Totally gripping and brilliantly told, Murder: The Biography is a gruesome and utterly captivating portrait of the legal history of murder.
The stories and the people involved in the history of murder are stranger, darker and more compulsive than any crime fiction.
There’s the cannibalised cabin boy Richard Parker, whose death at the hands of his hungry crewmates led the Victorian courts to decisively outlaw a defence of necessity to murder; the incompetent Dr Percy Bateman, whose violent disregard for his patients changed the law on manslaughter; Ruth Ellis, the last woman hanged in England, whose case played a crucial role in changes to the law around provocation in murder cases; and the deranged Scottish aristocrat Archibald Kinloch, who fratricidal frenzy paved the way for the defence of diminished responsibility. These, and many more, are the people – victims, killers, lawyers and judges – who unwittingly shaped the law around this most grisly and storied of crimes.
Join lawyer and writer Kate Morgan on a dark and macabre journey as she explores the strange stories and mysterious cases that have contributed to UK murder law: the big corporate killers, the vengeful spouses; the sloppy doctors; the abused partners; the shoddy employers – each story a crime and each crime a precedent that has contributed to the law’s dark, murky and, at times, shocking standing.
Judith Flanders, author of The Invention of Murder