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They Hanged My Saintly Billy Paperback – August 30, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Academy Chicago Publishers (August 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0897330293
  • ISBN-13: 978-0897330299
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,873,634 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 1.5-hour cassettes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By James Cianci on January 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
The story of William Palmer is at once comic and tragic, for it is the story of a seemingly good man - a country doctor in nineteenth century England - who also just happens to be a forger, philanderer, fixer of horse races and common thief. But the law did not ultimately punish Dr. Palmer for any of these crimes; he is instead condemned by history as one of England's most notorious serial killers, a poisoner suspected in the deaths of his mother-in-law, wife, brother, children and his best friend. I recognized this tale from an adaptation on the PBS series MYSTERY from a few years ago; Palmer was portrayed as a cold-blooded sociopath who used his knowledge of science to serve his own narcissistic ends. So let us then thank Robert Graves for presenting the other side of the story, one supported by the facts and in the same mold as his other great historical fictions "I, Claudius" and "Claudius the God - Graves purports to show what really happened in that small village of Rugeley and the miscarriage of justice that occured at Palmer's trial. The author suggests that Dr. Palmer's most egregious fault was to run afoul of the "combined might of the Police, the insurance companies and the Jockey Club" - especially the latter, whom Graves smirks "would feel a hundred times less aggrieved with a man who garotted a fellow-criminal, an unwanted child, or an ailing relative, than with one who poisoned race-horses." There is little doubt that Palmer stole from friends and family alike or that he attempted to profit from the life insurance policies of those not long for this world; one of the book's most hilarious scenes has Palmer convincing his drunkard brother Walter to insure the remainer of his miserable life: "What about selling your life, Watty?Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Donna L. Pace on September 12, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellent book - crime and history both. It makes the reader wonder if William Palmer could, indeed, have been innocent. Very well written.
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More About the Author

ROBERT GRAVES (1895-1985) was an English poet, translator, and novelist, one of the leading English men of letters in the twentieth century. He fought in World War I and won international acclaim in 1929 with the publication of his memoir of the First World War, Good-bye to All That. After the war, he was granted a classical scholarship at Oxford and subsequently went to Egypt as the first professor of English at the University of Cairo. He is most noted for his series of novels about the Roman emperor Claudius and his works on mythology, such as The White Goddess.

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