Having read and reviewed Rose West: The Making of a Monster late last year my recommendations were filled with more books about this couple and among them was The Corpse Garden which I hadn’t read.
This book seeks to explain why Fred and Rose spent their time torturing and killing girls but for me the writer’s conclusion was stated early and everything that followed was used to bolster his belief.
The premise is that Fred’s motorcycle accident caused damage to his frontal lobe and he became a ‘sex maniac.’ To me this doesn’t take into account that his father and brother John are alleged to have shown similar sexual tendencies. Rose is labelled a nymphomaniac by Wilson, one who happened to meet another dominant personality and together they egged each other on. There is also quite a lot of repetition and the time lines aren’t as clear as in Jane Carter Woodrow’s later exploration into what caused these two seemingly normal people to murder so many young women.
Where Colin Wilson excels in this book is by making comparisons to other serial murders as well as highlighting the differences and here his extensive knowledge comes to the fore.
I found this a hard book to read, there is a lot of emphasis on what happened to their poor victims which isn’t pleasant and I didn’t find the answer which is how did a normal young woman, she was only 17 at the time of the first murder, turn into a serial killer and how did no-one notice what was going on in this seemingly normal house close to Gloucester City centre.