Customer Reviews


18 Reviews
5 star:
 (4)
4 star:
 (6)
3 star:
 (7)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fascinating...
this book is about more than the murder of innocent victims...it is also very much a social history of times, people and places. The authors tell the tale of the murders well, intertwined with what life was like for the poor in 1811, how they lived, what they ate, how they socially mixed with one another. The absence of a police force shows how vital clues were not...
Published on 1 July 2004 by donald smith

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mall and Pear Tree
Being a true story was not as good as her imaginative usual books, but still enjoyable, and a good sense of the age in which it occurred.
Published 19 months ago by jollyboy


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fascinating..., 1 July 2004
By 
this book is about more than the murder of innocent victims...it is also very much a social history of times, people and places. The authors tell the tale of the murders well, intertwined with what life was like for the poor in 1811, how they lived, what they ate, how they socially mixed with one another. The absence of a police force shows how vital clues were not followed through, silly, stupid mistakes were common, and information was certainly not to be shared. excellent read, one that deserves some thinking time after each chapter to appreciate its content.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Murder and policing in early 19th century., 11 Mar 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book is a vivid and detailed description of a number of brutal murders in the East End of London. In addition, piecing together the efforts of the police to identify and apprehend those responsible. The totally inadequate policing structure prior to these murders forces the Government to change the police structure, taking steps which led to the police as we know it today.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars this book has it all, 28 July 2011
By 
L. Arnold (The Netherlands) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Maul and the Pear Tree: The Ratcliffe Highway Murders 1811 (Paperback)
I did not know what to expect when I bought this book. I thought it might just be full of gore given the nature of the crimes but I was wrong. True there is an element of brutality present, that is to be expected but the quality of this book is in the writing, mainly the way the cases are presented interwoven with the state of policing 2 centuries ago. The way this book is structured is pure mastery. At times it reads as a contemporary thriller-murder mystery and at other times it is a research paper which is very digestable.
I was left with the extreme gratitude that I did not live in England 200 years ago as things were rather chancy back then to say the least, I loved the morality put forward as to the how the victoms were judged by the public ,crime by crime. I would recommend this book for those who want to place themselves in the past and enjoy the thrill of a dark and cold London anno 1811.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Old but gold, 7 April 2011
This review is from: The Maul and the Pear Tree: The Ratcliffe Highway Murders 1811 (Paperback)
I came across this book as a result of reading the much more recent "The Invention of Murder" by Judith Flanders.

This is an old book,originally published some decades ago, but noetheless readable or interesting for that. As a friend of mind said (after reading it on my recommendation) "the combination of a criminologist and a fiction writer works really well".

PD James is, of course, well known as a long-standing and eminent writer of detective fiction.

The case involves two sets of very bloody murders in a very short period of time and close proximity. The search for the murderer, the suspect's fate and the possible alternative candidate as killer provide the narrative backbone of the book.

So far as this "true-crime" valume is concerned, the period, the location and the characters (and what an incredible crowd they are) come alive. The tragedy of these awful crimes - and they were tragic on several levels - is well brought out. The only oddity (for me - and the reason this has been given 4 rather than 5 stars) is that the authors' solution seems very brief and almost "tacked on". I would like to have seen this explanation gone into in a little more depth. But that does not detract from the book as a whole.

For those who have not already discovered this book, I recommend it, whether you like a mystery, are into the social history of London or the Georgian period, or just want to enjoy a darned good read
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A detailed analysis of an old crime, 15 May 2011
By 
Bluebell (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Maul and the Pear Tree: The Ratcliffe Highway Murders 1811 (Paperback)
This must have been one of PD James first excursions into detective writing having originally been written in 1971. She and her co-writer try to reconstruct and analyze the evidence from a couple of savage multiple murders that happened in 1811 in London's East End within one month of each other. The book starts with an atmospheric and lively description of life in the area and then proceeds into a very detailed account of the amateurish attempts by local magistrates to solve the crime. By today's standards the lack of detective expertise is shocking, but with no police force trained to gather evidence it's not surprising. The narrative is realistic in that the stalled investigation meant that the powers that be were going round in circles trying to find clues and culprits, but I found myself getting a little bored after 200 or so pages as the story meandered in detail. The ending of the book is concerned with the author's attempts to solve the crime but with little success.

The strength of the book is as an historical record of how primitive were the processes of detecting crime and the paucity of protection for people accused of a crime.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars graet, 23 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Maul and the Pear Tree: The Ratcliffe Highway Murders 1811 (Paperback)
I love a murder and this one places it well in time and place so the context is clear . Splendid stuff
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mall and Pear Tree, 8 Dec 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Maul and the Pear Tree: The Ratcliffe Highway Murders 1811 (Paperback)
Being a true story was not as good as her imaginative usual books, but still enjoyable, and a good sense of the age in which it occurred.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars enthralling, 13 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Maul and the Pear Tree: The Ratcliffe Highway Murders 1811 (Paperback)
well written well researched unputdownable brings a long distant murder into the spotlight good historical background a very absorbing book
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A dry and rather disappointing retelling of a horrific series of murders, 29 July 2012
By 
C. Ball (Derbyshire) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Maul and the Pear Tree: The Ratcliffe Highway Murders 1811 (Paperback)
I'd heard of the Ratcliffe Highway Murders through an episode of Whitechapel, but I didn't really know very much about them. This book charts the murders, the ramshackle police and magistrate investigation, and the effect such horrific murders had on the public psyche. The authors also have doubts that the man finally apprehended was guilty at all, or if he was, he certainly didn't act alone.

I found this book disappointing, all the more so if you consider it's written by such a famous crime writer. It was almost tedious in places, certainly not a page-turner. I also felt there were too many lengthy quotations from newspaper and magistrate reports, some several pages long. I didn't feel they lent anything to the book, but perhaps the authors felt there wasn't enough content otherwise.

It has been re-released recently, presumably to cash in on the vogue for Victorian crime since the success of 'The Suspicions of Mr Whicher', although this is long before the Victorian era obviously, but it very much feels like something written almost forty years ago.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Quality true crime, 3 Oct 2013
By 
'Fountain Pen' (London, England, UK) - See all my reviews
This book reaches the standard required of a single-subject true-crime book. All the facts are there, with little or no speculative waffle, and the writing is of the quality you would expect from a novelist of her standing.
Good period setting.
The standard work on the subject, and not so lengthy that it wears you down.
No complaints - worth reading.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Maul and the Pear Tree: The Ratcliffe Highway Murders 1811
5.42
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews