BloodyHand! Cape Town: Siber Ink (2003)
Author: Kahn, E
ISBN: 0 9584540 51
Price: R189.00 (incl VAT)

Some Christmas reading away from the world of conveyancing, and what better than some light reading from Ellison Kahn. In Bloody Hand! he takes us on an captivating and entertaining ride through a rogues gallery of murderers. He brings to life the real-life crimes, details of the cases and background facts about the personalities - not only the accused, but also defence counsel, judges, and the prosecutors - many of whom are famous legal figures. Throughout the book careful research is evident. His dissection of cases like that of Daisy de Melker, Barend Du Toit, John Bodkin Adams and Dr Harold Shipman are instructive and it is this which distinguishes the book from others in this genre.

His definition of a classic crime is worth repeating here:
"What crimes are 'classic'? They are the crimes that - sometimes for doubtful justification - engage great public interest and become the subject of many books and articles. From a merely legal point of view, very few add anything to the elucidation or development of the law. Nor do many raise the 'who did it?' problem of so much of detective fiction. Our fascination with them may lie in our having something in common with the aims of the criminal - such as greed, jealousy, sexual satisfaction - though we do not do what they do; indeed, part of the fascination then may also lie in the actions of murderers being so different from those of us normal people. We who are concerned with life are both horrified and intrigued by the takers of life."

An indication of breadth of the book can be seen by the following chapter headings:
* Uxoricide, matricide, patricide, fratricide and the mariticidal wife
* A clutch of murderous or possibly murderous medicos
* Murder to benefit from an insurance policy
* A further farrago of homicidal females

Included are 42 photographs and drawings of many of the personalities.


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