Murder Maps Crime Scenes Revisited. Phrenology to Fingerprint. 1811-1911

Drew Gray

Vivid and intriguing, Murder Maps plots the nineteenth century’s most dramatic murders from around the world onto meticulous diagrams and period maps, and recounts the brilliant detective work that solved the cases.

Elegant period maps and compelling crime analysis illuminate this disquieting volume, which reexamines the most captivating and intriguing homicides of the nineteenth century. Organized geographically, the elements of each murder—from the prior movements of both killer and victim to the eventual location of the body—are meticulously replotted using archival maps and bespoke plans, taking readers on a perilous journey around the murder hot spots of the world.

From the “French Ripper,” Joseph Vacher, who roamed the French countryside brutally mutilating and murdering at least eleven people, to H. H. Holmes and his “Murder Castle” in Chicago, crime expert Dr. Drew Gray recounts the details of each case. His forensic examination uncovers both the horrifying details of the crimes themselves and the ingenious detective work that led to the capture of the murderers. Throughout the book, Gray highlights the development of police methods and technology, from the introduction of the police whistle to the standardization of the mug shot to the use of fingerprinting and radiotelegraphy in apprehending criminals.

Vividly recreating over one hundred individual murder cases through historic maps, photographs, newspaper excerpts, court papers, and police reports, Murder Maps is perfect for everyone interested in criminal history, forensics, or the macabre.


Drew Gray


Dr. Drew Gray is a social historian of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, specializing in the history of crime and punishment. He has written extensively on this subject, including in his recently published book, Jack and the Thames Torso Murders, proposing a new suspect for the Jack the Ripper murders. He is the author of Victorian crime blog The Police Magistrate, a member of the editorial board for The London Journal, and a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and he teaches history and criminology at the University of Northampton.