In the early years of the Victorian age, a newly literate class of readers turned to “penny dreadfuls” for escapist fun. Blood-curdling tales, published in installments and costing only a penny, offered gripping episodes of romance, mystery, and horror. The notorious penny dreadful Sweeney Todd: The String of Pearls recounts a young woman's desperate search for her missing sailor sweetheart―a quest that ends in a Fleet Street barber shop, where the proprietor has an unsavory connection with a local baker and the secret ingredient to her delicious meat pies.Authorship of this tale, which was printed anonymously in 1846–47 in eighteen weekly installments, remains in doubt. The story's serial publication ensured an abundance of cliffhangers, and its dark humor made it an especially appealing source for the long-running Broadway musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. A delight for fans of the modern play, this gripping yarn remains a treat for readers of Victorian mysteries.