Murder Capital

Suspicious deaths in London, 1933-53

By Amy Bell

Murder Capital

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-9197-1
  • Pages: 256
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: December 2014
  • BIC Category: History, Modern History, Social & cultural history, History, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology, HISTORY / Social History, Society & social sciences / Crime & criminology, Humanities / History


Murder Capital is a historical study of unexpected deaths whose circumstances required official investigation in mid-twentieth-century London. Suspicious deaths - murders in the family and by strangers, infanticides and deaths from illegal abortions - reveal moments of personal and communal crisis in the social fabric of the city. The intimate details of these crimes revealed in police investigation files, newspaper reports and crime scene photographs hint at the fears and desires of people in London before, during and after the profound changes brought by the dislocations of the Second World War. By setting the institutional ordering of the city against the hidden intimate spaces where crimes occurred and were discovered, the book presents a new popular history of the city, in which urban space circumscribed the investigation, classification and public perceptions of crime.


1. London crime scenes of the 1930s
2. Violent crime and the family in wartime London, 1939-45
3. Suspicious deaths and strangers in wartime London, 1939-45
4. Suspicious deaths and abortions in London, 1933-53
5. Infanticide, 1933-53
6. Suspicious deaths in post-war London, 1945-53


Amy Helen Bell is an Associate Professor of History at Huron University College at Western University

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