Kate Winkler Dawson’s Death in the Air intertwines the stories of two deadly phenomena that Londoners experienced during the early 1950’s. The first relates to John Reginald Christie, a serial killer who was active in London’s Notting Hill. The second involves what became known as the Great Smog of 1952 – a pollution fueled fog that was eventually responsible for perhaps as many as 12,000 deaths. Augmented by eyewitness accounts, the combination of these stories produces a grim portrait of postwar London, a city already gripped with poverty, unemployment, a high crime rate, and the continuing aftermath of the Blitz.
The strongest quality of Death in the Air is its fast pace; Dawson creates a compelling read that is often hard to put down. The number of important names and places included is few, which further adds to the book’s readability. For these reasons, I would recommend this book to anyone starting out with nonfiction, or for regular readers of nonfiction/history who dislike getting bogged down in details, places, or names. Given the grim nature of the topics covered, I would also recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of true crime.
- Death in the Air is a quick read that fans of true crime books and podcasts will enjoy.
- There are moments of violence, but nothing that will shock true crime, nonfiction, and history readers.
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