In the Middle Ages, Norwich was the largest city in England apart from London. It maintained this position until the eighteenth-century, when it was overtaken by Bristol. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries Norwich became known as a county town with a market and wide range of industries. This colourful history is one that inevitably embraces its share of murders and misdemeanours. The history of crime and punishment has played out here as much as in London or any other city. One aspect of criminality remained unchanged from the twelfth to the nineteenth century, the role of Norwich Castle as a prison; it was a place where criminals were kept while awaiting trial, not a place for locking them up afterwards. The major crimes were: theft, rape, murder and the occasional case of forgery or treason. If you committed a major crime, how long you waited in prison for your trial would depend on when the assize judges were next in town. All cases were heard before a jury of landowners, no women were allowed to serve as jurors. The consequences of this are explored several times in this book; the defence council might appeal to male prejudices by attempting to impugn the moral qualities of a female victim. Norwich Murders & Misdemeanours offers a fascinating insight into the darker side of Norwich.
Frank Meeres is a well-known local author. He has worked for many years at the Norfolk Record Office and is a prominent local historian. Norfolk was a hotbed of suffragette activity, and this motivated Frank to explore the history of the movement on a national level. He lives in Norwich.