"Crippen", by John Boyne

Crippen - John Boyne

This is a slightly gothic and a very captivating historical fiction based on real-life events that happened over 100 years ago. It brings a fresh perspective while it recounts the life of the rather infamous and charismatic murderer Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen.

When I started the book I had no idea who Crippen was so my mind was not tainted by the actual facts, I was then able to enjoy this superb mystery in which the author has put his own spin on a heinous crime that took place in Camden, England in 1910. Dr. Crippen was not a real doctor although he never was reluctant in passing himself off as one in order to embellish is living style. His second marriage was to Cora, a vicious hag who made his life miserable and a nightmare. She abused him both verbally and physically and cheated on him on many occasions. He became the prime suspect in her death after her body was found hacked to death in the cellar of his home. No one would have the unassuming Doctor capable of murder. But yet, the doctor and his mistress Ethel LeNeve had disappeared from London and a full scale hunt for them had begun.

Mr. Boyne constructs his story meticulously his style is both easy to follow and very engaging. The story goes back and forth in time and while the focus switches between characters in many scenes I never felt at a lost. 

Across the Channel in Antwerp, the S.S. Montrose has just set for Canada aboard slipping amongst the passengers are a Mr. Robinson, accompanied by his teenage son, Edmund. The pair was hoping for an escape from their past but they will need more than luck to survive the voyage unnoticed…..and this is just part of an exciting story….

Mr. Boyne is a wonderful story teller, just when you think you have everything figured out he throws a few twists your way and adroitly reels you in a different direction. This is a riveting read, an intricately plotted novel with a well-crafted narrative that teases you with bits of information and is populated with engaging and memorable characters. Mr. Boyne has found the recipe to please those with a thirst for dramatized true-crime stories and he does that admirably..