Each true crime is described in precise detail, and a vivid picture painted of the characters and their often wretched lives. David Parry draws on the original reports of the crimes and trials, including fascinating first-hand testimony from the accused and witnesses, and the grave comments of the judges. All the accused in this book were found guilty, and to further chill the soul, the stark details of their executions are laid out in black and white. What makes this excellent book so haunting, though, is that the author doesn’t sensationalize the accounts, preferring instead to let the cold, hard facts speak for themselves. So when we hear about 25-yearold Richard Morgan we learn that the ‘attack was so vicious that he was propelled across the street’. Or Ann Worthington, whose drunken husband ‘gave her one kick in the abdomen with such force that it broke one of her stays’. And what about poor 9-yearold Alice Barnes, ‘suffocated by a handkerchief that had been pushed down her throat’? What Murder in Victorian Liverpool shows all too clearly is that reality is more shocking than fiction, and that human nature can be awful to behold. Definitely essential reading for anyone interested in crime, punishment, and Liverpool’s past.