chapter
14 Pages

Introduction

WithAndrew Maunder, Grace Moore

A dynamic period of social, economic and political transition; the nineteenth century saw a change not only in the scope and perception of crime, but also in its representation. The rise of both a police force in 1829 and the detective police in 1842 focused attention on issues of law enforcement and the tracking, capture and taxonomy of the criminal. This book follows the nineteenth-century reformulation of attitudes to crime, and examines how the boundaries of the new criminal system were delineated and transgressed throughout the Victorian period. By surveying a diverse range of crimes, criminals, detectives, modes of detection and reportage, it charts the development of crime writing as a genre and the growing dialogue between fact and fiction throughout Victoria’s reign. The book explores a wide variety of transgressions, from the mainstream to the neglected, encompassing cases as diverse as child abduction, bigamy, infanticide, poisoning, sex crimes and crimes against property.