The Maul and the Pear Tree Author:T. A. Critchley, P. D. James With the fascination of a true-life detective story set firmly in its historical context, this account of the Ratcliffe Highway murders describes a series of crimes that were to nineteenth-century London what the Jack the Ripper killings are to us today: the very symbol of murderous and unthinking brutality. — The scene is the London Docks, near ... more »Wapping Old Stairs: a sinister neighborhood where pirates were hanged at low water mark and left for the tides to roll over them. The first victims were two hardworking shopkeepers, along with their baby and shop boy. Twelve days later and only a few blocks away, an equally blameless pub owner was found together with his wife and servant, victims of equal cruelty and apparent absence of motive. The crimes provoked nationwide revulsion and panic.
As the reader watches the rudimentary police system of Regency London coping with a major murder investigation, the Ratcliffe Highway Murders prove to be among the most interesting and mysterious in the English criminal calendar.« less
Kirkus Reviews says: "A spellbinding mystery replete with authentic historical minutiae and a brooding, teeming early 19th century locale." Time repots, ' Vivid in atmosphere and detail."' The notorious crime that shocked London, "the Radcliffe Highway Murdrs of 1811, that were later compare to the Jack the Ripper killings: "the very symbol of murderous and unthinking brutality."