Pretty Jane and the Viper of Kidbrooke Lane: A True Story of Victorian Law and Disorder
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Date: April 2016
Duration: 9 hours 0 minutes
A vivid and violent investigation into the first unsolved murder case of the Victorian Era, by the author of the New York Times Notable Book Shooting Victoria
On April 26th, 1871, a police constable walking one of London's remotest beats stumbled upon a brutalized young woman kneeling on a muddy road-gashes were cloven into her skull, her left cheek was slashed open and smashed in, her right eye was destroyed, and above it a chunk of the temporal bone had been bashed out. The policeman gaped in horror as the woman held out her hand before collapsing into the mud, muttering "let me die" and slipping into a coma. Five days later, she died, her identity still unknown.
Within hours of her discovery on Kidbrooke Lane, scores of the officers of the Greenwich Division were involved in the investigation, and Scotland Yard had sent one of its top detectives, John Mulvany, to lead it. After five days of gathering evidence, the police discovered the girl's identity: Jane Maria Clouson, a maid in the house of the renowned Pook family ... and she was two months' pregnant with Edmund Pook's child when she died.
Murphy carefully reviews the evidence in the light of twenty-first-century forensic science in order to identify Jane's killer as Edmund Walter Pook. Using a surprisingly abundant collection of primary sources, Murphy aims to re-create the drama of the case as it unfolded, with its many twists and turns, from the discovery of the body to the final crack of the gavel-and beyond.
"Murphy exposes the inequities of British justice in the 1871 case of Jane Clouson, who was 'found attacked and horribly disfigured on a quiet country lane outside of Greenwich'...The author's strong knowledge of Victorian culture helps him clearly describe the class conflict this case aroused...Even without a Sherlock, this highly readable story still shows the cleverness of the police and the frustrations of prosecutors."-Kirkus Reviews
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