The Maul and the Pear Tree

The Maul and the Pear TreeIn 1811 John Williams Was Buried With A Stake In His Heart Was He The Notorious East End Killer Or His Eighth Victim In The Bizarre And Shocking Ratcliffe Highway Murders In This Vivid And Gripping Reconstruction P D James And Police Historian T A Critchley Draw On Forensics, Public Records, Newspaper Clippings And Hitherto Unpublished Sources, Expertly Sifting The Evidence To Shed New Light On This Infamous Wapping Mystery.This True Crime Novel Begins Amid The Horror Of A Dark, Wintry London In The Year 1811 Using Elegant Historical Detection P.D James And Police Historian T.A Critchley Piece Together New And Unpublished Sources In An Original Portrayal Of The Ratcliffe Highway Murders.P.D James, The Bestselling Author Of Death Comes To Pemberley And Children Of Men, Here Explores The Mysterious And Intense Emotions Responsible For The Unique Crime Of Murder, With Authority And Sensitivity Her Only Work Of True Crime, This Novel Uses Forensics, Unpublished Sources And Forgotten Documents To Create A Vivid Image Of Early Nineteenth Century London And A Gripping Reconstruction Of The Ratcliffe Highway Murders. The Ratcliffe Highway Murders of 1811 are beyond famous not just for the murders themselves, but for the ensuing panic that spread throughout much of London at the time which was written about by Thomas de Quincey in his On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts It was also this case that spurred the reading of crime in the newspapers as sensation among the general public This book uses primary documents some of which are printed in full and other materials to not only recount these events, but also to examine the history of crime detection and policing to that point in time as well as the huge muddle that was the investigation into the murders Anyone at all interested in the history of London, the history a
This was a true crime from the year 1811 Way before the Peelers and Bobbies But there were the Bow Street Runners In this one an see the way how the citizens of London weren t too keen on a police force, even though a series of grizzly murders had just happened.For me, the story of the murder was secondary I was fascinated with the
it s about the ratcliffe highway murders of 1811, which form part of the moore sinclair ackroyd london mythos and which i knew very little about it s pretty much a model for this sort of thing a narrative of events combined with a precise evocation of the social and physical context there s a lot of lovely description of the wapping docks area in a bleak december at the beginning of the 19th century, presumably contributed by James with some modern commentary about the evidence and the handling of the case probably what i found most interesting, after a century of moors murderers and the wests and dahmer and his disgusting ilk, and even massacres in little beachside towns in my own quiet country, is how shocked and gripped the country at the time was by it the 1971 postscript was also interesting in that it points up the pace of change it was still possible to imaginatively identify the locales back then, 160 years later,
Absolutely stunning treatise on a pair of murders that are at the heart of the creation of the British policing system as it is today, and which remain an historical mystery of the highest water Co authors James and Critchley draw on a multitude of contemporary sources to follow both the social and policing trails through Wapping and surrounding areas, and the picture painted in vibrant, well rounded and utterly believable gaps in the historical record are clearly identified, judgements drawn by the authors are both precise and logically justified, and
I found this a surprising little book First of all, a disclaimer I do not like P.D James s crime novels Imagine my surprise when I found her name amongst factual books on London This was the main reason I picked this book up after all, the title conveyed nothing to me other than the thought the book had been miscatalogued Then the subtitle caught my eye Ratcliffe Highway Murders I have been fascinated by these murders since the first time I read about them So I bought the book and I was pleasanty surprised The style that jars on me in fiction I found eminently suitable for an impersonal reconstruction of an ancient crime I found the research and summary than believable and, Ripperologists take note, it was refreshing to see the admission that, even after all the work that was put in by the authors, we shall probably never know what really did happen than two hundred years ago A lovely litttle book that wears its knowledge lightly, and a fantastic introduction to one
It took three tries over five years to actually finish this book And I like P.D James It is interesting, a bit, eventually, but the tone is rather dull What is mostly intersting is the look at English Anti Irish feeling at the time. The Maul and the Pear Tree is about two horrific crimes in 1811 two houses invaded, the inhabitants beaten to death with a maul or a ripping chisel, and then their throats cut, and all for no apparent reason one of the victims was a three month old baby, so it s hard to imagine a pressing motive James and Critchley on the book s original publication in 1971, it was Critchley and James, but that was another country, and besides the wench is dead doubt the guilt of the man arrested for the crimes, John Williams, and edge toward conspiracy theory in their suggestion that his suicide in his cell, before he could be brought to trial, was actually murder They don t go to the elaborate lengths of the crazier Ripperologists, since their suggestion is that the true murderer bribed a turnkey to get into Williams cell, and then the investigation was dropped because the magistrates a pounced on a dead scapegoat and then b couldn t afford any retrograde motion They needed to be seen to have solved the case.I remain somewhat unconvinced I m not convinced of Williams guilt, mind you, but James and Critchley just don t persuade me that their alternate theory is the truth I m not su
Interesting reconstruction of a crime investigation from 1811 which demonstrates how difficult such investigations were without a police force and how much depended on people s opinions and heresay Why are murders committed in the East End of London in 1811 still of interest over 200 years later Well the brutal murders of two entire households are in part, at least, responsible for the birth of the Police Service that we have today.One December night in 1811 an intruder entered the Marrs Draper store and murdered all the occupants including Timothy Marr the owner s baby son The only member of the household to survive was the servant Margaret Jewell who had been running an errand for oysters at just before midnight Ratcliffe Highway was in the East End which led to the intersection between two other main roads The area was watched by the night watchmen but he missed the entry of the intruder and help was only called when Margaret, having returned empty handed, was locked out of her home.This murder alone caused enough consternation between the locals, particularly as anyone with stained or torn clothes were arrested and seemingly just as quickly released by the complicated separate three police forces that had responsibility for the area When another household were slain action and importantly reform was called for.The authors wrote this book in 1971 when interestingly T.A Critchley, a Police Historian, name pr
Contains spoilers, but no than appear on the book flap Mystery writer P.D James and police historian and Home Office member T.A Critchley co wrote this true crime account of London s Ratcliffe Highway murders of 1811, in which seven people, including an infant, were brutally bludgeoned in two separate events over a two week period Crime fighting was organized by parish, and constables were volunteer They were supplemented by watchmen and beadles who were susceptible to bribes It wasn t until 1829 that a Metropolitan Police force was created For all sorts of reasons carelessness, incompetence, lack of crime investigation infrastructure the investigation culminated in the jailing of the wrong person, James and Critchley argue Some eyewitness accounts were given credence, others weren t A thorough examination of the murder weapon wasn t done Exculpatory evidence was ignored It was unlikely that one person could have acted alone in committing the two groups of killings.John Williams, the man arrested for the crimes, was found hanged in his prison cell before he could stand trial The authors argue it was an unlikely suicide and call Williams the eighth victim Nonetheless, as if he had been condemned to die and executed, the auth

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  • Paperback
  • 372 pages
  • The Maul and the Pear Tree
  • P.D. James
  • English
  • 08 July 2019
  • 9780571258086