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The names of Burke and Hare are familiar as household words wherever the English language is spoken. They confessed to a minimum of sixteen murders.
These miscreants, incited by the large sums paid by anatomists for subjects for dissection, conceived the scheme of establishing in Edinburgh a sort of murder factory, in order to supply surgeons regularly with material. Throughout the year 1828 the business was successfully conducted, the purchaser in every instance being the notorious Dr. Knox, the extra-mural rival of the Professor of Anatomy.
The discovery of their last crime resulted in the apprehension of the gang, including Burke's mistress, M`Dougal, and Hare's wife. Owing to the difficulty of securing a conviction the Crown was forced to accept the Hares as King's evidence. At the trial Burke was found guilty and M`Dougal was acquitted. The book also includes the trial of Hare for the murder of Daft Jamie, and there are many valuable appendices.