Dr. Crippen's Diary: An Invention

Emlyn Williams, Author Gloucester $17.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-86051-407-7
Eminent Welsh playwright and author Williams adds another interpretation to the analyses of the infamous Dr. Crippen, American expatriate and uxoricide. The invented diary is heady and convincing reading, starting with the doctor's initial note on his 21st birthday in 1883 and ending before his hanging in London in 1910. Interspersed with the known facts of the case are the author's psychologically astute surmises of Crippen's feelings when his first wife dies and he quickly--and foolishly--marries a vaudeville dancer named Cora. A decade later, having meanwhile emigrated to England, he becomes besotted with his mousy secretary, Ethel Le Neve. After killing the reputedly shrewish Cora, the ``mild monster'' flees with Le Neve to Canada where Scotland Yard inspectors await to arrest the pair. (The case is renowned as the first capture credited to wireless telegraphy.) In his factual afterword Williams doesn't express sympathy for the murderer, as some writers do, but like them, he buries Cora Crippen without a chance to tell her side of the story. It is Le Neve, declared not guilty, who lives on to have the last word maintaining her belief in her lover's innocence. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/30/1989
Release date: 05/01/1989
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