Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The Little Book of Murder - Neil R. Storey

'The cases of murder spattered across the pages of history provide a dark mirror for so many aspects of the less seemly world of the past.'

Written by true crime historian Neil R. Storey, The Little Book of Murder brings together in one slim hardback volume the details of many chilling, horrifying and terrible murderous crimes from history, including unusual facts and trivia about some of these cases and about the perpetrators, and featuring numerous black and white sketches alongside the text. 

The contents of the book are divided into twelve sections, including 'Serial Killers', 'Murder not Proven', 'Infamous Murders', and 'Poisoners - Masters of the Silent Killer.' The part entitled 'Murderous Britain' is divided into regions, with details of crimes given according to where they occurred. 'The Black Museum' chapter lists the fascinating and sometimes bizarre items that are held in various crime museums and private collections across the world, including the Crime Museum at Scotland Yard, from knives and guns to a rolling pin and a tin opener. The pages within 'A Date with Murder' allow you to identify crimes with reference to the date they were committed.

The author states in his introduction that the book 'is aimed at all those armchair crime buffs who, like me, occasionally scratch their heads and try to recall the basic facts of some notorious or curious case of murder from the past.'

It's one of those books which you can very easily dip into, intending to read just an excerpt or two, but then find yourself reading just a little more as it's so gruesomely fascinating…! There were many that I had heard of through other books I've read, the Ratcliffe Highway Murders and the Road Hill House Murder being two examples, or through films I've seen, such as  Fritz Lang's 'M' about the Monster of Duesseldorf, and there were many that I hadn't heard of before. If this book leaves you wanting more, the author has included suggestions at the back of the book for further reading, and has also listed 'some cinema and TV films based on true murder cases.'

Even though reading about some of these murders frightens me, and I don't recommend reading this book last thing at night or in a dark place alone unless you're of a strong constitution, there is a macabre intrigue to these accounts and an ongoing fascination with such notorious crimes. It will appeal greatly to curious readers, whether crime fiction enthusiasts or true crime fact fans, who have a craving for more information about crime scenes, murderers and their victims, unsolved mysteries, and detecting criminals.  

Source - review copy
Publisher - The History Press


  1. This sounds right up my street (and I can think of a couple of people who would love it for Christmas), Thanks! :)

    1. Thanks for commenting Nikki-ann, great that you like the sound of this one, and I agree it would be good as a gift, I think I will purchase a copy as a gift too.

  2. This sounds really interesting, nice review. I'm less of a mystery fiction fan and more of a true crime fiction reader, so I'll definitely try to get my hands on this one.

    1. Thanks for commenting Priya, much appreciated. You might like this one, it gives lots of short accounts of true crimes andy mysteries.

  3. I'm not massively into True Crime but this sounds like it would be good to dip in and out of and read in little chunks, so might be a bit more manageable than your more traditional True Crime books.

    1. Hi Marie, I hope things are going well with you. Thanks for commenting. I am similar; I generally prefer reading a book like this to reading a full true crime book, though I did read the Mr Whicher book.


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