A DAILY EXPRESS BOOK OF THE YEAR
REVOLUTIONARY. CONSPIRATOR. JAIL-BREAKER. FUGITIVE. DUELLIST. RADICAL. AND KILLER.
ON 8 December 1854, Emmanuel Barthélemy visited 73 Warren Street in the heart of radical London for the very last time. Within half an hour, two men were dead.
The newspapers of Victorian England were soon in a frenzy. Who was this foreigner come to British shores to slay two upstanding subjects? But Barthélemy was no ordinary criminal...
Marc Mulholland reveals the true story of one of nineteenth-century London's most notorious murderers and revolutionaries. Following in Barthélemy’s footsteps, he leads us from the barricades of the French capital to the English fireside of Karl Marx, and the dangling noose of London's Newgate prison, shining a light into a dark underworld of conspiracy, rebellion and fatal idealism.
The Murderer of Warren Street is a thrilling portrait of a troubled man in troubled times - full of resonance for our own terrorised age.
"[A] remarkable book. It’s an extraordinary story, full of incident, drama and dark comedy"
The Murderer of Warren Street begins as a penny-dreadful and develops into a dual portrait of London and Paris in an age of discontent, conspiracy and revolution. Our hero (or villain) is Barthélemy, a charismatic mix of Spartacus, the Scarlet Pimpernel and Jean Valjean. The Paris chapters have the ring of Victor Hugo, the London chapters are murkily Dickensian. Is Barthélemy an enigmatic outsider like John Harmon, alias Rokesmith, pulled from the Thames in Our Mutual Friend? Or a skulking, ungovernable menace like Rigaud in Little Dorrit?
Mulholland tells Barthélemy’s story with speed and confidence. As a life, Barthélemy’s has it all: double crossings, sabotaged pistols, secret safe houses, disguises, affairs with Italian actresses, brutal guards, prison breaks, rooftop escapes over icy slates and a French femme fatale who may or may not be a spy."
"A Victorian whodunit... Swashbuckling adventure and political thriller... Until now Emmanuel Barthélemy has not taken centre stage – which seems astonishing. Marc Mulholland must have hugged himself with glee when he had the idea. He has done it full justice… A magnificent book."
"A biography that begins with a bang... In dealing with this unsympathetic figure, Mulholland proves to be an excellent guide: knowledgeable, fair-minded, and even handed."
The Murderer of Warren Street unravels a real-life Victorian mystery that ended in the last formal duel fought on British soil – but it does much more than that. Mulholland plunges us into the dark world of European socialism, and its cast includes famous figures like Karl Marx and Victor Hugo as well as the sinister yet admirable figure of Barthélémy.