Oct. 3, 2017

The 1871 murder trial that shook England!

Pretty Jane and the Viper of Kidbrooke Lane: A True Story of Victorian Law and Disorder by Paul Thomas Murphy

My thanks go out to all my contacts at Pegasus Books for my copy of this collection of vampire stories! Thank you so much!

On April 26, 1871, a policeman discovered a young woman in the darkness of Kidbrooke Lane in London. She was barely alive, having been beaten severely with what later proved to be a hammer used in lathe-work. She had missing pieces of skull and jaw and her brains were exposed. Five days later she succumbed to her wounds.

Her words before her death indicated that Edward Pook may have been involved in her death. Pook was from a good family with both money and reputation. Jane had worked for them until just about a week before her death when she was dismissed from service. Rumor was that Jane, who was pregnant, was carrying Edward Pook’s child.

This case could have easily been the OJ Simpson Trial of 1871! You had a person of some standing accused of a violent murder. Pook’s father, with the financial backing of other businessmen, hired a dream team of lawyers. The Judge in the case was criticized for controversial rulings. The lawyers’ strategy was to attack the police, not the evidence. They also disparaged the victim herself; Edward calling her “a very dirty girl.”

The feeling was in the end that Edward had been found “not guilty” because of who he was. He also had a ruthless team of lawyers who didn’t blink at destroying police reputations. Also, in the end, no one was ever charged. It seems most likely that Edward was indeed guilty.

Anyone who loves the details of courtroom drama or the mysteries of unsolved crime will greatly enjoy this book. It has the police investigation, the coroner’s report, trial transcripts, etc. Probably punched up a little for dramatic effect, it still checks with the historical facts.

I give this human drama five stars!

Quoth the Raven…BuyItHere>