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Crippen: A Novel of Murder Paperback – January 23, 2007
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
"Crippen" is a textured, involving, and suspenseful psychological study of how a mentally unstable parent can permanently damage her child, and how a monstrous woman can make her husband's existence into a living hell. In addition, Boyne brilliantly, and with mordant humor, analyzes the hypocrisy of the upper classes in England, the predatory nature of newspaper reporters, and the impossibility of ever fully understanding the complexity of people's motives, feelings, and desires.
The author constructs his story meticulously, teasing the reader with bits of information that become meaningful later on in the narrative. He goes back and forth in time, creating a rich and colorful tapestry with fully realized and lively characters.Read more ›
It's a period story with precious little period detail. In 1912, no policeman would have used the expression "media circus."
The author's "twist on the story" is plausible and may be the most interesting thing about this generally exasperating effort.
Boyne presents Crippen as a complex and enigmatic man - whom although painted as a monster for murdering his wife, chopping her up and burying pieces of her under the stones in his cellar - was in reality a meek and harmless person who probably wouldn't hurt a fly. The novel traces the historical journey of Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen from his childhood in Canada, where his worldview was shaped by his puritanical, severely religious mother.
Desiring to become a doctor, yet unable to be given all the advantages of education so that he might escape his family, Crippen travels to America, eventually finding work as a medical assistant, his second rate qualifications obtained through correspondence courses.
It is in New York where Hawley meets Cora Turner, a music hall dancer, who convinces him to take her to London so that she can fulfill her dream of becoming a famous diva. But Cora turns out to be a shrieking and violent harpy, a heartless, evil, nasty and manipulative witch, and a flagrantly vulgar, lustful and faithless wife who constantly hounds Hawley for not being socially good enough.
Cora ends up abusing Hawley physically, unashamedly sleeping with other men in their house. At first, he was her way out of the gutter and she was someone who listened to him and said she believed in him.Read more ›
At the same time that Walter heads the homicide investigation, in Antwerp, Belgium, Mr. John Robinson and his teenage son Edmund board the passenger ship SS Montrose to traverse the three thousand plus miles of the Atlantic to Quebec, Canada. In fact John is actually Hawley and Edmund is his lover Ethel LeNeve. Neither realize as they try to limit contact with the crew and other passengers that Dew continues to follow their trail.
CRIPPEN is an intriguing historical fictionalized account of a real sensationalized at the time love-murder triangle. The tale moves back and forth between the present (circa 1910) and the late nineteenth century childhood of the title character. Though the insight into the pre-homicide Hawley is fascinating, that subplot also slows down an interesting Scotland Yard investigation. Still fans will gain insight into late Victorian and Edwardian England as well as what motivated Crippen to kill his wife and run off with his lover in an apparent crime of passion. Readers will appreciate this deep Edwardian tale, but struggle between the two appealing segues that take away from each other.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good writer but book very repetitive and too much filler. Also a bit over the top with repeat female personalities.Published 2 months ago by MJC
Fascinating book...John Boyne is a wonderful writer...So glad I have discovered him and his books!Published 6 months ago by Florence R. Francioli
Well written, especially when dealing with characters that develop over time; they are not the people they start out to be, so the book and it's ending were not predictable -... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Beth Peyton
I thought this was a very good book. I had had a brief introduction to Hawley Crippen before getting this book, but I didn't really know much about him. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Kaye Jordan
Excellent written by Boyne... story kept me guessingthe whole time what was going to happen next... the final was
I enjoyed this fictionalization of the "Dr. Crippen" case very much, although as I have with other John Boyne books, I find the quality of characterizations, settings, and... Read morePublished 12 months ago by zenmezzo