Mr Briggs' Hat by Kate Colquhoun

Mr Briggs' Hat

The fascinating story of the first ever railway murder.

Details Mr Briggs' Hat

TitleMr Briggs' Hat
Release DateMay 5th, 2011
PublisherLittle, Brown
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Crime, True Crime, Mystery, Historical, Victorian

Reviews Mr Briggs' Hat

  • Jill Hutchinson
    In mid-Victorian England, the railway was coming into its own as a method of travel and opened up the country which previously had used carriages taking days to reach their destinations. The problem with the passenger train was the design....the first class carriage was basically a box in which the traveler was locked without any egress nor any way to contact the porter or other train employees if something was amiss. And this error in judgement ...
  • Beata
    This is another book by Kate Colquhoun I have read. And another very well researched and written. And just like with 'Did She Kill Him?', the author plunges into 19th century England in order to tell a story of a mysterious death on the British railway. An interesting read.
  • Carolyn
    The London underground railway, the first in the world opened with great fanfare in 1863. This is an account of the first railway murder that occurred only a year later in 1864 and created a great sensation as Londoners realised that they were not safe on this form of public transport. The first trains had no corridor for internal travel between compartments and passengers had no way of calling for help if assaulted. Mr Briggs, a 69 y old banking...
  • Kavita
    The title of the book is misleading - this is anything but sensational. In fact, it is excruciatingly boring and drawn out. Mr Briggs' Hat: A Sensational Account of Britain's First Railway Murder by Kate Colquhoun is a non-fictional account of a murder that took place in a British railway carriage in 1864. The subject matter is intriguing and could have led to an interesting book, but the author was unable to pull it off.The book is not a typical...
  • Lex
    A book that started promisingly but then became so mired in petty detail and endless repetition that I lost interest. Well-written and researched but I didn't feel the case was interesting enough to require such an in-depth study.
  • Marleen
    On 9 July 1864 two bank clerks enter a first class train compartment only to discover that it is covered in blood, with no sign of an injured person or body although they do find a walking stick, an empty leather bag and a hat.Shortly afterwards Thomas Briggs, a senior bank clerk, is found, fatally injured a short way back along the railway line. When Briggs dies without regaining consciousness shortly, a murder investigation commences.The invest...
  • Kent Weatherby
    Great 'who dunnit' set in England and the US during Civil War times. It gives us some feeling for what went on in the country besides the war. As a lawyer I found the New York extradition proceedings disturbing. You won't know for certain if the London police caught the perpetrator until the very last page. Read it - you'll like it.
  • Geevee
    This was a very well researched and informative - enjoyable too - account of the first murder on Britain's railways in the 1860s. The case is itself interesting as the book recounts the detectives' quest to piece together the events leading to Thomas Briggs' death and then the journey (literally) to apprehend the main suspect.What made the book of even greater interest for me was the social aspects relating to the victim and suspect, plus the pol...
  • David Williams
    I must admit to a certain initial prejudice against purchasing this book because, having read the blurb, it seemed to me an attempt to cash in on the success of Kate Summerscale's excellent 'The Suspicions of Mr Whicher'. Indeed Jack Whicher is mentioned in these pages as a contemporary of the detective Inspector Richard Tanner who is the chief investigator of the murder of Thomas Briggs in a Victorian railway carriage, the subject of Kate Colquh...
  • Bonnie
    The novel describes the first Victorian Railway Killing based on actual facts. The date is July, 1964 and Thomas Briggs was traveling home after work and stopping off to have dinner with his niece and husband. He boarded the first class carriage on the p:45 pm Hackney service of the North London railway. A short time later, two bank clerks entered the compartment where Briggs had just been. As they sat down, they noticed blood pooled in the inden...
  • AdiTurbo
    DNF, the mystery would have been interesting if it hadn't been drowned in too many details, most of which drag the pace down to a minimum, making this book almost unreadable. For me, it was just too boring.
  • Ali
    Accounts of infamous historical crimes and trials have become quite a popular genre of late, and I can see why. This is the third or fourth of such books that I have read with enormous enjoyment. Allowing the reader an insight into the workings of the police force and justice system, on which so much of what happens today is based, is endlessly fascinating. I love flicking through the old photographs and always enjoy the excerpts of newspaper rep...
  • Rachel Stevenson
    Mr Briggs' Hat has been compared with Kate Summerscale's The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, and this real life detective is mentioned as a contemporary of the book's policeman, Tanner, but it reminded me more of PD James's The Maul and The Pear Tree, the subject of which was the Ratcliffe Highway murders. This book takes place in an entirely different milieu, not the Georgian slums of Wapping, but the mid-Victorian bourgeois enclave of Hackney (yes, b...
  • Dan
    Thomas Briggs was killed on a train in 1864. Here Colquhoun tells the true story of the investigation and trial into who was responsible. The book often doesn't feel like a non-fiction book due to the style it is written in. It is told pretty much as a narrative from the night of the murder right the way through the investigation up until a hanging. It does a good job at telling us what the people involved were like and the use of contemporary so...
  • Pat Gerber-Relf
    A lot of books have been written going into details about crimes committed in the 19th century. This one is not really out of the ordinary, but in my case interesting as the place where the murder took place was an area which I knew quite well as I lived there in the first 20 years of my life. The East End of London has changed a lot over the years. I was surprised to read about a railway line existing where the murder was comitted, with station ...
  • Caroline
    There seems to be a big of a vogue at the moment for Victorian true crime - I'm thinking of 'The Suspicions of Mr Whicher', 'Mrs Robinson's Diary' etc. Personally I think it's a fascination with the curiosity dichotomy of Victorian life - that respectable exterior versus the seedy underbelly, the dignity and restraint verse the morbid ghoulishness. And what can I say, I'm a sucker for all of that.This book charts the case of the murder of Mr Thom...
  • V. Briceland
    The murder of Mr. Thomas Briggs in a locked first-class railway carriage might have been the London trial everyone talked about in 1864, but Kate Coquhoun's account is not as sensational as the title implies. It's a sturdy and dutiful piece of research, to be sure, with an abundance of hats in evidence. Missing hats. Bloodied hats. Crushed hats. Hats with new lining. Hats that had been sewn and not glued. It's a Victorian shell game, with a murde...
  • Cate
    This was okay. It started fairly briskly but got kind of bogged down as the narrative went on. Thomas Briggs was found dead on the railway tracks having been assaulted & either was either thrown or fell from the train. The clues were few & far between and police investigation by detectives was still in its infancy. Ultimately a young man, Thomas Mueller became the chief person of interest and was ultimately extradited from the USA where he sailed...
  • Wash your hands.
    Started promising enough but then fell flat. Warning. The second set of pictures ruin the ending.
  • Merryl
    Compared sometimes unfavourably with the Suspicions of Mr Wicher but this is a good book in its own right. Well researched and written.
  • Sandra
    I saw a this story on TV once and was intrigued so I read this book, but for some reason it was not my style. Interesting but still felt a bit like a overgrown newspaper article.
  • Katherine Addison
    Yet another case of Victorian justice gone wrong.
  • Christine
    This started off really well and became bogged down with technicalities.
  • Catherine Davison
    I found it a fascinating read but at times she repeated herself just a little too much so that it felt like 'filler'. I don't think he did it.
  • DeAnna Knippling
    A decent book that definitely wrings its subject matter dry. Very dry. When they say it's written like a murder mystery, what they mean is a very, very thorough procedural. YMMV.
  • SJ
    I have tried my best not to give any spoilers away in this review. If I have inadvertently done so, then please accept my apologies!The story begins with the Murder of Mr Briggs. A kind gentleman sitting on the train in a first-class carriage. There are three Books to this story. In Book 1 the writer takes us through the finding of the body, the bloodied carriage and The Hat. As the story progresses through Book 1 you are made aware of the anger ...
  • Colin Garrow
    When Thomas Briggs got into a first-class carriage to travel home after visiting relatives, he couldnt have known hed never reach his destination. The discovery of bloodied seat cushions, a bloodstained hat and a broken watch chain, signalled what was to become known as Britains first railway murder. Would police be able to apprehend their prime suspect, and if so, would the evidence against him stand up in court?Kate Colquhouns account of this h...
  • Mari
    I'm very fussy about non-fiction books. Many of them, despite containing promising subject matter, can be rather tedious or lose their momentum part way through. But not this one. 'Mr Briggs' Hat' follows accounts of the first murder committed on the new British railways and the hunt to capture the murderer that takes the reader from the seedy streets of London, to the burgeoning city of New York. Kate Colquhoun has written an incredibly engaging...