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‘Even the lives of scoundrels play some part in portraying an age…’
Our interest in all things Victorian – in the seamy side of the era especially – is ageless and undimmed. Giles St. Aubyn’s Infamous Victorians, first published in 1971, stands as a brilliant illumination of two dark stories of the time, replete with sinister elements of iniquity and hypocrisy.
In the first fifty years of Victoria’s reign two doctors were hanged after being found guilty of murder at the Central Criminal Court. Both men were 32 years old, both poisoners, both murdered for money. Dr William Palmer was a notorious figure, tried for a single murder though he almost certainly killed others. Dr George Lamson was a morphia addict convicted of killing his crippled young brother-in-law at Blenheim House school. Giles St. Aubyn restores them to life on the page, examines their careers and assesses their guilt.
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