Pretty Jane and the Viper of Kidbrooke Lane
Paul Thomas Murphy
On Sale: March 31, 2016
Hardcover / e-Book
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True Crime | Mystery Historical
A vivid and violent investigation into the first unsolved
murder case of the Victorian Era, by the author of the
New York Times Notable Book Shooting Victoria.
On April 26th, 1871, a police constable walking one of
London’s remotest beats stumbled upon a brutalized young
woman kneeling on a muddy road—gashes were cloven into
her skull; her left cheek was slashed open and smashed-
in; her right eye was destroyed; and above it a chunk of
the temporal bone had been bashed out. The policeman
gaped in horror as the woman held out her hand before
collapsing into the mud, muttering “let me die” and
slipping into a coma. Five days later, she died, her
identity still unknown.
Within hours of her discovery on Kidbrooke Lane scores of
the officers of Greenwich Division were involved in the
investigation, and Scotland Yard had sent one of its top
detectives, John Mulvany, to lead it. After five days of
gathering evidence, the police discovered the girl’s
identity: Jane Maria Clouson, a maid in the house of the
renowned Pook family . . . and she was two months’
pregnant with Edmund Pook’s child when she died.
Murphy carefully reviews the evidence in the light of
21st century forensic science in order to identify Jane’s
killer as Edmund Walter Pook. Using a surprisingly
abundant collection of primary sources, Murphy aims to
recreate the drama of the case as it unfolded, with its
many twists and turns, from the discovery of the body to
the final crack of the gavel—and beyond.
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