Murder by Candlelight: The Gruesome Crimes Behind Our Romance with the Macabre

Pegasus Books
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Bringing to life the ghastly ambiance of a vanished epoch, Murder by Candlelight presents a terrifying glimpse of the horror beneath the seeming civility of the Romantic era.

In the early nineteenth century, a series of murders took place in and around London which shocked the whole of England. The appalling nature of the crimes—a brutal slaying in the gambling netherworld, the slaughter of two entire households, and the first of the modern lust-murders—was magnified not only by the lurid atmosphere of an age in which candlelight gave way to gaslight, but also by the efforts of some of the keenest minds of the period to uncover the gruesomest details of the killings.

These slayings all took place against the backdrop of a London in which the splendor of the fashionable world was haunted by the squalor of the slums. Sir Walter Scott, Lord Byron, Thomas De Quincey, Thomas Carlyle, and Percy Bysshe Shelley and others were fascinated by the blood and deviltry of these crimes.

In their contemplations of the most notorious murders of their time, they discerned in the act of killing itself a depth of hideousness that we have lost sight of, now living in an age in which murder has been reduced to a problem of social science and skillful detective work. Interweaving these cultural vignettes alongside criminal history, acclaimed author Michael Beran paints a vivid picture of a time when homicide was thought of as the intrusion of the diabolic into ordinary life.

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About the author

Michael Knox Beran's previous books include Forge of Empires, 1861-1871 and The Last Patrician, a study of Robert Kennedy that was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. His writing has also appeared in The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, and the National Review. He lives in Westchester County, New York.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Pegasus Books
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Published on
Aug 15, 2015
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9781605988214
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Europe / Great Britain / General
History / Modern / 19th Century
True Crime / General
True Crime / Murder / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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WHEN JACK THE RIPPER first prowled the streets of London, an evening newspaper commented that his crimes were as ghastly as those committed by Eliza Grimwood’s murderer fifty years earlier. Hers is arguably the most infamous and brutal of all nineteenth-century London killings. Eliza was a high-class prostitute, and on 26 May 1838, following an evening at the theatre, she brought a ‘client’ back to her home in Waterloo Road. The morning after, she was found with her throat cut and her abdomen viciously ‘ripped’. The client was nowhere to be seen.The ensuing murder investigation was convoluted, with suspects ranging from an alcoholic bricklayer to a royal duke. Londoners from all walks of life followed the story with a horror and fascination – among them Charles Dickens, who took inspiration from Eliza’s death when he wrote the murder of Nancy in Oliver Twist. Despite this feverish interest, the case was left unsolved, becoming the subject of ‘penny dreadfuls’ and urban legend.Unusually for a crime of this early period, the diary of the police officer leading the investigation has been preserved for posterity, and Jan Bondeson takes full advantage of this unique access to a Victorian murder inquiry. Skilfully dissecting what evidence remains, he links this murder with a series of other opportunist early Victorian slayings, and, in putting forward a credible new suspect, concludes that the Ripper of Waterloo Road was, in fact, a serial killer claiming as many as four victims.
The greatest untold crime saga of the Victorian Era: the extraordinary true story of four American forgers who tried to steal five million dollars from the Bank of England. In the summer of 1873, four American forgers went on trial at the Old Bailey — London’s iconic law court — for the greatest fraud the world had ever seen. The attempted crime: stealing five million dollars from the Bank of England from under the noses of its unsuspecting officials. In The Thieves of Threadneedle Street, Nicholas Booth tells the extraordinary true story of the forgers' earliest escapades in Chicago, Louisville, and Manhattan, culminating with the heist at the world’s leading financial institution, the Bank of England. At the heart of the story is the charming criminal genius Austin Bidwell who, on the brink of escaping with his fortune, saw his luck finally run out.

They were apprehended after a manhunt across three continents. There were double crosses and miraculous escapes. There were chases across rural Ireland, through Scottish cities, across the Atlantic on ships heading toward Manhattan and — most exotic of all — Cuba, where the most elusive thief would eventually be captured, only to escape again. Hot on their trail was William Pinkerton, “the greatest detective in America,” scion of the famous detective agency.

With its cast of improbable villains, curious coincidences, and extraordinary adventures, it is an astounding international caper with twists and turns that often defy belief. It includes a colorful cast of supporting characters — crooked policemen, corrupt officials, bribable warders, and love interests of varying hues of respectability: femme fatales, innocent lovers, hookers, and dupes. With access to previously unopened archives, Nicholas Booth has unearthed the greatest untold crime saga of the Victorian Era.
JOHN DOUGLAS -- THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF MINDHUNTER AND THE UNDISPUTED MASTER PROFILER OF SERIAL CRIMINALS -- TELLS THE CHILLING TRUE STORY OF JOHN ROBINSON, THE INTERNET'S FIRST SERIAL MURDERER.
In Olathe, Kansas, a balding, pudgy father of four sits in prison convicted on three counts of homicide -- two of capital murder -- and suspected in at least five other disappearances. During the last half of the 1990s, John Robinson exploited the Internet's active world of sadomasochism with horrific results. By haunting chat rooms, he pinpointed vulnerable women who were looking for romance and stalked them on-line, nefariously convincing them of his maturity, sensitivity, and financial stability. He seemed like the perfect man. He enticed these women with offers of a solid relationship and a lucrative job, persuading them to move to his hometown. Once they arrived in Kansas, the women invariably disappeared.
After a dramatic trial and days of intense jury deliberation, Robinson now faces the death penalty. Disturbing as his crimes may be, what's most alarming is how he selected and lured his victims and how willingly they responded. John Robinson expanded the hunting ground, the techniques, and the technology of the sexual predator. He is the world's first-known Internet serial killer.
Law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and the coauthors of Anyone You Want Me to Be have struggled to unravel the enigma that is John Robinson. They reveal what can go wrong in a world where relationships are devoid of physical contact, showing how easily mainstream Americans can be drawn into the dark underground of cybercrime. The Internet has drastically expanded the realm of fantasy -- from the limited confines of physical reality to the worldwide stage of virtual reality -- and anyone can become involved in an on-line seduction. Erotic fantasies, which were once socially off-limits and extremely private, are now instantly accessible. This rapidly growing community masks a sinister truth: With only a computer, an Internet connection, and a knack for creativity, criminals have the power to reach millions of unsuspecting victims while remaining in complete control of their own -- often false -- image. John Robinson was a true innovator in this variety of crime. Through interviews with law enforcement specialists, Web experts, and others, John Douglas and Stephen Singular illustrate, with this case, a much larger -- and more frightening -- pattern of Internet sex and violence.
As technology proliferates in the twenty-first century, so do opportunities for enterprising criminals like John Robinson. No one is better equipped than John Douglas and Stephen Singular to expose the underworld of the Internet and to warn people about the dangers of cyberspace. A cautionary and educational tale about being wary of strangers and false intimacy, Anyone You Want Me to Be is also a terrifying, high-tech story of crime and punishment.
"I have often wondered for what good end the sensations of Grief could be intended."

-- Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson suffered during his life from periodic bouts of dejection and despair, shadowed intervals during which he was full of "gloomy forebodings" about what lay ahead.

Not long before he composed the Declaration of Independence, the young Jefferson lay for six weeks in idleness and ill health at Monticello, paralyzed by a mysterious "malady." Similar lapses were to recur during anxious periods in his life, often accompanied by violent headaches. In Jefferson's Demons, Michael Knox Beran illuminates an optimistic man's darker side -- Jefferson as we have rarely seen him before.

The worst of these moments came after his wife died in 1782. But two years later, after being dispatched to Europe, Jefferson recovered nerve and spirit in the salons of Paris, where he fell in love with a beautiful young artist, Maria Cosway. When their affair ended, Jefferson's health again broke down. He set out for the palms and temples of southern Europe, and though he did not know where the therapeutic journey would take him or where it would end, his encounter with the old civilizations of the Mediterranean was transformative. The Greeks and Romans taught him that a man could make productive use of his demons.

Jefferson's immersion in the mystic truths of the Old World gave him insights into mysteries of life and art that Enlightenment philosophy had failed to supply. Beran skillfully shows how Jefferson drew on the esoteric lore he encountered to transform anxiety into action. On his return to America, Jefferson entered the most productive period of his life: He created a new political party, was elected president, and doubled the size of the country. His private labors were no less momentous...among them, the artistry of Monticello and the University of Virginia.

Jefferson's Demons is an elegantly composed account of the strangeness and originality of one Founder's genius. Michael Knox Beran uncovers the maps Jefferson used to find his way out of dejection and to forge a new democratic culture for America. Here is a Jefferson who, with all his failings, remains one of his country's greatest teachers and prophets.
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