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Publisher's Summary

A real-life thriller in the vein of The Devil in the White City, Kate Winkler Dawson's debut, Death in the Air, is a gripping, historical narrative of a serial killer, an environmental disaster, and an iconic city struggling to regain its footing.
In winter 1952, London automobiles and thousands of coal-burning hearths belched particulate matter into the air. But the smog that descended on December fifth of 1952 was different; it was a type that held the city hostage for five long days. Mass transit ground to a halt, criminals roamed the streets, and 12,000 people died. That same month, there was another killer at large in London: John Reginald Christie, who murdered at least six women. In a braided narrative that draws on extensive interviews, never-before-published material, and archival research, Dawson captivatingly recounts the intersecting stories of the these two killers and their longstanding impact on modern history.
©2017 Kate Winkler Dawson (P)2017 Hachette Audio
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Critic Reviews

"What's great about Death in the Air is not just its stunning premise, but also its deep reach into the life of London in the mid-twentieth century. It's a wonderful read. Welcome to the metaphysics of fog." (S. C. Gwynne, New York Times best-selling author of Empire of the Summer Moon and Rebel Yell)
"Journalist Dawson writes the parallel, shocking histories of the suffocating smog that menaced London, ultimately killing thousands, in December 1952, and a serial killer's salacious murders and trial the following year. Focusing on the powerful press' response to both killers and offering food for thought on what constitutes crime, responsibility, and progress, Dawson delves into heated parliamentary debates between Churchill's Conservative cabinet and Laborite agitators; first-person accounts from doctors, policemen, and other smog survivors; court records; and Christie's own, jaw-dropping account of his murders." ( Booklist)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By irene on 11-27-17


This book is an interwoven true story of a serial killer and an airborne killer emerging at about the same time in London. The narrator was excellent and made a difference to what was already an eloquent narrative. Recommended, especially if you enjoyed Devil in the white City.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 11-08-17

Great combination of history & true crime

This is a great intermingling of stories about a serial killer I didn't know anything about & an important historical event most Americans haven't studied.

If you like true crime or British history, especially the rebuilding years right after the WWII, you'd love this great intertwined tale. The authentic narrator really brings smoggy London to life!

Note that Winston Churchill & The Royal Family are supporting players in this story. Parliament takes a starring role along with Post-war London. Don't miss Margaret Thatcher's brief cameo!

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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