MATTERS OF FELONY by Margery Weiner


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Here's a neat example of the present paralleling the past to the advantage of a publisher. Recently, in Sicily, a young man abducted an unwilling heiress, eloped with her into the hills and there (by tradition and common sense, it is assumed) he made off with her honor. Instead of playing the local game and marrying the man when he let her go, she sued. He's been given a long sentence and she's being reviled by the populace, especially the women. Which all goes to prove something or other--maybe that 20th century Sicily is altogether too much like 18th century Ireland. You could get hung there for abducting an heiress, although the death penalty was seldom imposed. This book discusses the case of two ""squireens"" (the term implies social standing but not much money) who made off with the beautiful Kennedy sisters, forced them through a marriage ceremony, repeatedly had their wicked way with the reluctant girls and were caught trying to smuggle them to France. They were hung for it. They became posthumous romantic heroes and the girls were reviled by their neighbors for testifying against the romantic pair. The author uses the case to expose the social, economic and religious pressures in Ireland under English rule. It's interesting, well researched and defies a general market designation.

Pub Date: March 17th, 1967
Publisher: Atheneum