Today’s review is on Murder at the Inn, A Criminal History of Britain’s Pubs and Hotels by James Moore.
It’s almost September, which means it’s almost October, which means it’s almost Halloween.
Given that the spooktacular time of year is my favorite you can expect to see more atmospheric reads leading up to the 31st.
For my first pick of the dark and twisty time that is Halloween, I chose to read a non-fiction book that caused me to walk around my local bookstore talking in a very Vincent Price-esk manner.
Did Murder at the Inn, A Criminal History of Britain’s Pubs and Hotels by James Moore scratch the itch in regards to spooky reads? Keep on reading to find out my thoughts and opinions.
In which pub did the Krays murder George Cornell and so achieve notoriety as Britain’s most feared gangsters? Where is the hostelry in which Jack the Ripper’s victims drank? How did Burke and Hare befriend their victims in a Scottish watering hole before luring them to their deaths? What is the name of the pub where the Lord Lucan mystery first came to light? And how did a pub become the scene of the murder that led to Ruth Ellis going to the gallows? For centuries, the history of beer and pubs has gone hand in hand with some of the nation’s most despicable and fascinating crimes. Packed with grizzly murders—including fascinating little-known cases—as well as sinister stories of smuggling, robbery, and sexual intrigue, Murder at the Inn is a treasure trove of dark tales linked to the best drinking haunts and historic hotels across the land.
This book is a great travel guide. Well for those who are morbidly inclined that is.
Murder at the Inn is structured in three parts, ‘The Golden Age of Scoundrels 1600-1700s,’ “From Georgian Dramas to Victorian Scandals 1800s,’ and ‘Murder Most Modern 1900s.” Each part has around 15 different instances of murder, where they happened, and which pubs and hotels the reader could visit in order to get the full experience.
Each part was chalk full of information, both on the murders being discussed as well as which pubs and hotels were still available to visit. In particularly enjoyed reading about several pubs and hotels I’ve visited on my travels in Europe. Specifically, I enjoyed reading about the notorious Burke and Hare, serial killers in 19th century Edinburgh, and Jack the Ripper because in my head I could actually say I visited some of the pubs they frequented.
The only reason I couldn’t give this book a five-star rating is due to the inclusion of the ‘Murder Most Modern’ section of the book. While I understand the importance of including the pubs and hotels of this era, I felt it took away from the gruesomeness of ‘The Golden Age of Scoundrels’ and “From Georgian Dramas to Victorian Scandals.’ Reading about murders and the like in the past made the horror, in a way, detached from the here and now. Whereas when I read about the pubs included in ‘Murder Most Modern’ it made me feel more than a little creeped out that some of these instances only go back 40 or 50 years.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.