Burke and Hare
Edited by James Robertson – Find out more about the editor
Burke and Hare
The unvarnished, human story behind the infamous Burke and Hare murders.
In a boarding house in West Port, an old army pensioner dies of natural causes. He owes the landlord rent. Instead of burying the body, the landlord, William Hare, and his friend, William Burke, fill the coffin with bark and sell the corpse to Dr. Robert Knox, an ambitious Edinburgh anatomist. They make a profit of £3 and 10 shillings. After this encouraging outcome, Burke and Hare decide to suffocate another sickly tenant. So begins the criminal career of the most notorious double act in serial killing. Here is the unvarnished, human story behind the infamous Burke and Hare murders. We delve into their past, their personalities and the circumstances that made them resort to murder as a money-making scheme.It’s a tale of desperation and greed, of outsiders, ambition, corruption and betrayal. And it’s all true!
Owen Dudley Edwards was initially led to his subjects by something he holds in common with them; he too is an Irish Catholic now making a contribution to higher learning in Edinburgh. A noted scholar, he is Reader in History at Edinburgh University and is a regular contributor and reviewer for radio, television and the press. His previous books include The Quest for Sherlock Holmes: A Biographical Study of Arthur Conan Doyle, Mind of an Actvist: James Connolly and P. G. Wodehouse: A Critical and Historical Study.