Murder on the Home Front: A True Story of Morgues, Murderers, and Mysteries during the London Blitz

Murder on the Home Front: A True Story of Morgues, Murderers, and Mysteries during the London Blitz

by Molly Lefebure


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, September 18


It is 1941. While the "war of chaos" rages in the skies above London, an unending fight against violence, murder and the criminal underworld continues on the streets below.

One ordinary day, in an ordinary courtroom, forensic pathologist Dr. Keith Simpson asks a keen young journalist to be his secretary. Although the "horrors of secretarial work" don't appeal to Molly Lefebure, she's intrigued to know exactly what goes on behind a mortuary door.

Capable and curious, "Miss Molly" quickly becomes indispensible to Dr. Simpson as he meticulously pursues the truth. Accompanying him from somber morgues to London's most gruesome crime scenes, Molly observes and assists as he uncovers the dark secrets that all murder victims keep.

With a sharp sense of humor and a rebellious spirit, Molly tells her own remarkable true story here with warmth and wit, painting a vivid portrait of wartime London.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781455576067
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 04/01/2014
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 1,015,044
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.75(d)

About the Author

Molly Lefebure was secretary to acclaimed forensic pathologist Dr. Keith Simpson during the Second World War. Her memoir of her time at the Department of Forensic Medicine was originally published in 1955 as Evidence for the Crown. She went on to write children's books, a biography of Coleridge and several novels and became a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature before her death in 2013.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Editor's Note ix

Foreword Keith Simpson xi

1 A Good Job for Corpses 1

2 My First Day in the Mortuaries 8

3 Life in the Mortuaries 11

4 My First Murder 16

5 Tale of Two Lovers 22

6 Murder on Waterloo Bridge 29

7 Portrait of a Merry Widow 34

8 Thoughts and Episodes of Spring 41

9 "In the Spring a Young Man's Fancy" 49

10 Case of a Lifetime 53

11 The Wigwam Murder 77

12 The Gentle Art of Hanging 88

13 Interiors 95

14 Portrait of a Fairy 103

15 Severe Testing of a Secretary 114

16 Underworld 119

17 Murder in a Fog 126

18 War Work 143

19 A Secret Weapon 162

20 Body in a Hole 174

21 Private Diary 189

22 Boys of the New Brigade 197

23 "Tis Love, Tis Love That Makes the World Go Round…" 221

24 Murder at "Charley Browns" 224

25 Coming through the Rye 236

26 The Black in the Smoke 255

27 I Find a Successor 265

Questions for Further Discussion 271

About the Author 273

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Murder on the Home Front: A True Story of Morgues, Murderers, and Mysteries during the London Blitz 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gritty true stories of murders, but told very cleverly. The author and her writing style pull you in, and this makes reading about some awful stuff really interesting. The time period and settings adds to the book as well. Another excellent book on the NOOK is "The Partisan" by William Jarvis. This is a historical fiction based on actual events and a true villian. It too has a strong and well written female character as part of the novel. Both books deserve A+++++++++
Ariana_EJR More than 1 year ago
Someone should be commended for reprinting this book. Molly Lefebre landed what was either a plum book or a horror, as a secretary to one of the great pathologist of World War II London. I believe that it was recently made into a two part movie. The book is great. As befits the subject it is darkly funny and pulls no punches. She describes a the murder of a woman and "The room was unbelievably dirty, and though you couldn't see the bugs they were there. ...The place was rotten and reeking with dirt. She muses about people living in filth and ends,: Personally I feel that a clean prostitute was better than a dirty stinking housewife who lets her children live like cockroaches. Ms Lefebre gives us a good picture of both the work of a pathologist, and of the police, and of conditions in London during the last years of the wars. The part describing the 'doodle-bombs' gave me a lot of insight into Britain and their sheer determination, or as Molly herself puts summing up her and everyone else's attitudes" "Or sheer British cussedness; Hitler wants to win, so we're not going to let him," I've read any number of books on WwwII. This reprint, it was originally printed in 1955, is a welcome addition.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An interesting, good book that can be read as a series of short stories.
prussblue10 6 months ago
This is a re-read for me and I have enjoyed it perhaps more the second time around. It is a unique book well written by a unique woman. She would have been a most interesting woman to know. It is not fiction but well-told tales of her experiences as a woman who changed carriers to work with a WWII civilian forensic pathologist in the UK during the period of WWII.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago