Crippen: The Mild Murderer (True Crime)

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9780140109429: Crippen: The Mild Murderer (True Crime)

A biography of Dr Crippen who is remembered as the quarry in a thrilling chase which ended in his capture in 1910. His mistress Ethel Leneve, who was disguised as a boy, had become the object of a world-wide hue and cry after the headless, armless torso of Mrs Crippen had been found buried beneath a cellar floor. Crippen was hanged, but certain aspects of the case were never cleared up. He had endured Mrs Crippen's shrewishness and her infidelities for 17 years. But Ethel had been his mistress for three years with the wife's knowledge. Cullen maintains that Crippen's love for Ethel Leneve, for whom he risked his life, does much to transform what otherwise would have been just another sordid crime passionel.

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From Publishers Weekly:

In 1910, Hawley Harvey Crippen, a seemingly gentle American-born doctor turned patent-medicine quack, poisoned his wife, chopped off her head and limbs, removed her bones and buried her parts in the cellar of their London house. He told friends she'd gone to America suddenly; later, that she'd died in California. Six months passed, and he and Ethel LeNeve, his mistress (disguised as a boy), booked passage on a ship bound for Canada. Captured at sea and returned to England, Crippen pleaded not guilty but was convicted and executed. Cullen, a London-based criminologist and newspaper reporter, claims to be the first biographer to apply "original research" to correct much of the "nonsense" previously written about Crippen. Unfortunately, this investigation consists of speculations upon the obvious: "Why did not Hawley leave his wife and live openly with Ethel?" Instead of examining Crippen's life, Cullen focuses on secondary figures. In his tiresome, pedestrian prose, the author neglects the dramatic possibilities suggested by his subject.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Cullen, Tom
Published by Penguin Books (1989)
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