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Group Read - The Long Drop > Group Read - The Long Drop chaps 19-23 end Spoilers Welcome

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message 1: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14290 comments Comments for chapters 19-23 to the end. What do you think of this last group of chapters, now it is 1958.?
Spoilers Welcome on this topic thread.
The first to post please briefly summarize to guide the discussion. Thanks!


message 2: by Geri (new)

Geri 19- Watt testifying at trial. Manuel asks if he killed his family and paid someone to do it. Watt denies everything.

20- Manuel testifies on his own behalf. He speaks for 6 hours recounting the details of the murders. Accuses Watt of killing his family and hired Tallis to mess up house and get rid of gun. Went to Smart house for drink on New Year's Day. He discover the family dead. Killed by Mr. Smart. Manuel cannot feel what other people are feeling and does not realize everyone is disgusted by him.

21- Verdicts are read. Guilty for all except for Ann. Sentencing is death by hanging.

22- Day after sentencing, parents visiting Manuel. Manuel's mother has made a book deal. Last time Manuel's mother sees him, Manuel is unresponsive. Mother gets angry. She believes he is acting. Father had helped burn evidence and give Manuel alibis. Manuel's mother cannot forgive her husband.

23- The long drop method is the method used to hang prisoners in Scotland at this time. Manuel's act was in hope of getting another appeal to delay hanging. Manuel is hanged. 3 months later, Watt announces his engagement.


message 3: by Geri (new)

Geri Manuel was definitely an odd character. Not able to know what other people are feeling sounds like a sociopath and/or psychopath to me. I suppose Manuel would have to be to commit all these crimes!

We finally find out why Watt wanted his wife dead. Yes, Manuel was evil, but don't think Watt was much better!

Interesting story. But did find the story structure a bit confusing. Too much back and forth.


message 4: by Jack (new)

Jack | 179 comments Manuel Definately had a mental illness. His wish to be the writer or the hero of a story was such a major part of his thinking. He became so delusional and it is quite sad how he could realise what others were thinking.
Being based on true story kept it a little tame and anticlimactic. Interesting it became wn urban legend and ghost story. I think manuel would really like that he finally became part of such a widespread story.

A few good questions left open at the end though.
Was he really assulted in the jail and given a brain injury? After all he did its not surprising no one cared or just ruled him faking it.
Who killed the other girl after the execution?


message 5: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandin954) | 1189 comments Jack wrote: "Being based on true story kept it a little tame and anticlimactic. Interesting it became wn urban legend and ghost story. I think manuel would really like that he finally became part of such a widespread story."

I agree that Manuel would be happy to still be known today and part of a major story.

Was Watt's guilty part of the historical record or rumor that the author embellished a bit? I looked around a bit on the web and did not find anything about Watt hiring Manuel for the killings.


message 6: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14290 comments The court was quite lenient when it came to Peter Manuel representing himself and then allowing his rambling on for hours of testimony. What a delusional perspective and lack of remorse, empathy or insight he had into how he came off.
I was stunned at his expectations of the potential for acquittal and then for a reprieve while seeking to challenge the verdict by appearing incompetent after having confessed. Wow.


message 7: by Ann (last edited Jun 23, 2017 06:15PM) (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14290 comments Sandi: Good question. It appears that Watt's possible hiring of Manuel seems to be Denise Mina's additional idea and while possibly gleaned from testimony, not specifically inferred in historical records. I don't doubt that Watt was guilty of something if only for lack of compassion or grief for his family. Perhaps he may have been played up as another example of the abhorrent treatment and lack of caring for women, which was terrible to contemplate.
Sandi wrote: "Was Watt's guilty part of the historical record or rumor that the author embellished a bit? I looked around a bit on the web and did not find anything about Watt hiring Manuel for the killings. .."


message 8: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14290 comments Jack: two very good questions. I took the murder after Manuel was hanged to mean that he wasn't the only murderer taking advantage of women, but don't think it was connected unless it was a copycat inspired by the famous murders. But do acknowledge it could have been an accomplice. There was quite a criminal element exposed and then hastily ignored as the guns were discussed in court.

It did seem that Manuel was not completely faking injury or mental lapses while awaiting appeal review and hanging. And no one but his mother seemed to care.

Jack wrote: "A few good questions left open at the end though.
Was he really assaulted in the jail and given a brain injury? After all he did its not surprising no one cared or just ruled him faking it.
Who killed the other girl after the execution? ..."



message 9: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14290 comments Geri: Manuel was probably both! There didn't seem to be much truth about anything coming out in court.

Geri wrote: "Manuel was definitely an odd character. Not able to know what other people are feeling sounds like a sociopath and/or psychopath to me. I suppose Manuel would have to be to commit all these crimes!..."


message 10: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 7808 comments Sandi wrote: "JWas Watt's guilty part of the historical record or rumor that the author embellished a bit? I looked around a bit on the web and did not find anything about Watt hiring Manuel for the killings. ..."

I would like to read a book about the actual case to figure out what was fact and what was embellishment.


message 11: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 7808 comments Ann wrote: "The court was quite lenient when it came to Peter Manuel representing himself and then allowing his rambling on for hours of testimony. What a delusional perspective and lack of remorse, empathy or insight he had into how he came off.
I was stunned at his expectations of the potential for acquittal and then for a reprieve while seeking to challenge the verdict by appearing incompetent after having confessed. Wow. ..."


Yes, I wondered how much of this was laxness/lenience on the part of the judge and how much of it was the rules governing testimony in Scotland at the time. I bet Scottish law, like British law, is very different from US law.


message 12: by Ann (last edited Jul 16, 2017 04:24PM) (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14290 comments Carol: That might be possible (well maybe not one book)
It was evidently reported fairly widely. The differences in courtroom procedures is also of interest to me. I am glad we read it.
Carol/Bonadie wrote: "I would like to read a book about the actual case to figure out what was fact and what was embellishment. "


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