378 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps, genealogical table ; 22 cm
First published in Great Britain by Bloomsbury Publishing.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 309-360) and index.
Part I: Ten Days In July -- 1 The three of us -- 2 All I know is that we are rich -- 3 I will tell you the truth -- Part II: The City Of The Damned -- 4 The machine and the abyss -- 5 A kiss goodbye -- 6 This is the knife -- 7 Chronicles of disorder -- 8 Here goes nothing -- Part III: These Tender Times -- 9 Cover her face -- 10 The boys springing up amongst us -- 11 It is all over now -- 12 Box him up -- Part IV: The Murderers' Paradise -- 13 Those that know not what they do -- 14 To have you home again -- 15 In the plastic stage -- Part V: With Trumpets And Sound Of Cornet -- 16 Smooth in the morning light -- 17 Such a hell of a noise.
In East London in the summer of 1895, Robert Coombes (age thirteen) and his brother Nattie (age twelve) were arrested for matricide and sent for trial at the Old Bailey. Robert confessed to having stabbed his mother, but his lawyers argued that he was insane. The judge sentenced him to detention in Broadmoor, the most infamous criminal lunatic asylum in the land. Shockingly, Broadmoor turned out to be the beginning of a new life for Robert. At a time of great tumult and uncertainty, Robert Coombes's case crystallized contemporary anxieties about the education of the working classes, the dangers of pulp fiction, and evolving theories of criminality, childhood, and insanity. With riveting detail and rich atmosphere, Summerscale re-creates this terrible crime and its aftermath, uncovering an extraordinary story of man's capacity to overcome the past. -- adapted from book jacket.