A Different Class of Murder by Laura Thompson

By Laura Thompson

On 7 November 1974, a nanny named Sandra Rivett used to be bludgeoned to dying in a Belgravia basement. A moment lady, Veronica, Countess of Lucan, was once additionally attacked. the guy named in court docket as offender of those crimes, Richard John Bingham, seventh Earl of Lucan, disappeared within the early hours of the subsequent morning. The case, solved within the eyes of the legislations, 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 massive forensic talents to re-evaluate the prospective truths in the back of considered one of postwar Britain's so much infamous murders. a special classification OF homicide is a portrait of an period, of a unprecedented solid of characters, of a secret, of a contemporary fable. half social heritage, half detective tale, it tells in masterly variety one of many nice stories of our collective dwelling memory.

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An earl would behave like a gentleman if he lost to his friends at cards, but losing to a wife was another thing altogether. Perhaps Ferrers would have killed Mary, if he could have got his hands on her. Instead he did the next best thing, and attacked the servant who had taken her part. The 7th Earl of Lucan, whom it is generally accepted had sought to kill his estranged wife, had similarly lost a court case: for custody of the three children from his marriage. He had also been preoccupied with money.

In 1680 he was found guilty of murder, and received a royal pardon. His status as an earl clearly brought him an outrageous degree of favour. This did not extend to every aristocrat: three have been hanged for murder in the last 500 years. Yet Pembroke’s treatment was far more typical. So too was the nature of his crimes. Both the deaths for which he was indicted were the product of boredom, booze and a belief that he could do whatever he liked at any given moment and too bad if somebody got hurt along the way.

Grotesque stories began to be spread about her. ’8 Ranson, more forcefully, wrote that Lucan had lied to his ‘young and vulnerable wife’ about money; then, in the face of her anxious questioning, he had started a ‘vicious and unrelenting campaign to brand her insane’. For her part Veronica was telling people that Lucan was a violent, abusive husband. Lucan countered with a story that she had thrown herself against the furniture and threatened to accuse him of assault. ’9 At the start of 1973, Lord Lucan moved out of Lower Belgrave Street.

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