The Most Remarkable Woman in England by John Carter Wood

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It's the dark impenetrable mess of it all that's so enthrallingly real...


The most remarkable woman in England examines an extraordinary legal sensation of the inter-war years, the 1928 trial of Beatrice Pace for the arsenic murder of her husband. It recounts the case and analyses its place in 1920s Britain with regard to justice, celebrity culture and civil liberties.

Illuminating the workings of Britain's criminal justice system in the early twentieth century, this book traces the investigations by Scotland Yard detectives into the mysterious death of Harry Pace and the lengthy coroner's inquest and astonishing trial proceedings that followed. It also considers the dramatic reporting and emotional public reactions it generated. A poor woman from an isolated village, Beatrice was transformed into a household name when, although accused of a crime that might lead her to the gallows, she was also idealised as a wife and mother in newspaper stories that give insight into the gender debates of the 1920s. The public's response was startling, and letters sent by Beatrice's admirers provide a rare glimpse of the reading public in the past. But the case was more than a Fleet Street curiosity, it led to debates in Parliament about 'third-degree' police interrogations, overbearing coroners and the plight of poor defendants, allowing this book to bring to life a forgotten chapter in the history of British civil liberties.

Combining serious scholarship with vivid storytelling, The most remarkable woman in England will fascinate all those interested in the histories of criminal justice, celebrity culture and British society between the wars.

About John Carter Wood

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John Carter Wood is a Researcher at the Institute of European History in Mainz, Germany and the Open University, UK.
Published August 31, 2012 by Manchester University Press. 272 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel, Law & Philosophy.
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Reviewed by Tessa Hadley on Oct 26 2012

It's the dark impenetrable mess of it all that's so enthrallingly real...

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