'The goriest horror film seems tame beside this history of law-breaking and legal retribution in London. Catharine Arnold has already published four excellent social histories of sex, madness, debauchery and death in the capital and maintains her usual high standard here, never flinching from grisly facts. We learn of religious dissenters burned alive at Smithfield; heads of traitors on display in the streets and at London Bridge; huge crowds of boisterous onlookers attending public hangings of men and women at Tyburn and in later years at Newgate prison. Above all we see vividly how London became a cesspit of crime, with robbery, burglary, pick-pocketing and prostitution on a vast scale, right up to the 20th century' --Press Association
'...Claude Du Vall, the prince of highwaymen, the most romantic villain London ever knew. His admirers said of him: ''if male thou art, look to your purse if female, to thy heart''. Part of King Charles II s retinue while in exile, he came to England from France after the civil war, when the King was restored to the throne in 1660. At first he was the teenage footman to the Duke of Richmond, but soon discovered a genius for crime. He once robbed the wealthy farmers drinking at a pub on market day, by strapping horns and cowhide to a mastiff dog and lowering it down the chimney. The drinkers thought the devil had emerged from the fireplace, and in the ensuing chaos Du Vall made off with their moneybags. From stunts in provincial pubs, he soon graduated to the more romantic occupation of highwayman...That three-mile stretch of road, which today leads roughly from the Old Bailey to Marble Arch, along Fleet Street and Oxford Street, is the focus of a new book by historian Catharine Arnold' --Daily Mail
We fancy ourselves to be more civilised than the bloodthirsty oglers of bygone years, but the popularity of books such as Underworld London proves that interest in the grisly past in unquenchable. Catharine Arnold has assembled a history of British crimes to chill the blood but also titillate the reader: Taking Tyburn and the history of capital punishment as its axis, the book revisits the major sites of criminal London, from Newgate and the Old Bailey to the Victorian slums of Seven Dials and the West End haunts of the swell mob thieves --Mail on Sunday
Catharine Arnold is a popular historian whose work on the hinterland of London, namely, its mad, its dead and its sexually voracious, has garnered her a reputation for being entertaining. She has a light touch when dealing with dark topics. Her latest book exploits her self confessed appetite for sensational crime and gruesome punishment --Sunday Telegraph
About the Author
Catharine Arnold read English at Cambridge and holds a further degree in psychology. A journalist, academic and popular historian, her previous books include the novel Lost Time, winner of a Betty Trask award, and the acclaimed Necropolis: London and Its Dead, Bedlam and City ofSin, the first three volumes of her 'London' series. She lives in Nottingham.