The Case Of Mary Bell: A Portrait of a Child Who Murdered Paperback – 2 Feb 1995
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"Gitta Sereny has worked with disturbed children, and her dignified, compassionate book is a mile away from the usual tawdry accounts of sensational murder trials... The story of Mary Bell in all its terrifying detail is told here with fine lucidity, joined to remarkable charity and understanding." (Julian Symons Washington Post)
"Accurate and scrupulously fair" (T.C.N. Gibbons New Society)
"Gitta Sereny's clear and readable book will help many people to make sense of the story... She also draws out the lessons to be learned both by professional workers, and by society at large." (W.H. Allchin Mind)
What kind of child murders another child? First published in 1972, The Case of Mary Bell still stirs controversy today and is a work of extraordinary and compassionate journalism.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Sereny has produces a fascinating account of the case. She is an excellent writer and as a consequence the book is very readable and her theories clear and easy to follow. Sereny was present throughout Mary's trial and subsequently visited Mary in her detention centre. She has also talked to the the vast majority of the parties involved in the case, from the police to the families of both perpetrator and victims. Her research was clearly very thorough, her presentation of events is clear and it would seem very accurate.
Sereny's examination of Mary's character and possible motivations is fascinating and she does not attempt to either condemn her as evil or diminish her responsibility for her crimes. Her opinions on Mary and her co-defendent Norma Bell (no relation to Mary) are interesting, well argued and fair. The examination of the relationship between Mary and Norma was in my opinion particularly interesting as it was key to the case. It was fascinating to read how such a young child could so manipulate an older girl and indeed the adults around her for her own ends. At the time this book was originally written, the 1970s, not much was really known about Mary's background, but Sereny has gathered as much information as she could and produces some good reasoning on what made Mary kill as a result.Read more ›
Essentially, Mary Bell murdered two small boys at the age of eleven in 1968, and in the second case the boy was evidently throttled, before having the initial "M" carved into his stomach after death with a razor blade, and his face sprinkled with flowers. What is most remarkable and distressing is the extent to which Mary sought attention and boasted of her crimes in notes she and her cohort, Norma Bell (no relation, acquitted of charges of murder and manslaughter), left in a nursery which they broke into, and displayed aberrant and classically psychopathic behaviour after the incident.
What is essential is that this case study is approached with an open mind, for it is a liberal social study which lays much of the blame of society for the "cries unheard", the title of the follow-up to this study. It is fair and humane, as well as perceptive and informative. As Sereny herself would say, it is compassionate without being sentimental.
An essential read for those troubled or concerned by child psychopaths and the reform of the social security and welfare system in the U.K..
This book is written in a way that anyone can understand. The book is about Mary and why she did what she did. Why do children kill other children. Its wrong we all know that, the author Gitta Sereny worked with disturbed children and tries to understand and explain why this sort of thing happens. Such a sad book, no one really knows why Mary did what she did, and if she was alone when it happened. The fact is at the end of the day Mary Bell was a child murderer. Read the book and see if you can answer any questions that are always being asked. WHY !
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book asks some huge questions. Chilling and horrible, and terrifying how the authorities still don't seem to have made much progress on how to deal with such things.Published 6 months ago by Craig Campbell
I read this book as a teenager and was keen to read it again last year after watching a tv show about child killers. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Carrie B Fellows
I don't like these sort of books but it was a gift for someone who does.....Published 11 months ago by JJ
Some notes and highlighting in book but good quality for second hand.Published 11 months ago by clare hall
A very comprehensive study of the Mary Bell case and what the author thought made her into the monster she turned out to be. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Scrutineyes
A really good book that goes into detail about not just the crimes but the lives of all involvedPublished 14 months ago by True crime fan
Was interesting to read what lead to the event but the book only covers the trial and immediately after..... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Bevlin
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