Wednesday, 18 December 2013

The Twelve Reviews of Christmas, part 8.

Among the various academic reviews that have appeared of The Most Remarkable Woman in England, that by Matthew Houlbrook was especially nice:

What became known as the ‘Fetter Hill mystery’ was one of the most sensational criminal cases of the 1920s. Then ‘still relatively new’, the media frenzy that surrounded Beatrice Pace allows John Carter Wood to tease out an engaging and suggestive analysis of the relationship between crime, culture, and politics in a formative historical period (5). The Most Remarkable Woman in England draws on an impressive body of archival research: an extensive survey of local and national newspapers, records of courts, coroners, and police, and (most strikingly) the hundreds of letters Pace received from her supporters at the trial’s conclusion. The result is a rich and textured archeology of a case that unfolded as much through new forms of mass media as the institutions of criminal justice. If the detail sometimes becomes overwhelming, it is hard to imagine a more thorough account of the processes through which crime became news.  (Media History, 19.3 (2013), 391-92.)

I've never met Matthew, but he's the author of some excellent things about crime, media and sexuality in early twentieth-century Britain, so he knows whereof he speaks.

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