Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The Twelve Reviews of Christmas, part 7

Among the positive reviews The Most Remarkable Woman in England received was one in the Literary Review from historian Dominic Sandbrook (probably known best recently for his books on 1970s Britain and a number of BBC television documentaries).

There is no version of it online, however, I have a few excerpts below. 

Among other things Sandbrook observes: 

Today, of course, Beatrice Pace is almost completely forgotten. It is to John Carter Wood’s credit, therefore, that in this splendid piece of historical detective work he not only brings her story alive but casts new light on the life of England in the 1920s, a land desperate to return to normality after the First World War, but terrified of the demons lurking in the attic.
Like Kate Summerscale’s prizewinning book The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, Wood’s account is an engrossing exercise in historical reconstruction, slowly peeling back layer upon layer of the story of Harry and Beatrice Pace.
Wood’s achievement is to use the case to explore the troubled world of the mid-1920s, a period when, as the Daily Herald remarked, ‘nine people out of ten follow the meagre official details and the billowing rumours of an actual murder mystery more eagerly and breathlessly than the most devoted detective “fan.”’
Wood thinks the jury came to the right verdict, though it is a measure of his immaculately researched, fluently written and utterly compelling book that he allows readers to come to their own conclusions. For my own part, I rather think there was more to Beatrice Pace than met the eye. Who really killed Harry Pace? You had better read the book and decide for yourself.

'Decide for yourself.' Hmm. Sounds about right.

And I believe there is a holiday coming.

(Quotes from the Dec-Jan 2012/13 issue of the Literary Review.)

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