A Different Class of Murder: The Story of Lord Lucan by Laura Thompson
|A Different Class of Murder: The Story of Lord Lucan by Laura Thompson|
|Category: True Crime|
|Reviewer: Peter Magee|
|Summary: A very readable and thought-provoking look at the murder of Sandra Rivett and the disappearance of Lord Lucan. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 480||Date: November 2014|
|Publisher: Head of Zeus|
It's difficult to believe that it's forty years since the murder of nanny Sandra Rivett and the subsequent disappearance of Lord Lucan, not least because there have been numerous theories about what happened on November the 7th 1974 - and what became of Lucan. It might also be thought that - short of the Earl turning up with an explanation - there's not a great deal new which can be added to the pile of published material on the subject, so I began reading A Different Class of Murder with the thought that there would be no great surprises.
For those unfamiliar with the basic facts of the case, Lucan and his wife were estranged but he was desperately trying to obtain custody of their three children whilst attempting to support himself and his family from his precarious profession as a gambler, primarily at John Aspinall's Clermont Club. Lucan was deeply in debt and his wife mentally fragile: he had been unaware that she had psychological problems prior to their marriage. Sandra Rivett would not normally have been in the house on that Thursday evening as that should have been her night off. Fatefully she had changed it, but Lucan was unaware of this. An intruder entered the house, attacked and murdered Sandra Rivett and seriously injured Veronica Lucan. Lady Lucan identified her husband as the attacker and Lucan subsequently disappeared.
You know that you're reading a good book when - by the time that you're sixty pages in you've found several nuggets of information which it's essential that you share with your nearest and dearest. I lost count of the number of occasions on which this happened. I first encountered Laura Thompson when I read The Dogs: A Personal History of Greyhound Racing and that book impressed me sufficiently for me to read A Different Class of Murder despite my reservations that it might not have much that was new to add to the story. I'm glad that I did as this is a completely new perspective on the Lucan story.
The research behind the book is excellent, beginning with the comprehensive look at Lucan's history - and that of his ancestors. The third Earl was instrumental in issuing the order to Cardigan to lead the charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava and it's the family history which shed's light on Lucan's character. Whilst the reader might not sympathise with Lucan, the author has managed to bring balance to a one-sided account of what happened at the time and casts serious doubt on the efficiency of the police investigation. Lucan was always the prime suspect but inconsistencies in the evidence were never seriously investigated. I began reading, reasonably certain in my own mind about what had happened, but finished with more than an element of doubt that Lucan was directly responsible for the murder.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book - if that doesn't sound a little macabre - and finished it remarkably quickly. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
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You can read more book reviews or buy A Different Class of Murder: The Story of Lord Lucan by Laura Thompson at Amazon.com.
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