True crime, Murder, rape, incest, torture, cannibalism, sadism, Hapless Highwaymen, Bloodthirsty Pirates, poisoners, Hangmen, Madame Guillotine, vampirism, India, Africa, London, Paris, Transylvania, Kansas.
This book is a selection of snapshots, relating the life and crimes of, mainly British and European criminals through the ages. I started my trawl through the pages of infamy in the Middle ages, and ended in the twentieth century. Some of my subjects are quite well known, some obscure to the general public, all of them were colourful characters. By today's standards some of their crimes were relatively minor offences. Several were guilty of hideous cruelty, totally without sense or reason and unrestrained from their barbarous lust by any moral or legal sensibilities. I avoid commenting on most of the sensational modern crimes, as most of them have been `done to death` so to speak, in the media. This essay is not about sensation seeking, nor am I looking to explain the motives for such degenerate behaviour. The subjects are varied, they include petty criminals, who never the less suffered the ultimate penalty. Pirates, who killed without mercy. Doctors who dispensed death for profit, gangs of murderers who combed the countryside for victims. Cannibals who killed for meat. Most heinous of all, the tyrannical despots who thought their high office gave immunity from their wicked deeds.