By Laura Thompson
On 7 November 1974, a nanny named Sandra Rivett used to be bludgeoned to loss of life in a Belgravia basement. A moment lady, Veronica, Countess of Lucan, was once additionally attacked. the guy named in court docket as wrongdoer 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 huge forensic talents to re-evaluate the prospective truths in the back of certainly one of postwar Britain's so much infamous murders. a distinct classification OF homicide is a portrait of an period, of a unprecedented solid of characters, of a secret, of a latest delusion. half social heritage, half detective tale, it tells in masterly sort one of many nice stories of our collective residing memory.
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Extra info for A Different Class of Murder
The maid then battered her mistress to death, and hauled the body into the pantry in an attempt to conceal it. Although Madame Riel’s home, number 13, was relatively small (two servants only at the time of her death), it still seems quite remarkable that she should have been living amid the richissime, between the great town houses of the Earl of Grosvenor and the Duke of Wellington. She did, however, have a gentleman supporter living nearby, another member of the aristocracy: none other than the 3rd Earl of Lucan.
This kind of murder assumed ascendancy in the nineteenth century, along with the middle classes who specialized in it. In doing so they have, like the mad aristos, defined a certain kind of Englishness. The Adelaide Bartlett case, the Croydon poisonings, the cases of Charles Bravo, Madeleine Smith, Florence Maybrick, Dr Crippen, George Joseph Smith, Armstrong, Wallace:*2 these are murders redolent of the parlour and the suburb, of passion among the antimacassars, of small sums neatly folded into life insurance policies.
During the Second World War he was sent, with his brother and two sisters, to the safety of America. There he lived with the Brady Tucker family, awash with nineteenth-century banking money and owners of the last private house on New York’s Park Avenue. Summers were spent on the family estate at Westchester, where the Lucan children had a house of their own. The future earl ate liberally from the fruits of near-infinite riches: the child’s unquestioning familiarity with luxury would become, in adulthood, an insatiable yearning for it.