Monday, 21 May 2012
Famous Trials 4 - James H Hodge (ed)
The other two cases - where the accused were incontravertibly guilty - are less compelling. Dr Pritchard, the Scottish Victorian poisoner, would be better considered by a forensic psychologist who might be able to explain the methodical destruction of two women he really seemed to love. The case of Ley and Smith, which I had never previously come across, is a sordid business, notable only for the fact that Ley, who had a sort of motive and dreamt up the scheme, was spared the noose and sent to Broadmoor whilst his hired stooge Smith, who only dumped the body, was hanged. Could the fact that Ley was rich and Smith wasn't have anything to do with it? F Tennyson Jesse, usually so deft in bringing murder to the page (A Pin to See the Peepshow), misses a trick here - Ley's character is so extraordinary he belongs in a novel.