The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife, and the Missing Corpse

The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife, and the Missing Corpse

An Extraordinary Edwardian Case of Deception and Intrigue

Book - 2014
Average Rating:
Rate this:
6
Publisher: New York : Liveright Publishing Corporation, a division of W.W. Norton & Company, c2014
ISBN: 9781631491238
1631491237
Branch Call Number: 942 Eatw
Characteristics: xiii, 338 pages, [8 unnumbered pages of plates] : illustrations ; 25 cm

Opinion

From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment

6
671books
Aug 29, 2016

I loved this book. Once I started reading it, I could not put this book down. Hidden passages. A reclusive duke. Tales of being dead or not dead. Hidden families. All in all it makes for a great page turner.

I won't say much more here for fear of ruining the ending, but for fans of true crime, this is the story for you.

bibliotechnocrat Jun 12, 2016

File under too-unlikely-to-be-untrue. This narrative focuses on a convoluted court case in which potential inheritors squabble and scheme in an attempt to establish that the late 5th Duke of Portland in fact faked his own death and lived on as a furniture salesman. It's filled with delicious Victorian and Edwardian details and characters, lies, deceptions, illegitimacy, hypocrisy, and money. A fun read.

r
rpavlacic
Mar 20, 2016

Secret passageways. Illegitimate children. Multiple claimants to a huge fortune. A double life. Not to mention the emergence of the exploitative tabloid media. All these add up to this early twentieth century story where truth truly is stranger than fiction ... except for the fact it really happened.

t
trotter73
Mar 06, 2016

A definite case of the truth being stranger than fiction.
Very interesting once the story gets moving..

j
jazpur
Dec 26, 2015

Claim and counterclaim. Fact stranger than fiction. A very worthwhile rendition of a cause celebre in Edwardian society and the lengths gone to, by the aristocracy to cover up a scandal affecting the inheritance of the Portland Dukedom.

h
htliang
Dec 03, 2015

This is a fascinating re-telling of the Druce-Portland affair in Edwardian London. Was the extremely wealthy 5th Duke of Portland really living a double (or triple) life as a middle class merchant? Did he have two secret wives and father eleven (or more) children?

An elderly widow appears at a British court in 1898 requesting that her father-in-law's coffin be exhumed to show that it is filled with lead. Her purpose is to enable her son to receive his rightful inheritance. Two photographs showed an uncanny resemblance between the two men. Both were eccentric, had skin conditions, refused to eat red meat, and possessed many wigs. The duke lived almost entirely in isolation either at his huge Welbeck Abbey estate or at his London residence (Harcourt House). He initiated the building of many underground tunnels and trapdoors which enabled him to leave unseen. He only communicated with servants by letterboxes placed outside his rooms. No-one knew if he was home or not.

There are more twists and turns in this story than in a work of fiction! There is mystery, madness, deceit, famous detectives, genteel ladies, and intrigue. The author has done an incredible amount of research to be able to produce such a detailed version of this gripping story. There are many photographs and drawings in the book to refer to as well. Highly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in the late Victorian/early Edwardian time period and likes to learn the details behind a story.

Age

Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.

Summary

Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Quotes

Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Recommendations

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at PLYMC

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top