Deadly Service

Murderous Maids, Devious Housekeepers and Butlers Who Kill

by Kate Clarke

Published by: Mango Books

286 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in

  • Paperback
  • 9781911273684
  • Published: April 2019


  • Hardcover
  • 9780993180668
  • Published: April 2019


What is it that ignites and unleashes an uncontrollable fury, exposing the smouldering resentment in those who finally rebel against a life of servitude? Surprisingly perhaps, this type of killing is relatively rare and when one considers the degradation and exploitation experienced by generations of servants, it is remarkable indeed that so few have resorted to murder. This book contains studies of seven extraordinary cases of servants who have killed their employers, revealing the frustration and inner turmoil fostered by insecurity, poverty or greed so urgent and compelling that they were driven to kill, each in a totally different way. But in each case it achieved nothing. Kate Webster, Charles Houghton and Louisa Merrifield lost their lives on the gallows. One of the Papin sisters lost her sanity. Jane Cox, though never charged with the murder of Charles Bravo, lost Florence Bravo's friendship, her credibility and her job. As for John Lee, though he cheated death in one of the most bizarre incidents in criminal history, nevertheless wasted twenty-two years of his life in prison. Finally, the incorrigible Roy Fontaine, convicted of five murders and incarcerated for the rest of his life, time enough to reflect on his extraordinary life and truly callous killings before dying in Kingston Prison, Portsmouth, on 16 September, 2002, aged 78.