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Death at the Priory: Love, Sex, and Murder in Victorian England (original 2001; edition 2002)
Death at the Priory: Sex, Love, and Murder in Victorian England by James Ruddick (2001)
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0802139744, Paperback)The fatal poisoning of Charles Bravo in 1876 remains a great, unsolved mystery. As James Ruddick shows in this engrossing account, there was no shortage of suspects. Among them were Bravo's wife, Florence, who married the young barrister in part to erase the taint of a recent sexual scandal; Jane Cox, a servant caught spinning a web of lies about what happened the night Bravo died; and James Gully, an esteemed doctor who was also once Florence's lover. "In time, the case passed into the pantheon of English crime, a riddle that drew the interest in speculation of every passing generation," writes Ruddick. It's not hard to see why. Death at the Priory is full of compelling personalities and titillating revelations about what happened behind the closed doors of Victorian England. Ruddick promises something more than a rehash of the established facts: "I discovered the new evidence which has enabled me to expose Charles Bravo's murderer." The author ultimately does not point his finger in a surprising direction, though he has added substantial details to what's known about the case. Fans of true-crime literature will enjoy this book, especially if they're attracted to its historical setting. --John Miller
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:45 -0400)
"In 1875, the beautiful widow Florence Ricardo married the handsome and successful young attorney Charles Bravo, hoping to escape the scandals of her past. As they settled into the Priory, her posh mansion outside London, the couple seemed to be living a charmed life. But Bravo proved to be a brutal and conniving man, and the marriage was far from happy. He abused his wife and antagonized her servants, ultimately dismissing her housekeeper and longtime companion, Mrs. Cox, despite her years of service. Then one night while preparing for bed, Charles Bravo suddenly collapsed. Though the greatest English physicians of the era were summoned to his side, they could do nothing, and three days later he died an agonizing death. The doctors were unanimous in their diagnosis: Charles Bravo had been poisoned. The graphic and sensational details of the case would capture the public imagination of Victorian England. The investigation dominated the press for weeks, and the list of suspects grew to include Florence; her secret lover, the eminent doctor James Gully; Mrs. Cox; and the recently dismissed stable man, George Griffiths. But ultimately no murderer could be determined, and despite the efforts of numerous historians, criminologists, and other writers since (including Agatha Christie), the case has never been definitively solved. Until now."--BOOK JACKET.
(summary from another edition)
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