A Book of Remarkable Criminals by H.B Irving

A Book of Remarkable Criminals

A Book of Remarkable Criminals by H.B Irving

A Book of Remarkable Criminals by H.B Irving: What is it and who wrote it?

A Book of Remarkable Criminals by H.B Irving is a collection of true crime stories that was first published in 1918. The book features 12 chapters, each focusing on a different criminal who committed some of the most notorious crimes of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Some of the criminals you will meet in this book are:

  • Charles Peace, a professional burglar who killed several people and became a popular figure in Victorian England.
  • Robert Butler, a Scottish farmer who robbed and murdered his employer and his family.
  • Dr. Castaing, a French physician who poisoned his friends for money and inheritance.
  • Professor Webster, an American chemist who killed and dismembered his colleague over a debt.
  • Eyraud and Bompard, a French couple who strangled a wealthy widow with a rubber tube and fled to America.
  • H.H. Holmes, an American serial killer who built a “murder castle” in Chicago and lured his victims with false promises.

The author of this book is H.B Irving, a British actor and writer who was born in 1870. He was the son of Sir Henry Irving, a famous actor and theatre manager who was the first actor to be knighted by Queen Victoria. H.B Irving followed his father’s footsteps and became a successful actor himself, playing various roles on stage and screen. He was also interested in law and criminology, and wrote several books on famous criminals, such as Studies of French Criminals of the Nineteenth Century and The Life and Death of Cesare Borgia. He died in 1919 at the age of 49.

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H.B Irving

Why should you read this book?

You might be wondering why you should read this book in the first place. After all, it’s not exactly a new or trendy topic, and there are plenty of other books and media that cover true crime stories. Well, here are some reasons why you should give this book a chance:

  • It’s well-written and well-researched. H.B Irving was not only an actor but also a scholar who had access to various sources of information, such as court records, newspaper reports, personal letters, and interviews. He also had a knack for storytelling, using vivid descriptions, dialogue, and suspense to bring the characters and events to life.
  • It’s historical and educational. This book gives you a glimpse into the social and cultural context of the crimes and the criminals. You will learn about the legal system, the media, the public opinion, and the moral values of the time. You will also see how some of the crimes influenced literature, art, and popular culture.
  • It’s fascinating and entertaining. This book is full of intriguing details, surprising twists, and shocking revelations. You will be amazed by the cunning, audacity, and brutality of some of the criminals, as well as by the courage, intelligence, and justice of some of their pursuers. You will also be amused by some of the anecdotes, ironies, and coincidences that occurred along the way.

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How to read this book?

Now that you have some idea of what this book is about and why you should read it, let me give you some tips on how to read it:

  • Read it in order. Although each chapter is standalone and can be read separately, I suggest you read them in order as they appear in the book. This way, you will get a sense of chronological progression and historical development.
  • Read it with an open mind. Remember that this book was written over 100 years ago, so some of the language, expressions, and opinions might seem outdated or offensive to modern readers. Don’t judge the book or the author by today’s standards; instead, try to understand them in their own context.
  • Read it with curiosity. Don’t just take everything at face value; question what you read and look for more information if you are interested. You can use online resources such as Google Books, Archive.org, or Wikipedia to find more books or articles on the same topic or related topics.
  • Read it with enjoyment. Don’t treat this book as a boring assignment or a tedious task; treat it as an adventure or a game. Have fun with it; imagine yourself as one of the characters or as an observer; make predictions or guesses; share your thoughts or opinions with others.

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Here are some frequently asked questions about this book and their answers:

  • Q: Where can I find this book?
  • A: You can find this book online for free on Archive.org or Google Books. You can also buy a paperback or Kindle edition on Amazon or other online retailers.
  • Q: Is this book suitable for children or young readers?
  • A: This book is not suitable for children or young readers, as it contains graphic descriptions of violence, murder, and torture. It also deals with mature themes such as sex, money, and power. It is recommended for readers who are 18 years or older.
  • Q: Is this book based on real facts or fiction?
  • A: This book is based on real facts, but it is not a strict historical account. The author used some creative license and embellishment to make the stories more interesting and dramatic. He also admitted that some of the details were uncertain or disputed. Therefore, this book should be read as a literary work, not as a factual document.
  • Q: Are there any other books like this one?
  • A: Yes, there are many other books that cover similar topics or themes. Some examples are:
    • The Newgate Calendar by Various Authors: A collection of biographies of notorious criminals who were executed at Newgate Prison in London from the 17th to the 19th centuries.
    • The Murders in the Rue Morgue and Other Tales by Edgar Allan Poe: A collection of short stories by the American writer who is considered the father of detective fiction and the master of horror.
    • The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson: A novella by the Scottish writer that explores the duality of human nature and the effects of science and morality.
    • In Cold Blood by Truman Capote: A nonfiction novel by the American writer that tells the story of the brutal murder of a Kansas family by two drifters in 1959.
    • The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris: A thriller novel by the American writer that features the iconic characters of Clarice Starling, a FBI agent, and Hannibal Lecter, a cannibalistic serial killer.


I hope I have convinced you to read A Book of Remarkable Criminals , or at least to give it a try. It’s a classic work of true crime that will keep you hooked from start to finish. It’s also a valuable source of historical and cultural knowledge that will enrich your mind and broaden your perspective. It’s a book that deserves to be read and remembered by anyone who loves crime, history, or human nature.

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