Death in the Air: The True Story of a Serial Killer, the Great London Smog, and the Strangling of a City

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Hachette Books, Oct 17, 2017 - True Crime - 352 pages
A real-life thriller in the vein of The Devil in the White City, Kate Winkler Dawson's debut Death in the Air is a gripping, historical narrative of a serial killer, an environmental disaster, and an iconic city struggling to regain its footing.

London was still recovering from the devastation of World War II when another disaster hit: for five long days in December 1952, a killer smog held the city firmly in its grip and refused to let go. Day became night, mass transit ground to a halt, criminals roamed the streets, and some 12,000 people died from the poisonous air. But in the chaotic aftermath, another killer was stalking the streets, using the fog as a cloak for his crimes.

All across London, women were going missing--poor women, forgotten women. Their disappearances caused little alarm, but each of them had one thing in common: they had the misfortune of meeting a quiet, unassuming man, John Reginald Christie, who invited them back to his decrepit Notting Hill flat during that dark winter. They never left.

The eventual arrest of the "Beast of Rillington Place" caused a media frenzy: were there more bodies buried in the walls, under the floorboards, in the back garden of this house of horrors? Was it the fog that had caused Christie to suddenly snap? And what role had he played in the notorious double murder that had happened in that same apartment building not three years before--a murder for which another, possibly innocent, man was sent to the gallows?

The Great Smog of 1952 remains the deadliest air pollution disaster in world history, and John Reginald Christie is still one of the most unfathomable serial killers of modern times. Journalist Kate Winkler Dawson braids these strands together into a taut, compulsively readable true crime thriller about a man who changed the fate of the death penalty in the UK, and an environmental catastrophe with implications that still echo today.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - booklover915 - www.librarything.com

"Death in the Air," by Kate Winkler Dawson, is a vivid account of a toxic miasma that plagued London's men, women, and children for five days. It began on December 5, 1952, when an anticyclone and ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - zmagic69 - www.librarything.com

There will undoubtably be comparisons of this book and "The Devil in the White City" but for me the biggest difference is this book reads more like a history book with a lot of facts, instead of a ... Read full review

Contents

Cover
Blackout
Restrained
Trapped
Bodies in the Mist
Postmortem
Smothered
Hearth and Home
Squeezed
Buried
Illumination
Infamous
Legacy
Acknowledgments
About the Author
Copyright

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About the author (2017)

Kate Winkler Dawson is a seasoned documentary producer, whose work has appeared in The New York Times, WCBS News and ABC News Radio, Fox News Channel, United Press International, PBS NewsHour, and Nightline. She teaches journalism at The University of Texas at Austin.

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