A 19th century criminal case has points of interest for other than criminally minded because of its central figure, Thomas...

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THE GENTEEL MURDERER

A 19th century criminal case has points of interest for other than criminally minded because of its central figure, Thomas Griffiths Wainewright, whose spiraling career crossed the literary and artistic circles of his time. Raised by his uncle and scarred by family history, he aimed for, and achieved, a reputation as a columnist, a fop, bon vivant and connoisseur; his charm brewed distrust among some while others were taken in by his debonair poses. Forgery, to obtain his inheritance still in trust, came after the sudden death of his uncle while marriage to Helen brought him new victims. His mother-in-law was next and then, when creditors pressed too hard, came his coup -- insurance policies on Helen's sister. Her painful death put him to flight and after some questionable activities on the Continent, he was captured, tried and jailed -- but not for murder -- on his return to England. Deported to Van Dieman's Land, he spent nine years in the penal colony and hospitals, his sinister reputation kept up with him until death. Used by Dickens and Bulwer-Lytton in their books, and with Lady Blessington, Lamb, De Quincey, Macready and many more in these circles having some connection with his life, Wainwright makes a full scale villain in proper tradition and fully documented. For the fanciers.

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 1956

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1956