Everyone, a Orwell pointed out, loves a murder. This book tells of one of the classics: George Smith whose modus operandi was to marry a woman, insure her life, steal her savings and then drown her in her bath. He got away with it three times under three different names in three different seaside towns getting three inquests to declare three misadventures before the father of one of his victims read in the newspapers about another case and recognised too many similarities for coincidence. Nevertheless there might have been an acquittal. Forensics was still in its infancy as a science and the corpses were in an advanced state of decomposition when they were eventually exhumed. But the brilliant pathologist Bernard Spilsbury, whose evidence had helped convict Dr Crippen, showed that it would be possible to forcibly drown a woman in a bath with no conclusive marks left on the body and without a struggle.
This delightful and readable book oscillates between a chapter describing another victim and a chapter describing Spilsbury's early career before clamaxing in the trial scene.
Good fun. January 2013; 246 pages.
- Having reviewed over 1200 books on this blog, I have now written two myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. The Kids of God is a thriller set in a dystopia ruled by fascist paramilitaries. Both are available as paperbacks and on Kindle through Amazon. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57