Besides recounting years of subterfuge, media hype, greed, and fraud, Eatwell throws light on Victorian and Edwardian...

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THE DEAD DUKE, HIS SECRET WIFE, AND THE MISSING CORPSE

AN EXTRAORDINARY EDWARDIAN CASE OF DECEPTION AND INTRIGUE

The tale of a sensational trial that riveted Edwardian England for more than a decade.

BBC documentary producer Eatwell (They Eat Horses, Don’t They: The Truth About the French, 2014, etc.) brings her skills as a researcher and training as a lawyer to this engrossing tale of mystery, lies, and intrigue. Central to the plot is the fifth Duke of Portland, a man of startling eccentricities. Possibly because he suffered from a skin disease, he refused to be seen, even by his servants and household staff, communicating with them by letters left in boxes affixed to each room’s door. He built a huge labyrinth of underground tunnels to enable him to travel through his property without detection. In addition, he insisted that newspapers be ironed before handed to him and coins washed. When he died in 1879, his cousin inherited the dukedom and set about revitalizing the house that the duke had left barely furnished and in disrepair. To the sixth duke’s surprise, however, in 1897, a widow came forth, petitioning the court to exhume the grave of her father-in-law, a London department store owner. He had not died, she claimed; he really was the fifth duke, who had led a double life and who reverted to his real identity after a coffin was buried, filled not with the remains of her father-in-law but with lead. Her son, therefore, was his real heir. To reveal the outcome of the 10-year legal wrangling would be to spoil Eatwell’s cliffhanging narrative. Each chapter ends with a question unresolved, a discovery soon to be made, or a character (there are more than 40) gasping in disbelief.

Besides recounting years of subterfuge, media hype, greed, and fraud, Eatwell throws light on Victorian and Edwardian society: aristocratic entitlement and power, numbing poverty, political corruption, and many secret lives.

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-63149-123-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Liveright/Norton

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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IN COLD BLOOD

"There's got to be something wrong with somebody who'd do a thing like that." This is Perry Edward Smith, talking about himself. "Deal me out, baby...I'm a normal." This is Richard Eugene Hickock, talking about himself. They're as sick a pair as Leopold and Loeb and together they killed a mother, a father, a pretty 17-year-old and her brother, none of whom they'd seen before, in cold blood. A couple of days before they had bought a 100 foot rope to garrote them—enough for ten people if necessary. This small pogrom took place in Holcomb, Kansas, a lonesome town on a flat, limitless landscape: a depot, a store, a cafe, two filling stations, 270 inhabitants. The natives refer to it as "out there." It occurred in 1959 and Capote has spent five years, almost all of the time which has since elapsed, in following up this crime which made no sense, had no motive, left few clues—just a footprint and a remembered conversation. Capote's alternating dossier Shifts from the victims, the Clutter family, to the boy who had loved Nancy Clutter, and her best friend, to the neighbors, and to the recently paroled perpetrators: Perry, with a stunted child's legs and a changeling's face, and Dick, who had one squinting eye but a "smile that works." They had been cellmates at the Kansas State Penitentiary where another prisoner had told them about the Clutters—he'd hired out once on Mr. Clutter's farm and thought that Mr. Clutter was perhaps rich. And this is the lead which finally broke the case after Perry and Dick had drifted down to Mexico, back to the midwest, been seen in Kansas City, and were finally picked up in Las Vegas. The last, even more terrible chapters, deal with their confessions, the law man who wanted to see them hanged, back to back, the trial begun in 1960, the post-ponements of the execution, and finally the walk to "The Corner" and Perry's soft-spoken words—"It would be meaningless to apologize for what I did. Even inappropriate. But I do. I apologize." It's a magnificent job—this American tragedy—with the incomparable Capote touches throughout. There may never have been a perfect crime, but if there ever has been a perfect reconstruction of one, surely this must be it.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 1965

ISBN: 0375507906

Page Count: 343

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1965

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