The macabre true story of Burke and Hare still fascinates and stands as one of Edinburgh’s most enduring tales: the chronicle of the two serial killers, William Burke and William Hare, who sold their victims' bodies to Edinburgh’s Medical School.
The gruesome saga of these 19th century murders has inspired playground rhymes, books, TV shows and a major Hollywood production filmed in Edinburgh starring Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis.
Edinburgh’s Robert Louis Stevenson was fascinated by the tale, and along with other grisly local stories such as that of Deacon Brodie, it influenced a great deal of his writing, especially the short story The Body Snatchers.
Other works about the pair include:
The Infamous Burke & Hare - R Michael Gordon
A historical lowdown of the events as well as a detailed look at the wider context of early 19th century Edinburgh and the burgeoning medical sciences industry.
The Anatomy Murders - Lisa Rosner
A new in-depth enthralling account of the murders and a compelling narrative on those personalities involved.
Burke and Hare: Crime Archive - Alanna Knight
This retelling of the story includes many of the fascinating details of the crimes themselves, including the court reports and accounts from the duo’s contemporaries.
Burke & Hare, A Graphic Novel - Martin Conaghan and William Pickering
A new and exciting version of the story taking the form of a graphic novel, allowing you to delve right in to the sights of early 19th century Edinburgh.
The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner - James Hogg
One of Scotland’s most celebrated books, and perhaps the original gothic novel. Hogg delves deep into the Scottish psyche of Burke & Hare’s day and forces the reader to reassess what they see with each following narrative.
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson
Although set in London, Stevenson’s experiences of his home town and his knowledge of her most famous tales, effect the atmosphere and direct the narrative of his gothic horror masterpiece.
The Fanatic - James Robertson
A modern day classic, Robertson builds on the great gothic novels of Scotlands past and crafts a beguiling tale of history and atonement.