By Laura Thompson
On 7 November 1974, a nanny named Sandra Rivett used to be bludgeoned to loss of life in a Belgravia basement. A moment girl, Veronica, Countess of Lucan, used to be additionally attacked. the guy named in courtroom as wrongdoer of those crimes, Richard John Bingham, seventh Earl of Lucan, disappeared within the early hours of the next morning. The case, solved within the eyes of the legislation, has retained its fascination ever since.
Laura Thompson, acclaimed biographer of Agatha Christie, narrates the tale that led as much as that cataclysmic occasion, and attracts on her huge forensic abilities to reconsider the potential truths at the back of certainly one of postwar Britain's such a lot infamous murders. a distinct type OF homicide is a portrait of an period, of a unprecedented solid of characters, of a secret, of a contemporary delusion. half social historical past, half detective tale, it tells in masterly sort one of many nice stories of our collective dwelling memory.
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Extra resources for A Different Class of Murder
Nor could Lord Lucan claim any kind of privilege of peerage. Those days were over. Indeed one of the most striking things about the aftermath of Sandra Rivett’s murder was that, in the court of public opinion, an earl was the worst thing that a murder suspect could be. The Earl of Pembroke had got away with killing two men, simply because of who he was. He had sailed along in a world peopled only by his own kind, and if the lower orders raged or even knew about his doings, it was a matter of no importance whatsoever.
That same year, 1841, the right to plead exemption from justice for a first offence was ended, but nobody really believed that privilege of peerage did not carry on regardless. In 1922, for instance, the public was convinced that Ronald True, a former RAF officer, had dodged the gallows because he was the illegitimate son of an unnamed peeress. The thirty-one-year-old True had savagely murdered a prostitute in her London flat. His defence of insanity failed, and he was sentenced to death. However, when further medical evidence was presented to the Home Secretary, True was reprieved and sent to Broadmoor; and the public went berserk.
Mary Ferrers had sought to escape her husband, and accordingly Ferrers held her prisoner at the family home in Leicestershire. This situation was quite familiar in the eighteenth century, particularly among the titled classes, where pride and inheritances were at stake. While some husbands went down the ‘criminal conversation’ route, others took a different kind of vengeance. In 1700 the Earl of Anglesey tried to arrest his wife, as she went to and from the House of Lords in pursuit of a legal separation; in 1744 Lord Bellfield, suspecting his wife of adultery, held her at a house in Ireland for thirty years until her death.
A Different Class of Murder by Laura Thompson