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A Different Class of Murder: The Story of Lord Lucan
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Buddy Reads > A Different Class of Murder by Laura Thompson (Sept/Oct 2018)

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Susan | 10660 comments Mod
A Different Class of Murder: The Story of Lord Lucan is a non-fiction book looking at the Lord Lucan case. This ties into our October Buddy Read, Aiding and Abetting by Muriel Spark, which is based on those events.

The description for Laura Thompson's book is as follows:

On 7 November 1974, a nanny named Sandra Rivett was bludgeoned to death in a Belgravia basement. A second woman, Veronica, Countess of Lucan, was also attacked. The man named in court as perpetrator of these crimes, Richard John Bingham, 7th Earl of Lucan, disappeared in the early hours of the following morning. The case, solved in the eyes of the law, has retained its fascination ever since.

Laura Thompson, acclaimed biographer of Agatha Christie, narrates the story that led up to that cataclysmic event, and draws on her considerable forensic skills to re-examine the possible truths behind one of postwar Britain's most notorious murders. A DIFFERENT CLASS OF MURDER is a portrait of an era, of an extraordinary cast of characters, of a mystery, of a modern myth. Part social history, part detective story, it tells in masterly style one of the great tales of our collective living memory.

Below are links to reviews of this book:

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-en...

https://www.lrb.co.uk/v37/n03/rosemar...

This was a huge case in England, inspiring documentaries, docu-dramas, and many books - both fiction and non-fiction. Indeed, a new novel, A Double Life by Flynn Berry is released later this year.

Do please join us for this Buddy read. Or, if you wish, just come and share your opinions about Lord Lucan and the case which caused such a scandal.

If anyone else enjoys other, similar books, about events like the Profumo Affair, etc. I am always happy to organise Buddy Reads based around historical True Crime cases.


Susan | 10660 comments Mod
As it has been fairly quiet on here lately (and we have three upcoming extra books this month), I thought I would open this Buddy Read a day or two early. In all honesty, I don't think you need to have read the book in order to join in, especially if you are familiar with the case.

This ties in with our Muriel Spark novel next month Aiding and Abetting Aiding and Abetting by Muriel Spark

For those who are not aware of the Lord Lucan case, here is a link to an article:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/tv/0/happ...


message 3: by Nigeyb (last edited Sep 13, 2018 03:20AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
Thanks Susan


I only have the haziest teenage memories of the Lucan case, but I think I know the basic facts, and certainly recall the case dominating the front pages when I was a child (a bit like the Jeremy Thorpe scandal which I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting as a mature adult).

I'm very much looking forward to Aiding and Abetting next month, so will grab a copy of A Different Class of Murder: The Story of Lord Lucan to gen up, and discover more about this iconic case.

Here's to an interesting read and enjoyable discussion




Susan | 10660 comments Mod
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqwhY...

This is a link to a documentary about the case.


Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
By the by, I just bought a second hand copy of this edition of Aiding and Abetting on eBay. What a wonderful cover eh?



And how about this book description to whet your appetite for our buddy read of Aiding and Abetting....?

Aiding and Abetting opens sometime late in the 20th century, when an Englishman in his 60s walks into the Paris practice of famed Bavarian psychiatrist Dr Hildegard Wolf and announces that he is the missing Lord Lucan. Yet Hildegrad is already treating one self-confessed Lord Lucan. And what's more, both patients seem to have dirt on her--for isn't she really Beate Pappenheim, a notorious fraud who used her menstrual blood to fake her stigmata? Fearing for her safety, Hildegard flees to London, where her path inevitably crosses that of two British Lucan hunters.

Aiding and Abetting contains more than its share of broad farce and bitter irony. But it remains a strange, slight affair, its unspoken tenet being that the Lucan case still preys on the communal mind of the British public, its details (like the perpetrator's penchant for smoked salmon and lamb chops) indelibly printed there.


message 6: by Nigeyb (last edited Sep 13, 2018 03:30AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
Thanks for the link to the Lucan doc Susan - presumably it's the one that is mentioning in the Telegraph article you link to above

It sounds like a really interesting documentary. It will be fascinating to hear from Lady Lucan first-hand.


Susan | 10660 comments Mod
She died not long ago and left a very contentious will.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018...


message 8: by Nigeyb (last edited Sep 13, 2018 05:33AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
Thanks Susan - I'll have a look at that when I've finished.


My library had a copy of this book so I have already got it out, and even managed to read a few pages.

I was amazed to discover that Lucan's pals all stuck by him and stymied the police investigation. The "Eton mafia" were a horrible bunch who seemed to see nothing wrong in murdering a nanny - it wasn't as if he'd voted Labour or something.

Apparently at the time, during a depression, IRA bombings etc. the public were stunned to discover such types still existed. People who did no work and wasted away their time drinking and gambling away their inherited wealth.


message 9: by Nigeyb (last edited Sep 13, 2018 05:41AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
By the by, I'm not sure I needed to know about every single aristocrat charged with murder - a somewhat bizarre start.

I have the impression there might be quite a bit extraneous information in this book.

Watch this space


Susan | 10660 comments Mod
Yes, my review said a similar thing, Nigeyb.
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 11: by Nigeyb (last edited Sep 13, 2018 07:18AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
Great review Susan. I remember reading it when you first posted it however now I'm underway it resonates more.

I did enjoy Rex v Edith Thompson, also by Laura Thompson, but recall it also "went on a bit" and perhaps could also be described as "sprawling".

I have the impression Laura Thompson is reluctant to waste any piece of research, and likes to pontificate around her themes and ideas.

Anyway, early days so far, and I am really enjoying what I've read so far.

Lucan does seem to be/have been a nasty piece of work with few redeeming features. But, who knows, my view might change as I work through the book?


Susan | 10660 comments Mod
Well, deciding to give up working in a bank to become a professional gambler was delusional, rather than anything else. I think his life took a bit of a downhill turn from there, but he wasn't wholly without redeeming features. Anyway, see what you think when you have read on.


message 13: by Nigeyb (last edited Sep 14, 2018 03:42AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
Interesting point about Lucan not being wholly without redeeming features Susan. Does this mean that you think he wasn't guilty of the murder?

I've now read the chapters on the Lucan family history, which felt a tad unnecessary, and the one on the Claremont club which I thought was fascinating - a whole world I was only vaguely aware of, and which provided me with a new perspective on the early 70s.

Amazing to think that whilst we were enduring the three day week, strikes, high inflation etc, the idle rich were, true to the moniker, gambling thousands of pounds a night and living the high life. No wonder revolution was in the air.


Susan | 10660 comments Mod
I do think he was guilty of the murder - either himself, or paying someone. However, I do also think he was a spoilt, petulant, self-entitled man, who thought he should have what he wanted, when he wanted it. He did love his children and, judging by the way he seemed to spend all his time hanging around his old family home (again, it killed him that his wife was living there and he was paying for it) he may as well made up with her and moved back in! I think she would have taken him back too. Indeed, I think she always loved him.


message 15: by Nigeyb (last edited Sep 14, 2018 03:55AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
I'm convinced of his guilt - especially given he was actually found guilty, albeit in absentia

Susan wrote: "...he was a spoilt, petulant, self-entitled man, who thought he should have what he wanted, when he wanted it..."

No doubt about that. His disrupted early life - living in the US during the war and then coming back to a tired, bombed out Britain - must have messed with his head.

Fundamentally that sense of superiority and entitlement comes from Eton.

Many of his friends had the exact same attitude, right down to their obfuscation during the police investigation. Many didn't even seem to think he done anything wrong. They were also very mean to his wife.

Susan wrote: "He did love his children"

I've not got to that part yet. I may yet reappraise my wholly dim view of his character if I discover he was an involved, engaged parent who spent time with his family.

I'm guessing he was a bit of dimwit too. There's certainly compelling evidence e.g. believing he could make money as a gambler, and the decision to murder his wife

I do wonder if the only thing that makes this case interesting or exceptional is that he was a Lord. And that he had rich friends willing to facilitate his escape abroad.

If an ordinary person had committed this crime would it have the same level of notoriety? I doubt it.


Susan | 10660 comments Mod
No, not at all. The interesting aspect of the case was that he felt entitled, but that, essentially, his class actually worked against him in the end.

There are suggestions that he was a bit thick, although others seem to disagree. I must say that, should my husband decide to make a living out of gambling, I would probably have something to say about it too.

I know they say that his wife was well aware of what he did before she married him, but, well, that is life, isn't it? At first you are being all polite and she was probably impressed by him. Then, once she knew him better, she probably felt more comfortable to speak her mind.


message 17: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 5700 comments Mod
Do you know, until I recently read A Double Life I only had the vaguest idea of the Lucan story - I knew he'd disappeared, didn't know about the murder of his wife!

The novelistic treatment brings out well the issues of class inequalities and inbred sense of entitlement and privilege - before it veers off into thriller territory.

I couldn't help making comparisons between Lucan and Jeremy Thorpe, another social elitist who believed he could literally get away with murder.


Susan | 10660 comments Mod
Although, of course, it was the poor nanny who was killed, in mistake...

I do really agree with the similarities between this and the Jeremy Thorpe case - including both of them being amateurish, botched attempts at murder.


message 19: by Nigeyb (last edited Sep 14, 2018 06:34AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
Both the Thorpe and Lucan cases are firmly tethered together in my memory because they both occurred during my childhood. I can clearly remember them on the TV news and front pages.

I watched the documentary last night that Susan posted above. I thought it would be useful to get some idea about the various characters.

I'm amazed the BBC funded it. Needless to say, Ludovic Kennedy, the programme maker is an old Etonian too and was clearly on good terms with many of the participants.

The documentary is ludicrously one-sided and seeks to cast doubt on Lucan's guilt. Whilst it's clear that the police did not investigate other possibilities, that's because the finger so firmly pointed at Lucan. His friends and family are, as you might expect, a rum bunch. None expressed the slightest concern or sadness about poor old Sandra Rivett, most just wanted to plead the case for "John" or further trash the reputation of his wife.

John Aspinall must surely rank as the worst of the lot. What would he would do if the murderous Lucan walked into the room, Aspinall replied 'I should embrace him.'

This all made me curious about Aspinall, my research revealed that a few weeks before the crime, Lucan told Aspinall's mother that he wanted to kill his wife she replied that 'he must do whatever he thought was right'.

In addition to Lucan, Aspinall's most cherished friends included Jimmy Goldsmith, Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon.

You couldn't make it up.

Perhaps the weirdest element of the story is how Lucan's parents were both Labour activists and yet they sent him to Eton. It was here that he first developed his extreme right wing views and racism.

This article is interesting in this regard....

When Lord Lucan walked into the second-hand department of Hatchards bookshop on 15 February 1972, he was already at the end of his tether. His marriage had collapsed, gambling debts were crushing him and he had become convinced Britain was going to the dogs.

In his growing desperation, he had convinced himself that his wife was unfit to bring up his three children and had spent the previous year trying to get her committed to mental institutions. In fact, the 7th Earl of Lucan, who disappeared in November 1974 after the murder of the family nanny, was himself growing increasingly unstable.

New evidence unearthed by The Observer shows just how extreme his politics had become as his mental state deteriorated: when he left Hatchards, the book under his arm was a Thirties translation of Hitler's political testament, Mein Kampf .

The receipt of Lucan's purchase - on account, naturally - shows that his mind was turning to increasingly authoritarian politics. The other book he bought was Grey Wolf, a biography of the Turkish leader Kemal Ataturk, its subtitle An Intimate Study of a Dictator .


Rest here...
https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2005/j...


message 20: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 5700 comments Mod
Oh yes, of course it was the nanny in the novel.

The funny thing is, the amateurish nature of the murders is itself a testament to both men's seeming inability to comprehend that life might not give them what they want: reading A Very English Scandal: Sex, Lies and a Murder Plot at the Heart of the Establishment I was literally open-mouthed with amazement at what Thorpe thought he could get away with.


message 21: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 5700 comments Mod
Nigeyb wrote: "New evidence unearthed by The Observer shows just how extreme his politics had become as his mental state deteriorated"

Haha, I do like this rather tongue in cheek linkage! Sorry to keep harking back to Thorpe but I was struck by the way he fought against, for example, apartheid and yet could so embrace classist privilege. Fascinating to learn that Lucan's parents were Labour activists.


message 22: by Val (new) - rated it 3 stars

Val | 1709 comments The law allowing coroners to name a murder suspect was changed soon after Sanda Rivett's inquest, which suggests that it was not considered a safe practice. There does seem to be a general assumption that he was either guilty himself or by association, even in this book, which casts a lot of doubt on Veronica Countess Lucan's account at the time.


message 23: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4675 comments Mod
I remember the coverage in newspapers at the time - The News of the World was full of it for months. And also all the stories over the years where people claimed to have spotted Lucan in all kinds of bizarre places around the world.


message 24: by Val (new) - rated it 3 stars

Val | 1709 comments My daughter and I decided from two generations of paper rounds that the perfect News of the World headline would be 'Vicar and Royal in Alien Gay Sex Romp', but I would not be surprised if 'Missing Murderous Earl' ran it a close second. (In other words, they did not ever have a reputation for reporting the truth.)


message 25: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4675 comments Mod
Very true, Val.


Susan | 10660 comments Mod
I was interested to read that, in 500 years, only 11 titled people were tried for murder. Of course, Lucan never stood trial but, had he done so, he would have been tried by his 'peers' in the House of Lords.

This reminded me of an early Dorothy L. Sayers novel, where Wimsey's brother stood trial in the House.

As times had changed, I wonder whether any conclusion arrived at, would have been rejected by the public. I also wonder if, considering the way the aristocracy rallied around him, he would not have been better to stand trial and get off. Regardless of the outcome, he could then have gone abroad with less difficulty.

Of course, there are those who believed he committed suicide. What does anyone else think? Did he kill himself? I somehow doubt it.


Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
Susan wrote: "I also wonder if, considering the way the aristocracy rallied around him, he would not have been better to stand trial and get off. Regardless of the outcome, he could then have gone abroad with less difficulty."

He would been better to turn himself in. A good barrister would have been able to undermine the police's case to cast sufficient doubt in the minds of a jury - whether fellow peers, or made up from the public.

Susan wrote: "Of course, there are those who believed he committed suicide. What does anyone else think? Did he kill himself? I somehow doubt it. "

I am convinced he murdered Sandra Rivett, or at the very least arranged for someone else to do it. The job was blundered and the intended victim was his wife.

He fled the country and went to live abroad. Whether he committed suicide is hard to say. I doubt it.

His friends, who saw nothing wrong in what he had done, had sufficient resources to set him up somewhere that he could live a comfortable life in anonymity.


Susan | 10660 comments Mod
His friends could, of course, have bailed him out financially before this happened - which could have avoided the whole situation. It just shows you how desperate people can become, without people realising it.

After he murdered Sandra RIvett and then attacked his wife, she says they sat on the stairs, before going upstairs. She fled the house at that point, but do you think he intended to finish what he had started and kill her, or did he realise it was too late?


Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
I'm not sure about that second question. She was certainly scared enough to make a break for it.


What do you think Susan?


Susan | 10660 comments Mod
It seemed odd to me that he invited her upstairs. I suspect he was going to get his breath back and try again - had I been her, I would have done the same thing and left at the first opportunity! Not much was said about this, but I think she was very calm and brave, considering that, when she made it to the pub, she was obviously badly injured. The complete lack of sympathy shown to her, even by her own sister, was utterly shocking.


message 31: by Nigeyb (last edited Sep 17, 2018 02:04AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
Susan wrote: "The complete lack of sympathy shown to her, even by her own sister, was utterly shocking"


The public were very sympathetic, as were the police

Lucan's friends and family were, as you say, shockingly, unsympathetic.

Perhaps it's not too much of a stretch to understand some of their reaction. From their perspective....

Had she driven him to act so extremely?

Was she a very difficult person who did everything she could to stop him seeing his own children?

I don't agree with their position but can see how they might find reasons to side with their friend and relative.

As Laura Thompson suggests they both could probably have enjoyed happier and more fulfilling lives if they had not met each other.

Or if they could have negotiated a divorce that put the needs of their children first, where both behaved reasonably.

Sadly most marriage breakdowns are not characterised by this kind of clear thinking - as people often feel hurt and emotional.


message 32: by Nigeyb (last edited Sep 17, 2018 02:08AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
I am still not clear what drove him to such an extreme plan. I can see why he might entertain thoughts of murdering his wife to gain access to the children, but to actually go through with it?

He must have been under a huge amount of psychological strain too. Even if he hadn't botched it, he would always have been suspect number one.

He should have realised that his actions would result in a massive news story so, if his primary concern was the welfare of his children, his plan would always prove completely counterproductive.

And that's without considering any of the moral implications.

What do you think Susan? How did he come to execute such a bizarre and foolish idea?


Susan | 10660 comments Mod
I think he just was an impulsive and emotional man. He always wanted his own way and it wasn't just that his wife had left him, but she was living in his house, with his children. He had a sense of ownership, and entitlement. His friends seemed to bring out the worst in him - encouraging him to feel put down upon.


Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
That sounds about right Susan.

There is some suggestion that he was also under a lot of psychological strain. The gambling was turning into an addiction, the lack of access to his children and...

....this is just me projecting....

....his lifestyle (v late nights + high alcohol consumption + lack of exercise etc), his life's lack of purpose or meaning, the deadening routine of it all, his friends mainly being more successful than him etc etc.

I'd suggest his lifestyle would mess with most people's minds


message 35: by Val (new) - rated it 3 stars

Val | 1709 comments I think he did commit suicide, but I agree with Nigey that he would would have been wiser to hand himself in. There is enough 'reasonable doubt' for him to have been found not guilty, even though I think he was most probably involved in the murder in some way. Lady Lucan's statement is not consistent with either the forensic evidence or other witnesses, or even with later statements she made herself. His story, that he was walking past and saw her being attacked, is unlikely but not possible to disprove. After that, the difference comes down to either the husband or the wife mistaking somebody else for their spouse. He was under some strain; she had been hit on the head and had a history of mental illness. A jury might be inclined to think she was the one mistaken and it is significant that neither her sister nor her children believed her version. If there was a hitman, he could have mistaken the two women.

I am not inclined to like any of these people, but I think it unlikely that they were part of a conspiracy to hide and fund Lucan abroad somewhere. This 'circle of rich friends' seems to be a myth, since most of his friends were fellow gamblers in almost as much debt as he was and the one couple who may have helped him get away that night were even worse off. Lucan had already touched all his friends and acquaintances for loans, most refused or lent him less than he wanted.
The only times I have heard Lucan mentioned as alive, it is as something impossible or highly improbable, on a par with Elvis working down the chip-shop or abduction by aliens. I thought that was the usual response, but perhaps it just is among my sceptical friends and family. Another minor point, would George Osborne have dared the spotlight of high-level politics if his granny and uncle were really involved in hiding Lucan or feeding him to tigers??


message 36: by Nigeyb (last edited Sep 17, 2018 05:20AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
Thanks Val - very interesting


I just want to query this part:

Val wrote: "This 'circle of rich friends' seems to be a myth, since most of his friends were fellow gamblers in almost as much debt as he was...."

What about John Aspinall?

He had sufficient resources to fund private zoos. Five of his zookeepers were mauled to death in separate incidents which, I'm guessing, would have involved significant compensation.

Other friends of Lucan included James Goldsmith and Tiny Rowland, disreputable types, but also with access to considerable resources.

We can definitively say that Lucan had some very wealthy friends in amongst the debt-ridden gamblers.

On John Aspinall's wikipedia page (I'm only halfway through the book so not sure yet what angle Laura Thompson takes on the various possibilities to explain what happened to Lucan after he disappeared) it states....

John Aspinall claimed that Lord Lucan, whose 1974 disappearance remains a mystery, had committed suicide by scuttling his motorboat and jumping into the English Channel with a stone tied around his body.

According to the journalist Lynn Barber, in an interview in 1990 Aspinall made a slip of the tongue indicating Lucan had remained Aspinall's friend beyond the date of the alleged suicide.

On 18 February 2012, Glenn Campbell of BBC News reported that John Aspinall's ex-secretary (using the alias of Jill Findlay) had disclosed that she was invited into meetings where Aspinall and Goldsmith, the multi-millionaire businessman, discussed Lucan. She further said, that on two occasions, between 1979 and 1981, Aspinall had instructed her to book trips to Africa (Kenya and Gabon) for Lucan's children. The arrangement was so Lucan could see his children from a distance, but he was not to meet them or speak to them.


That last part could all be nonsense of course but, given the lack of a body, or a suicide note, or anything else, I'm most inclined to believe his friends got him out of the country and set him up somewhere else.

We know they did all they could to hamper the police investigation and seemed to believe he'd done nothing much wrong, so aiding and abetting would hardly phase Aspinall or Goldsmith, and the rest of them.

What do you believe happened to him after his disappearance?


Susan | 10660 comments Mod
http://liberalengland.blogspot.com/20...

Also ironic that George Osborne's grandmother was such a Labour supporter!

Although Lucan's friends did not loan him enough money to bail him out, they could have come up with enough cash to have helped him, I suspect. I am not convinced he committed suicide, although it is all speculation, of course.


message 38: by Nigeyb (last edited Sep 17, 2018 10:43PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
I'd read that story elsewhere Susan - that does seem particularly far fetched, but who knows?

Having finished the book last night, I notice that Laura Thompson seems to favour the suicide scenario over the other ones.


Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
Val wrote: "The law allowing coroners to name a murder suspect was changed soon after Sanda Rivett's inquest...."

Interesting that the coroner in the Lucan case was the same coroner who, controversially, dealt with the Freddie Mills inquest. Controversial as he came to a verdict of suicide which seemed highly unlikely to many at the time, and flew in the face of much of the evidence.


Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
I'm very glad that I decided to read this book


Click here to read my review

3/5

I'm also really looking forward to our buddy read of Muriel Spark's novel Aiding And Abetting next month which was inspired by the Lucan case...

First, a bit of history: The seventh Earl of Lucan disappeared on November 7, 1974, leaving behind the battered body of his children's nanny and a beaten wife. Widely covered in the press, his sensational story has had a surprisingly long half-life, and the speculation about his whereabouts has never quite died out. In this book, Muriel Spark toys with several provocative issues arising out of the case: identity, class, blood ("it is not purifying, it is sticky"), and the dynamics of psychiatry ("most of the money wasted on psychoanalysis goes on time spent unraveling the lies of the patient").

Aiding and Abetting opens sometime late in the 20th century, when an Englishman in his 60s walks into the Paris practice of famed Bavarian psychiatrist Dr Hildegard Wolf and announces that he is the missing Lord Lucan. Yet Hildegrad is already treating one self-confessed Lord Lucan. And what's more, both patients seem to have dirt on her--for isn't she really Beate Pappenheim, a notorious fraud who used her menstrual blood to fake her stigmata? Fearing for her safety, Hildegard flees to London, where her path inevitably crosses that of two British Lucan hunters.

Aiding and Abetting contains more than its share of broad farce and bitter irony. But it remains a strange, slight affair, its unspoken tenet being that the Lucan case still preys on the communal mind of the British public, its details (like the perpetrator's penchant for smoked salmon and lamb chops) indelibly printed there. For anyone under 30, that's a difficult argument to swallow. As one wise character puts it: "Few people today would take Lucan and his pretensions seriously, as they rather tended to do in the 70s." Times have changed indeed--and perhaps that's Spark's point after all, that the "psychological paralysis" of the not-quite-swinging '70s is long gone. --Alan Stewart


Sounds wonderful eh?


Aiding And Abetting by Muriel Spark


message 41: by Val (new) - rated it 3 stars

Val | 1709 comments I got the impression that Aspinall was more interested in separating his aristocratic 'friends' from any money they did have than giving handouts (although he had sold the club some years before the time of the murder, so no longer had that source of income).
Laura Thompson does not see Goldsmith as a likely source of handouts either.
Some of the set might have been able to give him enough money to get out of the country or lent him a boat, but that is not the same as supporting him living abroad in hiding for years.


Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
Yes indeed Val, and Laura Thompson's rationale was quite convincing too I thought.


Susan | 10660 comments Mod
I doubt we will ever know what really happened. This has really whetted my appetite for the Muriel Spark novel.


Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
Me too Susan. Feels like far too long since I read a book by Muriel Spark.


Susan | 10660 comments Mod
Yes, it astonishes me that I have read so few. I am particularly keen to read The Abbess of Crewe possibly after reading the Bob Woodward book about Watergate - I am currently reading his Trump book, but can't really get into it. Just too obsessed with the Shirley Jackson biography at the moment! I also really want to read The Girls of Slender Means


Nigeyb | 10402 comments Mod
Agreed Susan.


I'm sure all those Spark titles will have much to recommend them.

All her books seem to be fairly concise so we should have read more of them by now.

Still, always good to have alluring reads awaiting us.


message 47: by Susan (last edited Sep 20, 2018 11:02PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Susan | 10660 comments Mod
Yes, I hope to start Aiding and Abetting next week. I just wanted to leave a space between the non-fiction and the fiction read.


message 48: by Pamela (last edited Sep 29, 2018 12:00AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Pamela (bibliohound) | 534 comments Am still trying to plough through this book, I am finding it rather hard going. Susan's review prepared me for this but still.... The style is turgid and repetitive, and despite the mass of barely relevant information, the author makes judgements without really backing them up with any facts. Just tell me what Lucan's friends said and did, and let me decide whether Johnny and Jimmy are more or less arrogant than Daniel and Dominick for myself!


message 49: by Susan (last edited Sep 29, 2018 12:20AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Susan | 10660 comments Mod
The author in question, Laura Thompson picks some really interesting topics to write about - the Mitfords, Edith Thompson, Agatha Christie, Lucan - but she has a tendency to not wish to leave out any of her research... I found her book on Edith Thompson difficult for much the same reason.


message 50: by Val (new) - rated it 3 stars

Val | 1709 comments I thought she did quite well at separating the facts from the myths, but agree with Pamela that she should have left us to make our own judgements on the characters. She also goes on too much about Lucan being handsome and dashing; perhaps he was ten or fifteen years earlier, but in photographs of him from around the time of the murder he looks quite seedy and dissolute.


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