1897: An elderly widow, Anna Maria Druce, made a strange request of the London Ecclesiastical Court: it was for the exhumation of the grave of her late father-in-law, T. C. Druce.
Behind her application lay a sensational claim: that Druce had been none other than the eccentric and massively wealthy 5th duke of Portland, and that the now dead duke had faked the death of his alter ego. When opened, Anna Maria contended, Druce's coffin would be found to be empty.
The legal case that followed would last for ten years. Its eventual outcome revealed a dark underbelly of lies lurking beneath the genteel facade of late Victorian England.
©2014 Piu Marie Eatwell (P)2015 W F Howes Ltd
"A lively account of the light shone on the lies, deceit and hypocrisy of Victorian society." (The Times)
"A brilliant forensic analysis of the intriguing Druce case, and wonderfully revealing of the many layers beneath Victorian respectability." (Mr Justice Haddon-, Cave, judge on Richard III case.)
I gradually warmed to this detailed account of the 5th Duke of Portland and T C Druce , how it appeared their lives were intertwined and the various fictional and factual varieties of these.
Barnaby Edwards' narration is clear and distinct.
This was an entertaining and informative read. There are so many weird twists and turns in the story. Eatwell is a good writer and the way she constructed the narrative keeps you interested. Barnaby Edwards was a great narrator, but it was a little odd at the end when it switches to first person and the male narrator is narrating for a female author. Still, this is definitely worth reading if you like history.
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