After a lot of Superman I relished the chance to read a comic that was a bit more macabre. With a title like A Treasury of Victorian Murder this series really was exactly what I was looking for and it certainly didn’t disappoint – apart from the fact that most of the featured cases are American rather than British… but at least it was the right time period.
The issues of this series unfold pretty much as you would expect. A grisly murder case (solved or unsolved) from the Victorian time period is gone into, this is usually an issue a case, but there are some issues where multiple smaller cases have been combined. The genius of this series, however, is how he uses contemporaneous accounts to tell some of the stories. In his Jack the Ripper issue, for example, it was written using the diaries of someone who was alive in Lomdon at the time. Similarly, there are some issues which would appear to use excerpts from police reports, eye-witness accounts and newspaper clippings.
The level of research that Geary put into this is further supported by his inclusion of illustrated and well labelled maps and a tongue in cheek drawing style which helps to lighten the mood from all the murder – especially in the case of the bloody Bender family. Man, that really was a shocker. Obviously, given the page number constraints, he would not have been able to go into as much detail as he would have wanted (see his issue about the Castle), but so much interest and intrigue is packed into the 80-odd pages that it makes you want to read more. (Which is handy as he provides a reference list at the beginning of each issue.
This really is one of those series of graphic novellas that I can see myself recommending to a lot of people in my life. It has been an absolute joy to read and it makes me sad that I managed to burn through all of them so damned quickly.
Before moving onto the next comic or book, I think I might take the time to digest some of Geary’s sequel series where he tells the stories of crimes from more modern times. Then, who knows where I’ll end up with my next commuting reading material. Hopefully nothing too embarrassing like 110 Pills!