Top 5 books about death

At the beginning of the month, I tentatively questioned the possibility of starting a monthly series on death. To my surprise, it was really well received so I'm excited to begin! To start my series, I've decided to look at my books around the topics of crime and death, and choose my favourite 5 for anyone who's interested in reading more around the subject.
Books about crime and death

One Of Your Own: The Life and Death of Myra Hindley by Carol Ann LeeCarol Ann Lee is an expert on the case of the Moors Murders and is in fact married to the brother of one of the victims, so she has a very deep understanding of them. When it comes to British serial killers, the Moors Murderers- Ian Brady and Myra Hindley- are those that I know the most about and this highly-rated book is an incredible resource. Although it's fundamentally concerned with Hindley, it also goes into quite some detail about the background of Brady. A biography of Myra Hindley's life from birth right up to her death in prison, One of Your Own draws on primary sources as well as interviews from those who were close to Hindley. It's incredibly comprehensive and lists a huge number of texts for future reading around the cases. I cannot recommend it enough.

Full review coming soon // Buy One of Your Own here

The Fireside Book of Death by Robert Wilkins
This is the book that first piqued my interest in cultures surrounding death. As an inquisitive 8 year old, I was hugely intrigued by my dad's copy of The Fireside Book of Death. He recently gave me the book which was an emotional moment for me! It is primarily concerned with cultural beliefs surrounding death and how these were manifested, so it explores topics such as burial, preservation and grave-robbing. I found it a light-hearted starter guide to read around a wide range of topics and identify those that are of most interest.

Full review here // Buy The Fireside Book of Death here

Forty Years of Murder by Professor Keith Simpson
Another book that belonged to my dad. Can you tell where I got my morbid curiosity from? Keith Simpson was a pioneering forensic pathologist who worked on some absolutely huge criminal cases, such as the Acid Bath Murders and the Kray twins. In the 1970s, he wrote his autobiography, Forty Years of Murder. Although the information is, of course, hugely outdated by now, it's nevertheless a fascinating, and very honest, look at the development of modern pathology.

Full review coming soon // Buy Forty Years of Murder here

Bram Stoker's Dracula
Moving onto fiction, I love Dracula as an exploration of the relationship between life and death, and whether the two are mutually exclusive. It's a really interesting theme to go into- What exactly defines life and death? Can you experience both at the same time? What is the relationship of the soul and the body within the states of life and death? 

Full review here // Buy Dracula here

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
Frankenstein is, in a way, the opposite of Dracula; While in the latter, the title character lingers on after death, in Frankenstein, the monster is given life retrospectively. Again, it brings up all sorts of questions around the themes of life and death and especially in terms of the morals surrounding these: Is all life worth living? Should humans have the power to create artificial life? What constitutes life, exactly?

Full review here // Buy Frankenstein here


Although I've yet to read them, here are some books I've been recommended that I'm eager to dive into!
Good books about death
How to Read a Graveyard: The summary and reviews of this book are fairly vague but it's highly rated so I'm intrigued to try it!
Necropolis: London and Its Dead: London is, in my opinion, the greatest city in the world. I find its history absolutely fascinating, so combine with death culture and we're onto a winner!
Being Mortal: Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End: This book is more on the living side of death and the ethics surrounding medication or cures that give us longer lifespans. 
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers: The author of Stiff, Mary Roach, examines the different uses we can put our bodies to after we die. 
The Gates of Janus: I'm not entirely sure how this book was ever published, since it's written by Ian Brady (under UK law he won't earn any money from the sales). It's widely criticised as a self-indulgent, rambling read but no doubt reveals some of the superiority and grandiose complexes of the author. 

If you have any other recommendations, I'd love to know about them! 

Affiliate links have been used in this post

Bloglovin' // Twitter // Instagram


  1. I really like the idea of this series. I am absolutely terrified of death, to the point where I can't breath if I start thinking about it. Nevertheless, it will happen whether I like it or not. I think I will read some of these books to help myself become more comfortable with death, if that is possible. I will start with The Fireside Book of Death as that has drawn me the most.


  2. One of my favourites to read is The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule. It's a first hand look at the Ted Bundy killings and case by someone who was a close friend of his. It's possibly one of the best ones I have read regarding his case!

    Chelsea | Le Beau Fleur

  3. I watched a programme about Hindley and Brady, it had actors reinacting events with the information inbetween and neighbours and school friends commenting about them. It was fascinating

  4. It's a way off yet (I'm waiting to hear back from a publishing agent at the moment) but you might like my book when it is finally released (if it ever is!). It's not specifically about death but is about apparitions etc. It's about the results of my PhD research on paranormal experiences and although I might be slightly biased I think it's really quite interesting x

    Becky @ The Little Blog of Beauty

  5. I love Dracula and Frankenstein, such a fan of all things deathly and macabre!

    Sarah | sarahinwonderland.co.uk <3


I read all comments and appreciate every single one, even if I can't always reply. If you have a question or need a reply, feel free to tweet me @BeckyBedbug- I always reply to tweets!

Blog Design by Get Polished | Copyright Becky Craggs 2017