Fin Dwyer tell us about his book A Lethal Legacy…
Murder provides a unique insight into the past. In the aftermath of homicide, history tends to slow down. The victim along with those suspected of committing the crime, fall under intense scrutiny. Individuals, often neglected by history through most of their lives, can momentarily take centre stage. Their deaths (and lives) are recorded in minute detail. This makes the crime an extremely useful insight into the past.
In ‘A Lethal Legacy’ I explore 18 murders that took place at key moments in our past over the last two hundred years. While the victims or their deaths didn’t change the course of history, they do offer a personalised insight into key moments in our history.
The first murder takes place in 1821 when the spectre of famine loomed in the aftermath of a failed harvest. This would lead to the brutal slaying of the Ned and Mary along with their entire family which underscored the volatile nature of life in the early 19th century. The murder of Michael Fleming 25 years later provides an individual perspective into the Great Hunger; an event that is often difficult to comprehend given the catastrophic death toll.
The book also explores wider explore themes that shaped modern Ireland. The brutal murder of the elderly Mary Hart in the 1890s, for example, reveals the complex history of mental health in Ireland. Given emigration has been so central to our history two cases take place outside the island, one in Cincinnati, the other in London. These explore the experiences of those forced to seek a better life overseas.
In these 18 cases you will get a fresh perspective on the history of the island over the last two centuries in a narrative woven together from these individual stories.
You can now pre-order A Lethal Legacy by Fin Dwyer on our website.