MURDER IN NEW ENGLAND by Theodore Roscoe


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The Story of a Gaslight Crime is reconstructed- and reinterpreted- from records, newspaper items, pictures in an attic- some thirty years after Abby Bridewell, a cast-iron old woman, fell to her death down the cellar steps- sandbagged, or so it was thought. Mr. Roscoe's curiosity is lively, and his handling genial, as he revives the inbred household which she managed-meanly- keeping a close hold as well on her two sons: Lionel, handsome, wayward, spendthrift, and Earnest, the politician and State Senator- a miserly man. A lot of dirty linen is re-hung on the line; Abby's relationship with her niece, indebted to and hard-pressed by her; a political campaign smear in which Earnest had engaged at the expense of a cousin; some market manipulations; and the seduction (presumably Lionel's- actually Earnest's) of a ""foreigner's"" young daughter which led to an illegitimate child. Following Abby's death, the obsequies and the autopsy, there was the two day trial of Earnest Bridewell- ""one of the more outlandish courtroom conclusions"", in which his brother proved a damaging witness while others committed perjury. And the case, dismissed by the judge, is re-opened here- with new evidence (from the attic) and a believable conclusion.... One of the criminal curiosa of New England, the down eastern folkways and speech give this a local color as well while the market will be among the fanciers of true crime.

Pub Date: Nov. 2nd, 1959
Publisher: Scribner