More Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in Birmingham (Paperback)
The volume starts with the mysterious murder of Mary Ashford in 1817 and follows a trail of mayhem through the Victorian and Edwardian eras to the controversial execution of the young James Farrell in 1949. These accounts of our past are drawn from contemporary newspapers and periodicals, reflecting the way our attitudes to different crimes and punishments have changed over the years. The long debate about capital punishment is brought into focus by the public reaction to each new death sentence. Unlike the first volume, almost every case examined concludes on the scaffold. The stories encompass jealousy, lust, anger and greed - some things just never change. The city itself gradually grew from the green fields of Erdington that Mary Ashford knew, to the grim warrens of back-to-backs that housed Harry Jones and other ne•er-do-wells, but underneath normal city life there has always been those few crazed characters ready to explode into a lethal frenzy. They have carved themselves a place in local history, usually with a wickedly sharp knife. Here too are the vicious thugs whose violent robberies left widows and orphans in their wake, whether in 1830s or 1930s.
Murder and robbery committed on the railways have long held a special place in British criminal history. Railways and trains create special conditions – and opportunities – for criminal acts. Two legendary large-scale robberies took place on the British railways – the Great Bullion Robbery of 1855 and the Great Train Robbery of 1963 – and these extraordinary episodes are often used as examples of the ultimate in criminal audacity. But as Jonathan Oates shows in this powerful selection of case studies, most railway crime is less sensational yet, in many ways, more revealing. He reconstructs…By Dr Jonathan Oates
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