By Laura Thompson
On 7 November 1974, a nanny named Sandra Rivett was once bludgeoned to demise in a Belgravia basement. A moment girl, Veronica, Countess of Lucan, used to be additionally attacked. the guy named in courtroom as culprit of those crimes, Richard John Bingham, seventh Earl of Lucan, disappeared within the early hours of the subsequent 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 enormous forensic abilities to re-evaluate the prospective truths at the back of one among postwar Britain's so much infamous murders. a distinct classification OF homicide is a portrait of an period, of a rare forged of characters, of a secret, of a latest fantasy. half social historical past, half detective tale, it tells in masterly type one of many nice stories of our collective residing memory.
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Perhaps Ferrers would have killed Mary, if he could have got his hands on her. Instead he did the next best thing, and attacked the servant who had taken her part. The 7th Earl of Lucan, whom it is generally accepted had sought to kill his estranged wife, had similarly lost a court case: for custody of the three children from his marriage. He had also been preoccupied with money. His estate was held in trust, and supplied him with an income that had become grotesquely inadequate. After the Lucans separated, his wife had possession of the family home at Lower Belgrave Street, which he was obliged to maintain.
As with Dr Crippen and his class in the years before divorce on demand, so with a debt-ridden earl in the year of 98 per cent top rate taxation. Murder would have presented itself as the only option that would remove the disruptive element, and restore the status quo. Nor could Lord Lucan claim any kind of privilege of peerage. Those days were over. Indeed one of the most striking things about the aftermath of Sandra Rivett’s murder was that, in the court of public opinion, an earl was the worst thing that a murder suspect could be.
It was as though nobody could quite believe that a woman who appeared in Tatler, and whose family home was in Belgrave Square, was capable of murder. There was no such difficulty in the case of Arthur Robert Boyce, tried in 1946. The setting for this crime was 45 Chester Square, at the calm white heart of Belgravia, in a house rented by King George II of Greece. A housekeeper, Elizabeth McLindon, had been engaged; somewhat astonishingly, given the status of her employer, she was a former prostitute, but had got the job on the strength of some splendid references forged by her fiancé, Arthur Boyce.
A Different Class of Murder by Laura Thompson