The Maul and the Pear Tree

In 1811, John Williams was buried with a stake in his heart. Was he the notorious East End killer or the victim of a miscarriage of justice in the bizarre and shocking Ratcliffe Highway Murders? In this vivid and gripping reconstruction, P. D. James and police historian T. A. Critchley draw on forensics, public records, newspaper clippings and hitherto unpublished sources, expertly sifting the evidence to shed new light on this infamous Wapping mystery.

The Maul and the Pear Tree is James’s only work of true crime. It uses forensics and forgotten documents to create a vivid image of early- nineteenth century London and a gripping reconstruction of the Ratcliffe Highway Murders.

Book details

Series: Non-fiction

First published: 1971

Faber & Faber