Crippen: A Novel of Murder

John Boyne, Author
John Boyne, Author . St. Martin's/Dunne $24.95 (337p) ISBN 978-0-312-34358-3
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4299-0179-6
Paperback - 337 pages - 978-0-312-34359-0
Paperback - 505 pages - 978-0-552-77743-8
Open Ebook - 480 pages - 978-1-4464-6336-9
Hardcover - 493 pages - 978-0-14-101855-3
Hardcover - 14 pages - 978-1-4481-1545-7
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Had Charles Dickens been around to turn his talents to fictionalizing the classic Crippen murder case, the result might well have been close to this superb, multifaceted novel from Irish author Boyne (The Thief of Time ). The crime, a cause célèbre in 1910, is probably best remembered for its denouement, which featured a race across the Atlantic by Scotland Yard Insp. Walter Dew in pursuit of his suspects aboard a cruise ship. Boyne brings all the characters in this drama to life, skillfully shifting perspectives and using flashbacks and flash-forwards. While his depiction of Hawley Crippen, a quack and self-proclaimed doctor with a disturbing taste for butchery, and his mistress is admittedly speculative, the author's imaginings of their inner lives and motivations are plausible. His version of the events of the night when Crippen's harridan wife met her gruesome death is convincing, despite the lack of historical support. Boyne is to be commended for his ability to alternate between Wodehousian humor and Edwardian noir. (Mar.)

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