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Unsolved London Murders: The 1920s & 1930s (Paperback)

Local History True Crime London P&S History 20th Century England

By Dr Jonathan Oates
Imprint: Pen & Sword True Crime
Pages: 160
Illustrations: 60 b/w illustrations
ISBN: 9781526783431
Published: 30th August 2020

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Unsolved crimes have a special fascination, none more so than unsolved murders. The shock of the crime itself and the mystery surrounding it, the fear generated by the awareness a killer on the loose, the insight the cases give into outdated police methods, and the chance to speculate about the identity of the killer after so many years have passed - all these aspects of unsolved murder cases make them compelling reading.

In this companion volume to his bestselling Unsolved Murders of Victorian and Edwardian London, Jonathan Oates has selected over 20 haunting, sometimes shocking cases from the period between the two world wars. Included are the shooting of PC James Kelly in Gunnersbury, violent deaths associated with Fenian Conspiracies, the stabbing of the French acrobat Martial Lechevalier in Piccadilly, the strychnine poisoning of egg-seller Kusel Behr, the killing by arsenic of three members of a Croydon family, and, perhaps most gruesome of all, the case of the unidentified body parts found at Waterloo Station.

Jonathan Oates describes each of these crimes in precise, forensic detail. His case studies shed light on the lives of the victims and summon up the ruthless, sometimes lethal character of London itself.

I think this would be an excellent choice for anyone with an in depth interest in crime content.

NetGalley, Georgia F

This is a highly specialized book written for true crime buffs. The information included within is gleaned from police reports, newspaper articles, and such. There is quite a bit of historical information which is useful in knowing the context of the stories.

NetGalley, Elizabeth Lee

Unsolved London Murders is a compendium of 20 true crime stories of ALL unsolved murders across London in the 20s and 30s in all of their macabre horror, mystery and real-life barbarism.

Meticulously researched, the prose is strong, readable, and incredibly descriptive. All cases are unsolved and the murders described vary in modus operandi, reasoning, and at times, brutality. From prostitutes, a heinous child murderer, the murder of London landlady, and a potential serial killer, the 20 cases featured also include post mortems, witness statements, police procedurals of the time, and a selection of location images. Overall this is an enjoyable look at murders committed during those brief intermittent war years.

Often delving into London’s seedy underbelly it is interesting to note that crimes of this nature did happen during the (often professed) more innocent times, and it’s an easy and fascinating read overall.

NetGalley, VivaLa Books

A short introduction into policing in the 1920s and 1930s is followed by a chapter on crime between the wars. We are next treated to a nice little selection of vignettes of some of the unsolved cases from 1920s and 1930s London. They are not overly long - covering the who (victim), what (the murder), how (was it committed), and though some credible suspects lurk just off page and potential reasons given for the crimes, no-one has yet been brought to justice.

Definitely one for the fans of true crime - easily readable, and very accessible for a broader range of reader.

NetGalley, Melisende d'Outremer

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book is exactly as described.

The author takes you through 20 unsolved murders in London, talking you through what happened, who the victim was, and the suspects. Then they explain what the police did to try and catch the killer, and what made the cases unsolvable.

I enjoyed this book, learning about what happened back then and how some of the murders shaped London as we know it.

NetGalley, Kyle Waldney

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Unsolved murders are nothing new in the world. There are some that boggle the imagination, and one wonders how some managed to remain unsolved. In the Unsolved London Murders by Dr. Jonathan Oates, there are twenty cases that have remained unsolved. Although these have happened over 100 years ago, there are some that could be solvable today, if Scotland Yard would reopen the cases.

I was intrigued with this book, as unsolved crimes always peak my interest. I was not disappointed! It was amazing and once I started, I could not put the book down! I read it in one sitting!

Put this book on your watch list, and get ready for a journey through some of the most puzzling and horrific unsolved murders in London!

NetGalley, LiberianGirl Readers

I enjoyed this book, I discovered lesser known cases that I’d never previously heard of, made all the more tragic that a killer was never caught, and that the victims to this day have no justice.
We are left to ponder on the idea that we have so many resources to hand now; forensics and sciences, not to mention criminal psychology play such a part in our modern policing and investigations, 100 years on we are in a much better position to bring murderers to justice.

I will definitely be looking at this author more in the future, and I’m very grateful to have been introduced to his work.

NetGalley, Catherine Leonard

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Unsolved murders are nothing new in the world. There are some that boggle the imagination, and one wonders how some managed to remain unsolved. In the Unsolved London Murders by Dr. Jonathan Oates, there are twenty cases that have remained unsolved. Although these have happened over 100 years ago, there are some that could be solvable today, if Scotland Yard would reopen the cases.

I was intrigued with this book, as unsolved crimes always peak my interest. I was not disappointed! It was amazing and once I started, I could not put the book down! I read it in one sitting!

Put this book on your watch list, and get ready for a journey through some of the most puzzling and horrific unsolved murders in London!

NetGalley, Rebecca Hill

About Dr Jonathan Oates

Dr Jonathan Oates is the Ealing Borough Archivist and Local History Librarian, and he has written and lectured on aspects of the history of London, including its criminal past. His books include several volumes on West London in the Images of London series as well as Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in Ealing, Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in Lewisham and Deptford and Unsolved Murders in Victorian and Edwardian London. He has also published a study of the Jacobite rebellion of 1745 and Sweet William or The Butcher? The Duke of Cumberland and the '45.

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