THEY HANGED MY SAINTLY BILLY by Robert Graves

THEY HANGED MY SAINTLY BILLY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Graves has an established reputation as an historical novelist and all his special gifts come into play in an unusually fascinating recreation of the career, trial and education of Palmer, who was known as the mass poisoner. It is fictional in form only, in that a reporter, presumably is digging out the full facts of the case through interviews, letters, trail records, etc., interspersed with a few passages of conclusions. The interviews are generally wonderfully well done, giving besides evidence pictures of gay evening life in London, the activities and people of the race tracks, small town jealousies and feuds, and sidelights on the medical profession and the state of the legal profession in mid-19th century England, Graves' contention seems to be that though Palmer may very well have been a murderer (though perhaps not a poisoner) he was probably not guilty of the death for which he was executed, and most certainly should not have been convicted on the evidence given at his most unfair trial.... A Must for true-crime addicts and recommended to those interested in period novels as well. Readers should be cautioned that there are a couple of gruesome autopsies, and some rather lengthy and boring details of financial finagling. But the whole adds up to an unusual reading experience.
Pub Date: May 23rd, 1957
ISBN: 0897330293
Page count: 316pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1957




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