Thursday, September 24, 2015

History Corner: The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife and the Missing Corpse by Piu Marie Eatwell


Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this ebook, free of charge,from Head of Zeus Publishing, a division of WW Norton, via Edelweiss, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it



Today's book is being relaunched with a new cover, in paperback form on the first!



Synopsis:

In 1897 an elderly widow, Anna Maria Druce, made a strange request of the London Ecclesiastical Court: it was for the exhumation of the grave of her late father-in-law, T.C. Druce. Behind her application lay a sensational claim: that Druce had been none other than the eccentric and massively wealthy 5th Duke of Portland, and that the—now dead—Duke had faked the death of his alter ego. When opened, Anna Maria contended, Druce’s coffin would be found to be empty. And her children, therefore, were heirs to the Portland millions. The extraordinary legal case that followed would last for 10 years. Its eventual outcome revealed a dark underbelly of lies lurking beneath the genteel facade of late Victorian England.

Review

This is one of those books that takes an oddity in history and makes such a rousing story of it, that you just can't put the book down until you see how it all turns out! I had vaguely remembered the Druce case as a forebearer for prosecution with no body, but the details were gone. So I eagerly picked thi one up and expected a slow history book. Nope, this was a page turner from the get go- was T.C. Druce really a Duke, living a double life? How many legal children, or wives, did he have? Once the story starts, you can easily understand how it had Victorian society in England mesmerized. ANd when you find out how far the case reached, you'll be astounded! The author has done an amazing amount of research, delving into buried legal and medical records, to find the answers. And you might just be very surprised at what she found out. It sheds new light on Victorian England and our shared history! 

If you love reading abut history, and a good mystery, do NOT miss this one!

About the Author:

Piu Marie Eatwell studied English at Oxford University, obtaining a First Class degree.  She has subsequently worked as a lawyer and television producer, researching and producing a number of historical documentaries for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. They Eat Horses, Don’t They? The Truth About the French, was her first book. This is her second. 

Piu is a member of the UK Crime Writers' Association and founder of its Paris chapter, the inaugural meeting of which took place in March 2014 at WH Smith in Paris. When not buried in historical archives in remote locations, Piu divides her time between Paris and London.  She is married with three children.

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