The Maul and the Pear Tree

The Maul and the Pear Tree[Download] ➼ The Maul and the Pear Tree By P.D. James – In 1811 John Williams was buried with a stake in his heart Was he the notorious East End killer or his eighth victim in the bizarre and shocking Ratcliffe Highway Murders In this vivid and gripping re In John Williams and the PDF Î was buried with a stake in his heart Was he the notorious East End killer or his eighth victim in the bizarre and shocking Ratcliffe Highway Murders In this vivid and gripping reconstruction P D James and police historian T A Critchley draw on forensics public records newspaper clippings and hitherto unpublished sources expertly sifting the evidence to shed new light on this infamous Wapping mysteryThis true crime novel begins amid the horror of a dark wintry London in the year Using elegant historical detection PD James and police historian The Maul ePUB ✓ TA Critchley piece together new and unpublished sources in an original portrayal of the Ratcliffe Highway MurdersPD James the bestselling author of Death Comes to Pemberley and Children of Men here explores the mysterious and intense emotions responsible for the uniue crime of murder with authority and sensitivity Her only work of true crime this novel uses forensics unpublished sources and forgotten documents to create a vivid image of early nineteenth century London and a gripping reconstruction of the Ratcliffe Highway Murders. The Ratcliffe Highway Murders of 1811 are beyond famous not just for the murders themselves but for the ensuing panic that spread throughout much of London at the time which was written about by Thomas de uincey in his On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts It was also this case that spurred the reading of crime in the newspapers as sensation among the general public This book uses primary documents some of which are printed in full and other materials to not only recount these events but also to examine the history of crime detection and policing to that point in time as well as the huge muddle that was the investigation into the murders Anyone at all interested in the history of London the history and politics of policing in Britain and historical true crime needs to read this book it's eye opening to say the very least This was a true crime from the year 1811 Way before the Peelers and Bobbies But there were the Bow Street Runners In this one an see the way how the citizens of London weren't too keen on a police force even though a series of grizzly murders had just happenedFor me the story of the murder was secondary I was fascinated with the distrust of the police force and how people would tramp all over crime scenes wrecking any form of evidenceIf one enjoys the history of crime detection I would say that this book is a winner Thanks to the late PD James and TA Critchley for giving us this one it's about the ratcliffe highway murders of 1811 which form part of the mooresinclairackroyd london mythos and which i knew very little about it's pretty much a model for this sort of thing a narrative of events combined with a precise evocation of the social and physical context there's a lot of lovely description of the wapping docks area in a bleak december at the beginning of the 19th century presumably contributed by James with some modern commentary about the evidence and the handling of the case probably what i found most interesting after a century of moors murderers and the wests and dahmer and his disgusting ilk and even massacres in little beachside towns in my own uiet country is how shocked and gripped the country at the time was by it the 1971 postscript was also interesting in that it points up the pace of change it was still possible to imaginatively identify the locales back then 160 years later even though houses had disappeared under new building and bombsites although the road lay out is probably the same i bet it's difficult today 40 years after that5 stars for sheer competence and readability Absolutely stunning treatise on a pair of murders that are at the heart of the creation of the British policing system as it is today and which remain an historical mystery of the highest water Co authors James and Critchley draw on a multitude of contemporary sources to follow both the social and policing trails through Wapping and surrounding areas and the picture painted in vibrant well rounded and utterly believable gaps in the historical record are clearly identified judgements drawn by the authors are both precise and logically justified and the book displays both James' narrative excellence and Critchley's extensive knowledge as a police historian Gripping from first to last and utterly compelling to read this is a true crime book as it should be written and remains after over 40 years an example of the very highest standard The Maul and the Pear Tree is about two horrific crimes in 1811 two houses invaded the inhabitants beaten to death with a maul or a ripping chisel and then their throats cut and all for no apparent reason one of the victims was a three month old baby so it's hard to imagine a pressing motive James and Critchley on the book's original publication in 1971 it was Critchley and James but that was another country and besides the wench is dead doubt the guilt of the man arrested for the crimes John Williams and edge toward conspiracy theory in their suggestion that his suicide in his cell before he could be brought to trial was actually murder They don't go to the elaborate lengths of the crazier Ripperologists since their suggestion is that the true murderer bribed a turnkey to get into Williams' cell and then the investigation was dropped because the magistrates a pounced on a dead scapegoat and then b couldn't afford any retrograde motion They needed to be seen to have solved the caseI remain somewhat unconvinced I'm not convinced of Williams' guilt mind you but James and Critchley just don't persuade me that their alternate theory is the truth I'm not sure if it's due to the fact that having been written for a popular audience in 1971 the book has no endnotes and the rigor of the inuiry has been carefully muffled or if it's that I found the writing curiously flat So I agree that the investigation should not have stopped after Williams' death but beyond that I'm not willing to goOn the other hand the book was worth the price for the description of the procession of Williams' corpse through the streets of Wapping and its burial with a stake through its heart at the crossroads of New Cannon Street and Cable StreetETA 021416 having reread The Maul the Pear Tree for what I think is at least the third time I can offer a better explanation of why I don't believe James Critchley When you read carefully and attentively it becomes painfully clear how much of their theory about the murders is based on pure airy speculation Their argument is full of scaffolding probably there is little doubt there is no reason to suppose may well have been it is virtually certain They present many of their hypotheses as rhetorical uestions which by assuming the reader's answer make it easier for the hypothesis to pass as fact And they treat a number of their speculations as if they are in fact proved rather than merely profferedWhen you clear away all the rhetoric their theory William Ablass and a confederate who was possibly Cornelius Hart isn't really any plausible than the theory that Williams was the sole killer Saying that your chosen murderer is a psychopath only pushes the problem of motive one tier back if he's a psychopath by which you mean a person who kills indiscriminately and without motive why are these the only two brutal butchering murders he's committed?Crime solving like criminological historiography ie true crime writing and like both prosecution and defense in the American judicial system is trying to find a story a narrative linked together by cause and effect and strong enough to hold up when inspected by both common sense and fault finding scrutiny that will fit the facts The facts you can incorporate the stronger your story will be The Ratcliffe Highway murders resist narrative the only way to make a story out of them is to follow De uincey and assume that Williams was a sort of Iago like villain doing evil simply because he could Or follow James Critchley and assume Ablass as our Iago And even that isn't really satisfactoryStripped down the problems of the Ratcliffe Highway murders go like this1 The evidence available at this remove is spotty at best so any theory you present is going to be tentative and full of hypotheticalsa Our forensic evidence is based on the observations made and recorded by untrained observers not necessarily even doctors in December 1811 EDb The rest of the evidence is eyewitness testimony and hearsay James Critchley were writing before the UTTER USELESSNESS of eyewitness testimony had been demonstrated but as a reader in 2016 I have to admit that most of what we've got is either inadmissible or would be torn to shreds by any defense attorney whose law degree was worth the paper it was written on2 The murderer or murderers butchered the entire Marr household Timothy Marr his wife Celia his apprentice James Gowan and the 3 month old Timothy Jr sparing the servant Margaret Jewell because she had been sent to buy oysters on the night of December 7 and John Williamson yes the alleged murderer is John Williams and one of his victims is John Williamson real life gets to be confusing like that his wife Elizabeth and their servant Bridget Harrington sparing the Willliamsons' granddaughter Kitty Stillwell and their lodger John Turner who were lucky enough to be in their bedrooms abovestairs on the night of December 19 Nobody before and nobody after Why the Marrs? why the Williamsons? There is evidence that strongly suggests both households were reconnoitered before the attack in the Marrs' case if Hart was in on the job possibly for as much as a week so they're not just random crimes of opportunity James Critchley try to show why Ablass might have had a grudge against Williams and they try a little sub rosa substitutive rhetoric to make it look like the grudge against Williams could be translated to a grudge against Marr but they can't suggest a motive for murdering the Williamsons So if the murderer was sane what motive did he have not just for the murders but for the overkill involved literally in the case of the Marrs' baby? And if he was insane a psychopath why are these the only two killing sprees he went on?3 Some of the evidence against Williams was clearly manufactured by the grudge holding John Harrison the entire story of the French knife is as full of holes as a chain link fence but that only means that some of our evidence is beyond untrustworthy into outright falsity but we don't know which evidence Some of Harrison's testimony? All of Harrison's testimony? How about the other lodgers? What about the terrified and euivocating landlady Mrs Vermilloe? At what remove from Harrison can we start trusting that our witnesses are doing their best to tell the truth?4 Real life murders can never be made into a clean narrative There are always inconsistencies gaps in the timeline demonstrable facts that make no sense I find that I can't judge in this case which facts have to be incorporated into the narrative and which facts can be dismissed as bogeys sundogs and to uote my favorite X Files episode the planet Venus Because all of the facts look crazyTo my knowledge nobody has written about the Ratcliffe Highway murders since James Critchley If I were a true crime writer I would take that challenge I found this a surprising little book First of all a disclaimer I do not like PD James's crime novels Imagine my surprise when I found her name amongst factual books on London This was the main reason I picked this book up after all the title conveyed nothing to me other than the thought the book had been miscatalogued Then the subtitle caught my eye Ratcliffe Highway Murders I have been fascinated by these murders since the first time I read about them So I bought the book and I was pleasanty surprised The style that jars on me in fiction I found eminently suitable for an impersonal reconstruction of an ancient crime I found the research and summary than believable and Ripperologists take note it was refreshing to see the admission that even after all the work that was put in by the authors we shall probably never know what really did happen than two hundred years ago A lovely litttle book that wears its knowledge lightly and a fantastic introduction to one of London's most notorious murders and the rough justice meted out to suicides and murderers at the time the Crossroads Burial was far from uniue though it was I believe one of the last instances in London In a word recommended It took three tries over five years to actually finish this book And I like PD James It is interesting a bit eventually but the tone is rather dull What is mostly intersting is the look at English Anti Irish feeling at the time 30 OCT 2020 at times this read like an attorney's brief fact filled tedious swarming in theory and a bit noisy with the voice of a small child jumping up and down saying Listen to me Listen to me I have researched typed and proofread enough briefs to know this to be true but amongst the words the not overly exciting bringing forth of facts into written form lies an interesting and compelling story worth reading In The Maul and The Pear Tree we are taken for a journey through a time in London when police distrust ran rampant And one is left wondering if the conviction of a dead man who could not defend himself was done to uiet the multitudes rather than to truly capture the individuals guilty of the crime As presented by James and Critchley John Williams may not have been as guilty as originally thought I do recommend this because the subject matter is true crime and fact is oftentimes unbelievable that any fiction The BBC series Whitechapel catch it on Hulu Season 3 Episodes 1 2 devotes two episodes a modern day crime committed which mimic the Ratcliffe Highway Murders The Ratcliffe Highway Murders may never truly be solved Enjoy Ratcliffe Highway East End of London December 1811 Two households gruesomely murdered in their homes in two separate attacks 12 days apart Unbridled panic ensued With no organised police force the investigation was clumsy and inadeuate A culprit was apprehended well one of several dozen it seemed and the case was eventually dropped after his suicide in custody This is a thorough and balanced look at the case which raises plenty of uestionsAlmost too shocking and grisly to be believed the opening uote from De uincey which refers to Williams' crime definitely sums it up All other murders look pale by the deep crimson of his First a criticism several sections verged on being dry The reproductions of contemporary reports and letters slowed the pace and sometimes took a bit effort to understand the meaning But these primray sources were crucial because very little documentary evidence survivesPart way through I realised that I didn't find the fictionalisation or speculation as annoying as I had in Did She Kill Him? In fact this read far like a murder mystery than a true crime novelMaybe it was the historical setting or the academic tone which set it apart The area surrounding the Ratcliffe Highway its flow of residents and its businesses were all described wonderfully The social history side of this book was just as fascinating if not so as the crime itselfThe closing chapters finished it all off nicely alternative and plausible theories the impact on 19th century policing and the judicial system and the redevelopment of the area But as the authors note after than 150 years than 200 years now we will almost certainly never know the true culprit or be any able to unravel the actual events of December 1811 Contains spoilers but no than appear on the book flapMystery writer PD James and police historian and Home Office member TA Critchley co wrote this true crime account of London's Ratcliffe Highway murders of 1811 in which seven people including an infant were brutally bludgeoned in two separate events over a two week period Crime fighting was organized by parish and constables were volunteer They were supplemented by watchmen and beadles who were susceptible to bribes It wasn't until 1829 that a Metropolitan Police force was created For all sorts of reasons carelessness incompetence lack of crime investigation infrastructure the investigation culminated in the jailing of the wrong person James and Critchley argue Some eyewitness accounts were given credence others weren't A thorough examination of the murder weapon wasn't done Exculpatory evidence was ignored It was unlikely that one person could have acted alone in committing the two groups of killingsJohn Williams the man arrested for the crimes was found hanged in his prison cell before he could stand trial The authors argue it was an unlikely suicide and call Williams the eighth victim Nonetheless as if he had been condemned to die and executed the authorities ignominiously paraded his corpse on a cart through the streets and buried him at a crossroads in a grave too small so that he would not be able to lie in peaceThis is no Helter Skelter It's extremely dry with long wendy passages lifted directly from contemporaneous newspaper accounts and Home Office papers Only 234 pages it feels like

The Maul and the Pear Tree PDF/EPUB ´ The Maul  ePUB
  • Paperback
  • 372 pages
  • The Maul and the Pear Tree
  • P.D. James
  • English
  • 03 March 2016
  • 9780571258086