'Ladies and Gentlemen...I have to state that Mrs Lovett's pies are made of human flesh!'This shocking announcement provides the stunning dnouement to a narrative first published over a period of four months in the winter of 1846-7. The revelation marked only the beginning, however, of the notorious career of Sweeney Todd, soon known to legend as the 'Demon Barber' of London's Fleet Street. The story of Todd's entrepreneurial partnership with neighbouring pie-maker Margery Lovett - at once inconceivably unpalatable and undeniably compelling - has subsequently providedthe substance for a seemingly endless series of successful dramatic adaptations, popular songs and ballads, novellas, radio plays, graphic novels, ballets, films, and musicals. Both gleeful and ghoulish, the original tale of Sweeney Todd, first published under the title The String of Pearls, is an earlyclassic of British horror writing. It combines the story of Todd's grisly method of robbing and dispatching his victims with a romantic sub-plot involving deception, disguise, and detective work, set against the backdrop of London's dark and unsavoury streets. This edition provides an authoritative text of the first version of the story ever to be published, as well as a lively introduction to its history and reputation.