Dancing For The Hangman by Martin Edwards
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a very well researched book that gives a fictionalised autobiographical account, interspersed with extracts from actual records of the events, of Crippen's life leading up to the murder or disappearance of his wife Cora, aka Belle Elmore.
A certain amount of sympathy is elicited for Crippen, and questions whether he truly did murder his wife, a crime for which he was hanged.
The book moves along at a good pace and the characters are very well drawn with both Cora and Crippen depicted as dreamers who would never quite make the grade, try as they might. Crippen was part of the homeopathic quackery that was big business in the late Victorian period onwards, whilst Cora dreamed of being an operatic star, subsequently downgrading to vaudeville and failing even at that. Not only is the book a look at the events leading up to Crippen's 'crime', conviction and hanging, but a light touch look at Victorian/Edwardian society in London.
An enjoyable read.
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