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Bloody Versicles

The Rhymes of Crime

Poetry, True Crime


An updated and enlarged edition of an annotated collection originally published more than 20 years ago, Bloody Versicles serves as two books in one: an anthology of ribald, moralistic, sad, yet amusing and entertaining verse relating to specific crimes; and a small encyclopedia of select criminals and their wrongdoings.

Some of the “crhymes,” such as “Lizzie Borden took an axe…,” are famous, but most are familiar only to students of particular cases.  They have been selected from sources in the United States, England and Scotland, Australia, and France and are representative of all major categories of offenses, with murder inspiring the largest section.


The late Jonathan Goodman was one of Britain’s foremost true crime historians. His books include Murder in High Places, The Killing of Julia Wallace, The Passing of Starr Faithfull(Kent State University Press, 1996), and Tracks to Murder (Kent State University Press, 2005).

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