Thursday, February 12, 2015

Amy Helen Bell's "Murder Capital"

Amy Helen Bell is Associate Professor of History at Huron University College in London, Ontario, Canada. Her research interests focus on the social history of London and the history of forensics and crime scene photography.

Here Bell dreamcasts the lead for an adaptation of her new book, Murder Capital: Suspicious Deaths in London, England, 1933-53:
Murder Capital doesn’t have one main historical actor. It’s a study of how the investigation of murders and other suspicious deaths in London changed during the Second World War and its aftermath, and how the social upheavals and physical changes in the city affected who was committing deadly violence and why. One of the main themes that came out of this research was the use of crime scene photography by the Metropolitan Police and public prosecutors as a tool to document crimes and to give judges and juries a visual context for the cases being considered. In the film version of the book, I’d make the main character a young police photographer, just starting out in 1934, taking pictures of a murdered bookie in a Kensington workhouse. The film would trace his fictional career along with the actual history of the cases which were photographed , ending with the unsolved case of a schoolgirl stabbed on a street corner in Brixton in 1953. I’d have him played by Martin Freeman, who can convey the stoicism and responsibility necessary for a police detective, mediated by a core of compassion and feeling that the photographs continue to evoke in the viewer today.
Visit Amy Helen Bell's website.

--Marshal Zeringue