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Before his murder in 1831, the 'Italian boy' was one of thousands of orphans on the streets of London, moving among the livestock, hawkers, and con men, begging for pennies. When his body was sold to a London medical college, the suppliers were arrested for murder. Their high-profile trial would unveil London's furtive trade in human corpses carried out by body-snatchers-or 'resurrection men'- who killed to satisfy the first rule of the cadaver market - the fresher the body, the higher the price. Historian Sarah Wise reconstructs not only the boy's murder but the chaos and squalor of London that swallowed the fourteen-year-old vagrant long before his corpse appeared on the slab. In 1831, the city's poor were desperate and the wealthy were petrified, the population swelling so fast that old class borders could not possibly hold. In a work as vivid and intricate as a Dickens novel, historian Wise reconstructs the 1831 murder of an orphan whose body was subsequently sold to a London medical college. The high-profile trial would expose the chaos and squalor of a growing city at the brink of modernity.