(First published by Orion Books 2005)
Dr Hawley Harvey Crippen lived with his wife, a music-hall variety performer called Belle Elmore, among the suburban villas of north London where he had set himself up in the fashionable business of homoeopathy.
After supper with friends of 31 January 1910, Crippen killed Belle with poison and dismembered her body. He buried some of her remains beneath the brick floor of the coal cellar.
It is assumed that Crippen killed for the love of his mistress, his secretary Ethel Le Neve. They began living together as man and wife, but under intense suspicion they ran off to Europe disguised as father and son and boarded an ocean liner, the SS Montrose, to Canada. When Belle’s remains were found the story became a national – and international – scandal. Chief Inspector Dew chased the couple across the Atlantic and was himself pursued by the world’s press, whose conduct was shocking even by today’s standards. Crippen was finally arrested in the captain’s cabin of the Montrose and brought back to England, with Ethel, for trial at the Old Bailey. Ethel was acquitted of being an accessory to the crime, while Crippen was convicted of murder and hanged.
David James Smith has uncovered substantial fresh evidence that explodes popular myths surrounding this notorious crime. Here for the first time is the truth of the case: a dark, psychological drama in which class and desire and social ambition become powerful motives for murder, and the popular belief in a young woman’s innocence of the crime is destroyed.
On the cover of The Sunday Times Magazine…
The Sleep Of Reason – The James Bulger Case by David James Smith:
Faber Finds edition with new preface, available September 15th, 2011.
Young Mandela the movie – in development.
From The Guardian
Read the article
In the Diary column of The Independent, April 13th, 2011
More on my previously unsubstantiated claim that the writer-director Peter Kosminsky, creator of The Promise, is working on a drama about Nelson Mandela. I’ve now learnt that the project is a feature film, in development with Film 4, about the young Mandela. Kosminsky is currently at work on the script and, given the complaints about the anti-Jewish bias of The Promise, it is unlikely to be a standard bland portrait of the former South African president.
Nelson Mandela was circumcised as a 16-year-old boy alongside a flowing river in the Eastern Cape. The ceremony was similar to those of other Bantu peoples. An elder moved through the line making ring-like cuts, and foreskins fell away. The boys could not so much as blink; it was a rite of passage that took you beyond pain. read full review
Jon Venables: What Went Wrong
BBC 1, 10.35
Thursday, April 21st, 2011