2007 I wrote ‘Vanished’, I suggested to my publisher that the
shout-line, ‘The Truth About the Disappearance of
Madeleine McCann’, was
a trifle arcane and that I preferred its original description of an
in-depth investigation into the disappearance of the three-year-old in
Portugal. I could write only of my conclusions in the investigation and,
although I believed them to be accurate based on the evidence; I saw the
shout-line as typical jacket designer’s blurb.
Castleden appears to have suffered the same fate. Publishers want to
sell books and authors are therefore often’ hoist on a publishing house
petard’. Infamous Murderers has little to do with Maniacs Filled with
Hatred and Revenge: Lizzie Borden was acquitted of all charges, Crippen
simply preferred the charms of Ethel La Neve to those of his nagging,
slothful wife and James Hanratty probably felt more enmity towards the
hangman than he did towards his supposed victims.
enough, poor old Ruth Ellis was bent on revenge when she shot her two
timing lover David Blakely and the lovely Charlotte Corday – my boyhood
heroine, but I was a strange boy – certainly hated the blood stained
French Jacobin Jean-Paul Marat when she stabbed him in his bath, but all
told I found the author’s compilation of murders and skulduggery more
interesting in subject matter than the violence of the crimes.
Ellis’s story should tug at the emotional strings of any woman who’s
ever been crossed in love and one wonders if the actor John Wilkes Booth
shot Lincoln out of political mien or because he’d had to learn the
Gettysburg Address for a part by the following Tuesday.
found the book interesting and well researched and I can only wish that
the publishers would let the authors describe the contents to their
public. Infamous Murderers was sent to me as a review copy and it’s
likely I wouldn’t have picked it from a rack given the lurid cover –
which would have been a shame. Well recommended in any event.
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Author: Rodney Castleden
Publisher: Time Warner (paperback)
ISBN: 0 7515 3648 2
Reviewed by DANNY COLLINS