heard of so this sparked my interest. The book was easy to read and kept my interest thoughout. A fascinating look at life before forensics. Made me wonder if they would be unsolved if done in modern Britain.

NetGalley, Hazel Thomson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This was a crime lovers dream. Fascinating cases , thought provoking and well written it was a thoroughly enjoyable read. It examined cases unknown to me , with all the details available. A well researched and thought out examination.

NetGalley, Sarah Dickinson

This is a good read for true crime lovers who enjoy a mystery and like cold cases.

NetGalley, Valerie Shampine

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

An read interesting read about 13 unsolved murders between 1857-1957 in Britain. I had already read about a few of cases mentioned in the book but still the book held my interest. Two cases I found intriguing were the murder of George and Lillian Peach, 1952 and the murder of Evelyn Foster, 1931.

Overall the book is very informativy it gives the reader all details the need to know circumstances surrounding each crime it also gives information regarding the people involved in each case.

Definitely recommended to true crime readers.

NetGalley, S Ballinger

I am a massive true crime fan so this book was right up my street – I do love an unsolved murder!

I knew a few of the stories that are featured in the book but in the main, the majority of the cases that were mentioned in the book were new to me, or the author has added details I was not aware of and that made it all the more enjoyable.

I thought that the length of the chapters was great, there was plenty of detail and it allowed me to find out more if I wanted to outside of the book – I think it would be a great introduction to the different crimes if people wanted to go off and read more around the different murders.

It is 4 stars from me for this one, I really enjoyed the layout and the length of the book as perfect for me! I loved being able to dip in and out of the different cases - Highly recommended!!

NetGalley, Donna Maguire

This is a very interesting book starting with an unsolved case from 1857 and moving through the next one hundred years to the final investigation in 1957. With the gift of hindsight and the huge advances in forensic science and policing methods it is easy to scoff at some of the decisions made by the investigating officers but without these improvements it is clear there would be far more of these unsolved killings across the world.

In each case the author ends the chapter with his opinion as to what really happened and this gives a more modern interpretation of the crime committed and why those who were suspected of murder weren't convicted. In some instances the cases made it all the way to trial and the onus was transferred to the members of the general public who had been sworn in as the jury to make the final decision.

I was able to read an advanced copy of this book thanks to NetGalley and the publishers in exchange for an unbiased review and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading about unsolved true crime stories where, by the end, you don't know whodunnit, which in this book happens not once but thirteen times!

NetGalley, Tracy Wood

A good solid book for the true crime fan.
It was well researched and written.

NetGalley, Karen Kenyon

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

For this mystery and true-crime buff gal, this book is excellent at detailing and explaining some of Britain's most notorious murders, specifically Jack the Ripper, and dating back as early as 1857 to 1957. Some of these murders I've never heard of, as I'm an American citizen, and not native to London. Each chapter is dedicated to a notorious murder that was never solved, detailing the victim's early beginnings to their unfortunate demise. It's not a quick read, but gives immense detail and insight into victim's, their murder, and why it may have come about.

NetGalley, Lindsey Borders

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The book summary is very accurate in this case. "Spanning 100 years between 1857-1957, this book re-examines thirteen of these murder cases and retells the stories that have endured and confounded both police and law courts alike. Each chapter provides an account of the circumstances surrounding the killing, of the people caught up in the subsequent investigation and the impact it had on some of their lives."

I found this book very informative regarding the details surrounding each crime but also regarding the people involved and their backstory. I got a very clear sense of place and time as well as the murder victims. The author provided with the backstory of each victim and in some cases the main murder suspects, which I valued greatly. Knowing the victim is essential in murder investigations, and I felt like the author accomplished that. I also liked that after each murder case presentation, the author offered his opinion and thoughts about how the case was handled. He was objective and offered good arguments that neither favored or condemned the main suspects. He raised important questions whose answers we still don't know, and it's probably why these cases are still open.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in cold cases (unsolved murders) and crime, in general. In fact, I loved this idea for a book, and I wish more books are published in the same vein. Show light over the cases that were neglected and mishandled. I applaud the author and publisher for writing and publishing this book. The victims need justice, and if that is not possible, the least we can do is remember them and have their voices heard.

Overall, what stood out to me in this book was the author's objectivity and keen mind to raise questions the police at the time hadn't bothered to ask. I'm looking forward to more books from this author, hoping for a sequel to this book perhaps. It'd be especially interesting to read about unsolved murders outside the UK.

NetGalley, Athena Greyson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Fabulous and interesting book for true crime lovers. This book is really fascinating and well written.

NetGalley, Heather Bennett

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

When one thinks of unsolved murders in Ritalin, the Jack the Ripper case comes to mind.
This book reexamines this famous case again, and gives you pause for thought who the real killer was.
It also examines the Madeline Smith case and eleven other infamous murders
The book delves into the crime itself, the motives, and possible suspects.
I used to think Britain was very safe, but after reading this book, I realize that murder is lurking around e dry corner.
This is a great book for true crime fanatics.

NetGalley, Barbara Kalman

A short, yet surprising comprehensive look at a number of unsolved murders throughout Britain over the ages. These murders range from arsenic poisonings, shootings, and even to a descendant of Florence Nightingale’s supposed ‘train robbery’ beating. I didn’t know anything about a lot of the murders described, and the author goes into a decent amount of detail about what happens for each of them... Recommend for anyone interested in British true crime in bite sized chunks.

NetGalley, Sara Garry

This was an interesting bind-up of true crime with a lot of the cases I've never heard of before.

NetGalley, Bethany Younge

A short and at times interesting read about 13 unsolved murders between 1857-1957 in Britain. Each case is presented with backstory, description of the murder itself and the following investigation. One wonders how many of these murders would have been solved if the forensic science we have today was available to the police back then.

NetGalley, Sarah Matsson-Klingzell

About Kevin Turton

Born in Yorkshire and now living in Northamptonshire, Kevin Turton has been involved in studying and writing about true crime for more than twenty years and is the author of several books on the subject. He has also written various articles regarding specific unsolved murders, as well as several books on local history. He is an avid fan of all things historical, be they fact or fiction.

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