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High among the great British contributions to world civilization - the plays of Shakespeare, the full breakfast, the herbaceous border and the presumption of innocence - must rank our considerable achievement in having produced most of the best murder trials in the long history of crime.
Included are the tale of passionate Madeleine Smith, Conan Doyle's defence of Oscar Slater, the story of the seemingly mild-mannered Dr Crippen who dismembered his wife and the trial and execution of Lord Haw-Haw.
Husbands and wives, lovers and prostitutes throng these pages and as the drama of their lives unfolds the truth proves itself far more compulsive than any fiction.