Crime and criminology were two of the growth industries of the second half of the twentieth century. Crime and how to respond to it are major issues of today. Many universities now offer degree courses in criminology, and it is often taken as an element in other degree programmes. In addition, there is significant interest on the part of the general public. There seemed to be a need for a relatively short book that would welcome people to the subject, being suitable for those who were just interested in it, those thinking of taking it up, or those who have already embarked on a course of study. There are plenty of big American-style textbooks that attempt a comprehensive coverage. This book does not try to do this. The first three chapters are broadly based, taking an overview of some major themes and approaches. The second half of the book provides a more detailed insight into the way in which criminologists go about their business by looking in depth at three topics, selected to illustrate work that has been done in different areas of criminology. We like to think that what we are doing is rather like inviting readers to a party, at which they will meet some key figures in the subject, eavesdrop on some of their conversations and arguments, and learn how they go about their work in terms of actual research.