Like many other people I'd vaguely heard about Sweeny Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Along with a vague idea of the plot that name and nickname was more or less the sum of my knowledge, so when I saw this book I picked it out on a whim.
And what a result: this book is a fantastic little horror story. It starts off with a foreword giving background information about the story's origins and the circumstances of it coming out (serialised in so-called 'penny dreadfuls'). It's a very interesting read, and the only complaint I have is that the writer presumes you know the entire story, and thus gives out spoilers. If you're totally new to Sweeny Todd I'd advise you to skip it and read it after you've read the main story.
The main story is told from different angles, mainly focusing on either the people trying to catch the barber, or on the barber himself. I found the bits about the 'bad guys' *much* more interesting - the 'good guys' seemed a bit bland and boring. There are a few side-tales, some of which pad out the background of the story. Quite a few others were probably only meant to let the series go on to another week in the original, and feel a bit out of place now its in book format.
Another thing to bear in mind is that the book was written long before forensics existed as we know it now. This leads to the plot becoming a tad unlikely (even surreal) in places. If you've read stories from this era before you'll be used to it, but people new to it should be ready to put their disbelief to one side when they start reading.
The weaker bits and the spoilers in the foreword drop my rating to 4 stars, but it's an enjoyable book that can genuinely creep you out.