The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife, and the Missing Corpse: An Extraordinary Edwardian Case of Deception and Intrigue

The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife, and the Missing Corpse: An Extraordinary Edwardian Case of Deception and Intrigue

by Piu Eatwell


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A Book Riot Best Book of the Year
Goodreads Choice Award Finalist (History/Biography)

“It’s Downton Abbey meets The Addams Family in [this] delightfully offbeat history.” —Library Journal

At the close of the Victorian era, as now, privacy was power. The extraordinarily wealthy 5th Duke of Portland had a mania for it, hiding in his carriage and building tunnels between buildings to avoid being seen. In 1897, an elderly widow asked the court to exhume the grave of her late father-in-law, T. C. Druce, under the suspicion that he’d led a double life as the 5th Duke. The eccentric duke, Anna Maria contended, had faked his death as Druce, and her son should inherit the Portland millions. Revealing a dark underbelly of Victorian society, Piu Marie Eatwell evokes an era when the rise of sensationalist media blurred every fact into fiction and when family secrets and fluid identities pushed class anxieties to new heights.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781631492310
Publisher: Liveright Publishing Corporation
Publication date: 09/20/2016
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 360,840
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Piu Eatwell is the author of Black Dahlia, Red Rose and The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife, and the Missing Corpse and has produced and researched historical documentaries for the BBC and other channels, including the widely acclaimed film Charles Manson: The Man Who Killed the Sixties. She divides her time between Paris and London with her husband and three children.

Table of Contents

Dramatis Personae ix

Act 1 Burial

Scene 1 Welbeck Abbey, December 1879 3

Scene 2 St Paul's Cathedral, March 1898 18

Scene 3 Highgate Cemetery, March 1898 29

Scene 4 Baker Street and Cavendish Square, 1860s 38

Scene 5 The Streets of London, Summer 1898 54

Scene 6 Featherstone Buildings, December 1898 75

Scene 7 The New London Law Courts, Three years later 87

Act 2 Resurrection

Scene 8 Bury St Edmunds, October 1816 105

Scene 9 On Board RMS Oroya, May 1903 120

Scene 10 An Office on London Wall, March 1907 133

Scene 11 Marylebone Police Court, October-December 1907 154

Scene 12 The Druce Vault, December 1907 175

Scene 13 The Police Courts, One week later 185

Act 3 Revelation

Scene 14 London and Welbeck, December 1907 193

Scene 15 London and Worksop, January 1908 201

Scene 16 Holloway Prison, January 1908 216

Scene 17 A London Hotel, September 1898 227

Scene 18 Sledmere House, East Ridings 1870s 241

Scene 19 A Library in Nottingham, October 2013 256

Scene 20 Welbeck Abbey, October 2013 276

Epilogue An Obscure Grave, London, December 2013 290

Postscript 294

2014 Postscript 295

Notes 301

Acknowledgments 327

Select Bibliography 329

Picture Credits 337

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