UCD Lifelong Learning, National Library of Ireland, 5 November -10 December 2018


Crime and investigation in the ‘long’ 19th Century


The Maamtrasna massacres


Niamh Howlin Paper


The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes


The life and times of Sherlock Holmes



Arthur Conan Doyle’s selection of the best twelve Sherlock Holmes stories

(March 1927, Strand Magazine competition)

The Speckled Band

The Red-Headed League

The Dancing Men

The Final Problem

A Scandal in Bohemia

The Empty House

The Five Orange Pips

The Second Stain

The Devil’s Foot

The Priory School

The Musgrave Ritual

The Reigate Squires



Link to Edmund Wilson’s essay ‘Who cares who killed Roger Ackroyd?’


Link to Raymond Chandler’s ‘The Simple Art of Murder’





1907    Publication of The Mystery of the Yellow Room(Le Mystère de la Chambre Jaune)–       Gaston Leroux

1908    Publication of The Circular Staircase– Mary Roberts Rinehart

1913    Publication of Trent’s Last Case– Edmund Clerihew Bentley, the introduction of   Philip Trent

1914    Publication of Rouletabille at the War (Rouletabille a la Guerre)­Gaston Leroux

1920    Publication of The Mysterious Affair at Styles– Agatha Christie, which introduces            Hercule Poirot – it was written in 1916

1922    Publication of The Secret Adversary– Agatha Christie, the first appearance of      Tommy and Tuppence

1923    Publication of Whose Body– Dorothy Leigh Sayers, the introduction of Lord Peter            Wimsey

1926    The mysterious disappearance of Agatha Christie

Publication of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd– Agatha Christie

1927    Publication of Thirteen Problems– Agatha Christie, one of which stories introduces Jane Marple

Death of Gaston Leroux

1928    Agatha Christie divorces Archie

1929    Publication of The Crime at Black Dudley– Margery Allingham, the introduction of  Albert Campion

Publication of The Roman Hat Mystery– Ellery Queen (Frederick Dannay and       Manfred Lee), the introduction of Ellery Queen

1930    Establishment of the Detection Clubby, among others, Ronald Knox

Publication of The Door– Mary Roberts Rinehart in which ‘the butler did it’

Publication of Murder at the Vicarage– Agatha Christie,  the first appearance of Jane Marple in a novel

Publication of Mystery Mile– Margery Allingham, the second Campion novel

1933    Publication of The Album– Mary Roberts Rinehart

Publication of Hag’s Nook– John Dickson Carr, introduces Gideon Fell

1934    Publication of A Man Lay Dead– Ngaio Marsh, the introduction of Roderick Alleyn

Publication of Nine Tailors– Dorothy L. Sayers, her personal favourite Wimsey novel

1934    Publication of The Plague Court Murders– Carter Dickson (John Dickson Carr) the first Sir Henry Merrivale novel

Publication of Murder on the Orient Express– Agatha Christie

1935    Publication of The Three Coffins(GB-The Hollow Man)– John Dickson Carr, one of the great ‘locked room’ mysteries

1936    Publication of Trent’ Own Case– Edmund Clerihew Bentley

Bentley becomes President of the Detection Club until 1949

1937    Publication of Gaudy Night– Dorothy L.Sayers, Wimsey and Harriet Vane get       together at last

1938    Publication of Trent Intervenes– Edmund Clerihew Bentley

1940    Publication of Edmund Clerihew Bentley’s autobiography Those Days

            Publication of And Then There Were None– Agatha Christie, in the USA, still her best-selling novel (100m copies sold)

1945    ‘Who Cares Who Killed Roger Ackroyd’ – Edmund Wilson’s scathing essay, is published in the January edition of the New Yorker

1953    Publication of The Cavalier’s Cup– Carter Dickson, the last Merrivale story

 1957    Publication of 4.50 from Paddington– Agatha Christie

Death of Dorothy L. Sayers, aged 64

1958    Death of Mary Roberts Rinehart, aged 82

1966    Death of Margery Allingham, aged 62

1967    Publication of Dark of the Moon– John Dickson Carr, the final Gideon Fell story

1973    Publication of Postern of Fate– Agatha Christie – last novel published in her lifetime       and the last Tommy and Tuppence novel

 1975    Publication of Curtain– Agatha Christie,  the last Poirot novel

1976    Publication of Sleeping Murder– Agatha Christie, the last Marple novel

Death of Agatha Christie, aged 85

1977    Death of John Dickson Carr, aged 70




1920    Black Maskbegins publication – founded by H.L.Mencken

1921    Birth of Patricia Highsmith

1926    Joseph T. Shaw becomes editor of Black Mask

1929    Publication of Little Caesar– W.R.Burnett

Publication of Red Harvest– Dashiel Hammett

1930    Publication of The Maltese Falcon– Dashiel Hammett

Adoption of the Motion Picture Production Code (the Hays Code) – it proves problematic for the adaptation of crime fiction to the screen

1931    Publication of Peter the Latvian– Georges Simenon – first Maigret novel

Publication of The Glass Key– Dashiel Hammett

Release of Little Caesarwith Edward G. Robinson in the title role

1933    Publication of The Case of the Velvet Claws– Erle Stanley Gardner (first Perry Mason)

1934    Publication of The Postman Always Rings Twice– James. M. Cain

Publication of The Thin Man– Dashiel Hammett

The Thin Manfilm adaptation released with William Powell and Myrna Loy, directed by W.S.van Dyke

1938    Publication of S.J.Perelman’s satirical essay on crime fiction ‘Somewhere a Roscoe’ in the New Yorker– mostly a takedown of Robert Leslie Bellem’s  Dan Turner, the Hollywood detective in the magazine Spicy Detective

1939    Publication of The Big Sleep– Raymond Chandler

1940    Publication of Farewell My Lovely– Raymond Chandler

1941    John Huston’s The Maltese Falcon is released with Bogart as Sam Spade

1943    Publication of Double Indemnity– James M.Cain

1944    Release of Murder My Sweet(based onFarewell My Lovely) with Dick Powell as   Marlowe

Release of film version of  Double Indemnity with script by Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler

Raymond Chandler’s essay, ‘The Simple Art of Murder’ appears in Atlantic Monthly

1946    Release of The Big Sleep, directed by Howard Hawks and starring Bogart and Lauren Bacall

1947    Publication of I, the Jury– Mickey Spillane, the first Mike Hammer novel

1949    Publication of The Asphalt Jungle– W.R.Burnett

1950    Publication of Strangers on a Train– Patricia Highsmith

Release of John Huston’s The Asphalt Junglewith Sterling Hayden in the lead and            Marilyn Monroe in one of her earliest screen roles

1951    Release of Alfred Hitchcock’s film adaptation of  Strangers on a Train, screenplay by,     among others, Raymond Chandler

1952    Publication of The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith under the pseudonym Clare Morgan

1953    Publication of The Long Goodbye – Raymond Chandler

1955    Publication of The Talented Mr. Ripley– Patricia Highsmith

1956    Publication of Cop Hater– Ed McBain (Evan Hunter), first of the 87thprecinct novels

1957    ‘Perry Mason’ TV series begins

1958    Chandler starts Poodle Springs– completed by Robert Parker in 1988

1959    Death of Raymond Chandler at 70

1960    Maigret TVseries begins on BBC

1961    Death of Dashiel Hammett at 66

1963    BBC Maigret series ends

1966    Perry Mason TV series ends

1970    Death of Erle Stanley Gardner aged 80

1972    Publication of Maigret and Monsieur Charles– Simenon – last Maigret novel

1973    Publication of The Case of the Postponed Murder– Erle Stanley Gardner – last Perry Mason novel

1989    Death of Georges Simenon aged 86

1991    Publication of final Ripley novel Ripley Under Water

1995    Death of Patricia Highsmith aged 74




Written in 1894 by Sir Melville McNaghten, Assistant Chief Constable of the Metropolitan Police in response to the identification by the Sun newspaper of Thomas Cutbush as the Ripper


The case referred to in the sensational story told in ‘The Sun’ in its issue of 13th inst, & following dates, is that of Thomas Cutbush who was arraigned at the London County Sessions in April 1891 on a charge of maliciously wounding Florence Grace Johnson, and attempting to wound Isabella Fraser Anderson in Kennington. He was found to be insane, and sentenced to be detained during Her Majesty’s Pleasure.

This Cutbush, who lived with his mother and aunt at 14 Albert Street, Kennington, escaped from the Lambeth Infirmary, (after he had been detained only a few hours, as a lunatic) at noon on 5th March 1891. He was rearrested on 9th idem. A few weeks before this, several cases of stabbing, or jabbing, from behind had occurred in the vicinity, and a man named Colicott was arrested, but subsequently discharged owing to faulty identification. The cuts in the girl’s dresses made by Colicott were quite different to the cut(s) made by Cutbush (when he wounded Miss Johnson) who was no doubt influenced by a wild desire of morbid imitation. Cutbush’s antecedents were enquired into by C.Insp (now Supt.) Chris by Inspector Hale, and by P.S. McCarthy C.I.D. — (the last named officer had been specially employed in Whitechapel at the time of the murders there,) — and it was ascertained that he was born, and had lived, in Kennington all his life. His father died when he was quite young and he was always a ‘spoilt’ child. He had been employed as a clerk and traveller in the Tea trade at the Minories, and subsequently cavassed for a Directory in the East End, during which time he bore a good character. He apparently contracted syphilis about 1888, and, — since that time, — led an idle and useless life. His brain seems to have become affected, and he believed that people were trying to poison him. He wrote to Lord Grimthorpe, and others, — and also to the Treasury, — complaining of Dr Brooks, of Westminster Bridge Road, whom he threatened to shoot for having supplied him with bad medicines. He is said to have studied medical books by day, and to have rambled about at night, returning frequently with his clothes covered with mud; but little reliance could be placed on the statements made by his mother or his aunt, who both appear to have been of a very excitable disposition. It was found impossible to ascertain his movements on the nights of the Whitechapel murders. The knife found on him was bought in Houndsditch about a week before he was detained in the Infirmary. Cutbush was the nephew of the late Supt. Executive.

Now the Whitechapel murderer had 5 victims — & 5 victims only, — his murders were

(1) 31st August, ’88. Mary Ann Nichols — at Buck’s Row — who was found with her throat cut — & with (slight) stomach mutilation.
(2) 8th Sept. ’88 Annie Chapman — Hanbury St.; — throat cut — stomach & private parts badly mutilated & some of the entrails placed round the neck.
(3) 30th Sept. ’88. Elizabeth Stride — Berner’s Street — throat cut, but nothing in shape of mutilation attempted, & on same date
Catherine Eddowes — Mitre Square, throat cut & very bad mutilation, both of face and stomach.
9th November. Mary Jane Kelly — Miller’s Court, throat cut, and the whole of the body mutilated in the most ghastly manner —

The last murder is the only one that took place in a room, and the murderer must have been at least 2 hours engaged. A photo was taken of the woman, as she was found lying on the bed, withot seeing which it is impossible to imagine the awful mutilation.

With regard to the double murder which took place on 30th September, there is no doubt but that the man was disturbed by some Jews who drove up to a Club, (close to which the body of Elizabeth Stride was found) and that he then, ‘mordum satiatus’, went in search of a further victim who he found at Mitre Square.

It will be noted that the fury of the mutilations increased in each case, and, seemingly, the appetite only became sharpened by indulgence. It seems, then, highly improbable that the murderer would have suddenly stopped in November ’88, and been content to recommence operations by merely prodding a girl behind some 2 years and 4 months afterwards. A much more rational theory is that the murderer’s brain gave way altogether after his awful glut in Miller’s Court, and that he immediately committed suicide, or, as a possible alternative, was found to be so hopelessly mad by his relations, that he was by them confined in some asylum.

No one ever saw the Whitechapel murderer; many homicidal maniacs were suspected, but no shadow of proof could be thrown on any one. I may mention the cases of 3 men, any one of whom would have been more likely than Cutbush to have committed this series of murders:

(1) A Mr M. J. Druitt, said to be a doctor & of good family — who disappeared at the time of the Miller’s Court murder, & whose body (which was said to have been upwards of a month in the water) was found in the Thames on 31st December — or about 7 weeks after that murder. He was sexually insane and from private information I have little doubt but that his own family believed him to have been the murderer.

(2) Kosminski — a Polish Jew — & resident in Whitechapel. This man became insane owing to many years indulgence in solitary vices. He had a great hatred of women, specially of the prostitute class, & had strong homicidal tendencies: he was removed to a lunatic asylum about March 1889. There were many circumstances connected with this man which made him a strong ‘suspect’.

(3) Michael Ostrog, a Russian doctor, and a convict, who was subsequently detained in a lunatic asylum as a homicidal maniac. This man’s antecedents were of the worst possible type, and his whereabouts at the time of the murders could never be ascertained.

And now with regard to a few of the other inaccuracies and misleading statements made by ‘The Sun’. In its issue of 14th February, it is stated that the writer has in his possession a facsimile of the knife with which the murders were committed. This knife (which for some unexplained reason has, for the last 3 years, been kept by Inspector Hale, instead of being sent to Prisoner’s Property Store) was traced, and it was found to have been purchased in Houndsditch in February ’91 or 2 years and 3 months after the Whitechapel murders ceased!

The statement, too, that Cutbush ‘spent a portion of the day in making rough drawings of the bodies of women, and of their mutilations’ is based solely on the fact that 2 scribble drawings of women in indecent postures were found torn up in Cutbush’s room. The head and body of one of these had been cut from some fashion plate, and legs were added to shew a woman’s naked thighs and pink stockings.

In the issue of 15th inst. it is said that a light overcoat was among the things found in Cutbush’s house, and that a man in a light overcoat was seen talking to a woman at Backchurch Lane whose body with arms attached was found in Pinchin Street. This is hopelessly incorrect! On 10th Sept. ’89 the naked body, with arms, of a woman was found wrapped in some sacking under a Railway arch in Pinchin Street: the head and legs were never found nor was the woman ever identified. She had been killed at least 24 hours before the remains which had seemingly been brought from a distance, were discovered. The stomach was split up by a cut, and the head and legs had been severed in a manner identical with that of the woman whose remains were discovered in the Thames, in Battersea Park, and on the Chelsea Embankment on the 4th June of the same year; and these murders had no connection whatever with the Whitechapel horrors. The Rainham mystery in 1887 and the Whitehall mystery (when portions of a woman’s body were found under what is now New Scotland Yard) in 1888 were of a similar type to the Thames and Pinchin Street crimes.

It is perfectly untrue to say that Cutbush stabbed 6 girls behind. This is confounding his case with that of Colicott. The theory that the Whitechapel murderer was left-handed, or, at any rate, ‘ambidexter’, had its origin in the remark made by a doctor who examined the corpse of one of the earliest victims; other doctors did not agree with him.

With regard to the 4 additional murders ascribed by the writer in the Sun to the Whitechapel fiend:

(1) The body of Martha Tabram, a prostitute was found on a common staircase in George Yard buildings on 7th August 1888; the body had been repeatedly pierced, probably with a bayonet. This woman had, with a fellow prostitute, been in company of 2 soldiers in the early part of the evening: these men were arrested, but the second prostitute failed, or refused, to identify, and the soldiers were eventually discharged.

(2) Alice McKenzie was found with her throat cut (or rather stabbed) in Castle Alley on 17th July 1889; no evidence was forthcoming and no arrest were made in connection with this case. The stab in the throat was of the same nature as in the case of the murder of

(3) Frances Coles in Swallow Gardens, on 13th February 1891 — for which Thomas Sadler, a fireman, was arrested, and, after several remands, discharged. It was ascertained at the time that Saddler had sailed for the Baltic on 19th July ’89 and was in Whitechapel on the nights of 17th idem. He was a man of ungovernable temper and entirely addicted to drink, and the company of the lowest prostitutes.

(4) The case of the unidentified woman whose trunk was found in Pinchin Street: on 10th September 1889 — which has already been dealt with.

M.S. Macnaghten
23rd February 1894


An assessment of the autopsy reports requested by Robert Anderson – Bond replied on 10 November after conducting the post mortem on Mary Kelly

“I beg to report that I have read the notes of the 4 Whitechapel Murders viz:
  1. Buck’s Row
  2. Hanbury Street
  3. Berner’s Street
  4. Mitre Square
I have also made a Post Mortem Examination of the mutilated remains of a woman found yesterday in a small room in Dorset Street. [MD Note – Mary Kelly]
1. All five murders were no doubt committed by the same hand. In the first four the throats appear to have been cut from left to right. In the last case owing to the extensive mutilation it is impossible to say in what direction the fatal cut was made, but arterial blood was found on the wall in splashes close to where the woman’s head must have been lying.
2. All the circumstances surrounding the murders lead me to form the opinion that the women must have been lying down when murdered and in every case the throat was first cut.
3. In the four murders of which I have seen the notes only, I cannot form a very definite opinion as to the time that had elapsed between the murder and the discovering of the body.
In one case, that of Berner’s Street, the discovery appears to have been made immediately after the deed – In Buck’s Row, Hanbury Street, and Mitre Square three or four hours only could have elapsed. In the Dorset Street case the body was lying on the bed at the time of my visit, 2 o’clock, quite naked and mutilated as in the annexed report –
Rigor Mortis had set in, but increased during the progress of the examination. From this it is difficult to say with any degree of certainty the exact time that had elapsed since death as the period varies from 6 to 12 hours before rigidity sets in. The body was comparatively cold at 2 o’clock and the remains of a recently taken meal were found in the stomach and scattered about over the intestines. It is, therefore, pretty certain that the woman must have been dead about 12 hours and the partly digested food would indicate: that death took place about 3 or 4 hours after the food was taken, so one or two o’clock in the morning would be the probable time of the murder.
4. In all the cases there appears to be no evidence of struggling and the attacks were probably so sudden and made in such a position that the women could neither resist nor cry out. In the Dorset Street case the corner of the sheet to the right of the woman’s head was much cut and saturated with blood, indicating that the face may have been covered with the sheet at the time of the attack.
5. In the four first cases the murderer must have attacked from the right side of the victim. In the Dorset Street case, he must have attacked from in front or from the left, as there would be no room for him between the wall and the part of the bed on which the woman was lying. Again, the blood had flowed down on the right side of the woman and spurted on to the wall.
6. The murderer would not necessarily be splashed or deluged with blood, but his hands’ and arms must have been covered and parts of his clothing must certainly have been smeared with blood.
7. The mutilations in each case excepting the Berner’s Street one were all of the same character and shewed clearly that in all the murders, the object was mutilation.
8. In each case the mutilation was inflicted by a person who had no scientific nor anatomical knowledge. In my opinion he does not even possess the technical knowledge of a butcher or horse slaughterer or any person accustomed to cut up dead animals.
9. The instrument must have been a strong knife at least six inches long, very sharp, pointed at the top and about an inch in width. It may have been a clasp knife, a butcher’s knife or a surgeon’s knife. I think it was no doubt a straight knife.
10. The murderer must have been a man of physical strength and of great coolness and daring. There is no evidence that he had an accomplice. He must in my opinion be a man subject to periodical attacks of Homicidal and erotic mania. The character of the mutilations indicate that the man may be in a condition sexually, that may be called satyriasis. It is of course possible that the Homicidal impulse may have developed from a revengeful or brooding condition of the mind, or that Religious Mania may have been the original disease, but I do not think either hypothesis is likely. The murderer in external appearance is quite likely to be a quiet inoffensive looking man probably middleaged and neatly and respectably dressed. I think he must be in the habit of wearing a cloak or overcoat or he could hardly have escaped notice in the streets if the blood on his hands or clothes were visible.
11. Assuming the murderer to be such a person as I have just described he would probably be solitary and eccentric in his habits, also he is most likely to be a man without regular occupation, but with some small income or pension. He is possibly living among respectable persons who have some knowledge of his character and habits and who may have grounds for suspicion that he is not quite right in his mind at times. Such persons would probably be unwilling to communicate suspicions to the Police for fear of trouble or notoriety, whereas if there were a prospect of reward it might overcome their scruples.
I am, Dear Sir,
Yours faithfully,
Thos. Bond



www.casebook.org– for nerds – a British Museum library full of information

www.whitechapeljack.com– more colourful

Rippercast – podcast by Jonathan Menges