Shooting Victoria is not just another biography of the illustrious queen or a history about the eponymous era she generated. Murphy takes the very interesting angle of looking at her 64-year reign through the eight assassination attempts on Victoria, from the attempt by the vainglorious Edward Oxford, only three shaky years into her reign, to the more serious one by the unstable Robert Maclean 42 years later.
Through each would-be assassin, we get a fascinating portrait not only of Victoria, but of her country and people. As Victorian Britain changes through the decades, so do the villains and their reasons for threatening their queen. Some attempts highlighted ¬¬issues within the government or social structure of the country, while others set off changes, through both the public’s and Victoria’s reactions. Murphy doesn’t just focus on these eight criminals, though, but follows them into Newgate and the courtroom, shedding light on some of the other sensational crimes of the time and how the British legal system evolved in response. Despite its length, Shooting Victoria is never dry or slow, but remains a fascinating portrait into an enigmatic monarch and her reign.