Thursday, April 21, 2011

For Heaven's Sake Catch Me Before I Kill More I Cannot Control Myself

There it was, on a desk in a neat stack: twenty oversized hardcover books, each marked at a tolerable $2.00.  Crimes and Punishment: A Pictorial Encyclopedia of Aberrant Behavior.  I got the set for half-price.

For a true crime junkie like myself, this set that delves into the likes of Jack the Ripper, zombies, serial killers, con men and the like was absolute porn.  Photos and drawings (many of them rare) galore, and a small font ensured that this provide hours of "entertainment." 

BPC Publishing Limited is the publisher, and the advisory editorial board includes the likes of Colin Wilson, H. Montgomery Hyde and Nigel Morland. 

I grabbed volume 20 off my shelf to get some information and turned to the section "Vice Breaker."  It opens with a full page photo of W. T.  Stead and this, "In staid Victorian London a double standard of morals existed.  Child prostitution was legal.  In changing the law, W. T. Stead suffered jail."  Throughout the book are crime scene photos (like the one above), photos of notes from Jack the Ripper, comparison photos of art forgeries, great photos of Maud Allen and the man who accused her of being the head of a "Cult of Clitoris," the man who was licensed to kill KGB members, Joseph Weil (the Yellow Kid) and more.  That's just in one volume!  There are 20 of these!  Amazing and unbelievable.

I talk to quite a few true crime fans who don't even know this set (which came out between 1973-1974) even exists.  I've never seen it in a store since, either, though it can be found online. 

Though it crams a lot in, and is not as in-depth as a single subject book would be, it still has a surprising amount of information, so you're bound to run into something you never knew about before.  Simply amazing.

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