By Daniel K. Longman
Reviewed by Arthur Adlen
Daniel K. Longman has delved into the dark, deep recesses of Liverpool’s past and found tales of tragedy, death and, occasionally, survival. Starting in 1816, we are served a hotch potch of murders, suicides, accidents, domestic violence, child cruelty and worse, covering nearly a century.
In his book, Liverpool, A Macabre Miscellany, each story is a short chapter in its own right, and they are much too short for me to give readers any flavour without spoiling them for you. Suffice it to say that after reading Suicide at the Beehive I will never walk down Paradise Street again without thinking of poor Duncan Owens, who killed himself because he had been made redundant and couldn’t find work. And I certainly won’t be using the pub’s gents again!
An intriguing addition to the stories are the photographs of old Liverpool, and maps of local areas where the incidents took place. Many of the sites are long gone, but some are still there, intact and recognisable. The style of writing is quaintly Victorian, eerily suiting the times it portrays.
Apart from that, too many of the stories could have been pulled from today’s Liverpool Echo. Like much of today’s news, the stories in this book are not for the faint-hearted.