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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 5 January 2012
This is a very entertaining story of the history of `sinful vices' in London (although background material often comes from further afield). I have not read any of the author's other books about London - death, and madness are analysed in these books, but will look out for them.

I feel compelled to point out some errors - page 44 states that after King Henry VI of England died, "his son Edward IV" took the throne. Edward IV was in no shape or form Henry VI's son - Henry's son Edward was killed at the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471. Henry VI was deposed by Edward, son of Richard, Duke of York, who died at the Battle of Wakefield in 1460, during the Wars of the Roses. Edward IV went on to rule until his death in 1483.

On page 53, Hugh Weston is listed as Dean of Windsor - he was not Dean of Windsor until 1556, after he was induced to resign as Dean of Westminster on the return of Westminster Abbey to its monastic character. In 1557, he was removed as Dean of Winsor by Cardinal Pole for "gross immorality". Protestant writers (in 1557, Mary I was still the Catholic ruler of England) wrote of Weston's moral delinquincies at the time (including his adultery)

On page 55, I do not believe that Anne Boleyn was charged under the Buggery Act of 1533, although she was charged with adultery and incest. The first conviction under this act was Walter Hungerford in 1540. Although found guilty of "unnatural vices" his real crime was treason (both that of himself as well as his associates) following from the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536.

From then, I found less to jar my senses. It seems that the author was not in her comfort zone when writing of medieval times; but once the book moved chronologically forward to Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian and later times, the work became more of a "social" history of London's sinners, rather than a straight "historical" narrative taken from other sources. This is clearly the author's strength - the social history of the later periods, written wittily and engagingly. We learn of the usual suspects, such as Oscar Wilde, and many others who are not so well known. Some parts of the book are inclined to make the reader blush; but it's all presented clearly and informatively. I shall look to read some of the author's other books quite happily.
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on 23 September 2017
Very well written book full of detail that captures a lesser known facet of London. Beautifully researched.
A must have for anyone interested in London, women or History.
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on 19 May 2017
Very interesting!
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on 30 September 2017
Great book
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on 24 December 2011
This is a scholarly and well researched history book that is also both funny and sexy. That sounds like an oxymoron but in fact is quite true. This is indeed an academic work with impeccable and meticulous research but yet is also very readable, indeed I found it hard to put down and having read the Kindle sample I immediately bought the book. How glad I am that I did.

The writing is lively and fast paced and moves along like a holiday novel but unlike with a holiday novel I felt that the time spent reading it was not wasted time. I am now rather better informed about our great city then I was before.

The author deals well with what could be a controversial topic and handles it with wit and humour. She neither moralises nor adopts a laddish a tone whilst at the same time accepting that sex and the sex industry is, was, and always will be a part of London life as it is with any great city. Her sense of humour and sense of fun that shines through her work endears me to her and makes me enjoy the book even more.

This a first rate book and you should buy it at once.
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on 8 September 2010
After reading Ms Arnold's previous books I picked up City of Sin and was not dissapointed. Personally, this is my favourite title. The book is exactly what the title says. It gives details but at the same time isn't something you would be afraid to be seen reading on the train.

The only negative I have is that it did not have much on the present (1950's +). But, you can't have everything.
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on 28 May 2017
This book was really interesting, although definitely not one for a younger audience. At times almost nauseating, it never ceased to entertain with it's shocking tales of debauchery in London. It seems very well researched and as Arnold is not a historian it is more accessible to the general public than most history books. I think anyone would enjoy this, even if they wouldn't admit it afterwards.
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on 19 September 2011
Was really gripped at the begining but then became bored . Gradually I began to know all the stuff that she was telling me and it became all the usual sinners being trotted out ; Jack the ripper , Oscar Wilde etc etc . Plus I found the 20th century stuff really rushed [ Profumo , Paine ] she had not bothered to dig any deeper than a mail on sunday type of exposee . If you have not read any books on London then this is ok , if not I would look for one that specialises in a particular period and will give more depth .
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on 18 March 2017
It will be e very good read.
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on 8 October 2010
Truly fascinating history of the world's oldest profession in the world's finest city. Thoroughly researched, but with a lightness of touch that make it a real page-turner. Throughout the (P)ages what comes across is the inevitability of 'business as usual' vs. the arbitrary (and invariably hypocritical) nature of the treatment of the women involved when government makes occasional attempts to atone for the public libido. A great antidote to the more sanitised versions of history most of us were weaned on, and - to this reader at least - all the historical evidence you will ever need that prohibition is utter folly, wishful thinking and criminal stupidity. On a lighter note, the Earl of Rochester's 'debauched poem' (page 90) made me laugh out loud...
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