"...The famous murders all become myths, and that myth is not necessarily a distillation of truth. It is, more precisely, a distillation of our perceptions. It has a different kind of truth, symbolic rather than factual. The myth of the Lucan case is a parable about class: a tale of aristocratic hubris. Every element in the story has been seen through that prism. The myth contains some truth, of course, but it is not the whole truth. Indeed it is not above telling lies. This book will go on to tell a different story, because the myth can't be allowed to have things all its own way. Nevertheless there is nothing to be done with it. You can't kill a myth. It is the way that a story settles, and however much you shake it up it will always fall back into position. It is the favoured version, the one that people have decided upon. Moreover, this particular myth has a tremendous power. Lucan symbolized the old and terrible ways, so casting him into hell was, and continues to be, a peculiarly satisfying act of national catharsis..."


'Sensational... the most minutely researched and brilliantly told account ever.' Mail on Sunday

'Laura Thompson delivers the goods: a compelling narrative...' The Times

'Gripping... an exceptionally thorough examination.' Daily Mail

'Fascinating… a superb anatomy of a murder.' Independent on Sunday

'Laura Thompson is a fine writer... and one can't help admire the way she breathes new life into an intriguing tale.' Andrew Lycett, London Review of Books

'Laura Thompson's wonderful book challenges our assumptions... psychologically alarming, socially revealing and, like all good murder stories, riveting from start to finish.' Diana Souhami, author of The Murder at Wrotham Hill

Recent News

National Review podcast Great pleasure to do this with John...

Read More

Spectator Book Club podcast Lovely to chat with Sam Leith about Nancy Mitford and The Pursuit of Love,...

Read More

Life in a Cold Climate in paperback

  Lovely to have this reissued... thanks to Head of Zeus, not least for the very delicious new cover

Read More