By Laura Thompson
On 7 November 1974, a nanny named Sandra Rivett was once bludgeoned to loss of life in a Belgravia basement. A moment lady, Veronica, Countess of Lucan, used to be additionally attacked. the fellow named in court docket as culprit 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 massive forensic abilities to re-evaluate the potential truths in the back of one in every of postwar Britain's such a lot infamous murders. a special category OF homicide is a portrait of an period, of a rare forged of characters, of a secret, of a contemporary fantasy. half social background, half detective tale, it tells in masterly type one of many nice stories of our collective dwelling memory.
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Additional info for A Different Class of Murder
Both, in their way, were rendered incomplete by that strange and powerful nonsense. Here, then, is the forty-year-old Lucan myth. It tells a simple story, as myths do: that of a man whose charmed life went wrong. The damage was self-inflicted, but the story is not a tragedy, because the man never had the capacity for greatness that a tragic hero requires. He was simply born lucky. He had every advantage, and he squandered them all. Richard John Bingham was born on 18 December 1934, the second of four children.
If he had indeed made a failed attempt at domestic wife-murder, he had done so through lack of money. An earl without means, like the 7th Earl of Lucan, was a peculiarly vulnerable creature, naked beneath his ermine. But in the public consciousness his background became a confirmation of guilt. For he had lived like a lord, even in 1974, traversing the terrain of Belgravia and Berkeley Square with all the old casual grandeur of his forebears. He had looked like a lord, although the pockets of his Savile Row suits were filled only with IOUs.
Yet in the midst of it all is a house that stands not just between its similarly stately neighbours, but alongside 39 Hilldrop Crescent, in whose cellar Crippen buried his wife, and 85 Claverton Street, where Adelaide Bartlett’s husband was filled with liquid chloroform. Like these, 46 Lower Belgrave Street is a totemic address in the history of English murder. The imagination seeks to penetrate the façade of these homes, to conjure the moment when the confusion of violence spilled over a lace counterpane or a kitchen floor.
A Different Class of Murder by Laura Thompson