The "penny bloodâ€ came into being through a process which began with higher standards of general education and literacy in England at the beginning of the 19th century, and continued with the invention of fast and efficient printing presses and cheap paper production. These combined elements simultaneously created a new, mass market for literature, and fed that market with new, affordable product. The gothic novel, popular amongst a rarefied class of literary readers, duly gave way to sensationalistic, graphic shockers for the masses. The PENNY BLOOD CLASSICS ebook series, which focuses on the "golden ageâ€ of the penny bloods, starts with the legendary tale of Sweeney Todd, cut-throat barber of London's Fleet Street. Perhaps inspired by "Horrible Murder And Human Pie-Makers", a gruesome true crime story published in 1825 in The Tell-Tale and included here as a fascinating bonus story. Todd first appeared in Edward Lloyd's celebrated serial "The String Of Pearls" (1846-47), most likely written by James Malcolm Rymer, either alone or alternating with Thomas Peckett Prest. The blood-curdling version included here is from a lesser-known periodical, probably published around 1850, by which time Todd had acquired, via a theatrical melodrama by George Dibden Pitt, his famous catch-phrase "I'll polish him offâ€ . The book also includes an extensive introduction on the history of the penny blood.