Woman at the Devil's Door

Woman at the Devil's Door

The Untold True Story of the Hampstead Murderess
Sarah Beth Hopton
Distribution: Canada, Mexico and United States of America
Publication date: 06/01/2018
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-03462-5
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Discover the haunting untold true story of the woman whose crimes inspired speculation that Jack the Ripper was a woman.

On October 24, 1890, a woman was discovered on a pile of rubbish in Hampstead, North London. Her arms were lacerated and her face bloodied; her head was severed from her body save a few sinews. Later that day, a blood-soaked stroller was found leaning against a residential gate, and the following morning the dead body of a baby was found hidden underneath a nettle bush. So began the chilling story of the Hampstead Tragedy.

Eventually, Scotland Yard knocked on the door of No. 2 Priory Street, home to Mary Eleanor Pearcey, the pretty 24-year-old mistress whose dying request was as bizarre and mysterious as her life. Woman at the Devil’s Door is a thrilling look at this notorious murderer and the webs she wove.

Author Bio

Sarah Beth Hopton came by her love of crime writing honestly; her father was a detective and a graduate of Quantico’s FBI Academy, and he shared his love of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes with her at an early age. She grew up visiting her dad at the county jail and poring over his old, unsolved case files or eating a Snickers bar with Old Smokey, the beloved District Attorney. Hopton is currently an Assistant Professor in the English Department at Appalachian State University. She is working on her second book, which details the Mullins Massacre of 1892 at the Pound Gap between Kentucky and Virginia.


“Mary Pearcey is one of the classic Victorian murder cases that has always attracted great public interest. It is amazing that this harrowing case has never been the subject of a detailed and accurate study—at last this glaring gap in the shelves of true crime studies has been filled. This lengthy, detailed, and amazingly accurate book could not have been bettered and crime historians owe Sarah Beth Hopton a debt of gratitude for her masterly command of the subject.”
 — Stewart P. Evans, author of Executioner: The Chronicles of James Berry, Victorian Hangman

“Mary Pearcey’s murder of her lover’s wife and baby daughter in 1890 shocked and horrified the nation, but there has never been a full-length account of this appalling crime—until now! And what a superb job Sarah Beth Hopton has done in compiling this documented account, correcting several long-standing errors along the way.”
 — Paul Begg, author of Jack the Ripper: The Facts

“A brilliant work of scholarship that, from its first page, reads like a forensic thriller. Sarah Beth Hopton’s Woman at the Devil’s Door brings to life one of the most sensational, if long-forgotten, crimes of Victorian England. Fanciers of historical true crime owe Hopton a debt of thanks for this utterly gripping book.”
 — Harold Schechter, author of The Mad Sculptor: The Model, the Maniac, and the Murder That Shook the Nation

“"Hopton crafted a page-turning book that reads like a forensic thriller. Hopton’s appreciation for crime writing is evident and creates an experience for the reader that is as memorable as the murder she details."”
 — Hippocampus Magazine

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Table of Contents


1. The Crime

2. The Inquest

3. The Murderess, the Lover, and the Wife

4. The Funeral of Phoebe and Tiggie Hogg

5. The Committal and Trial

6. The Execution


Notes and References

Select Bibliography