Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.
My intro this week is from The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife and The Missing Corpse by Piu Marie Eatwell
The extraordinary story of the Druce-Portland affair, one of the most notorious, tangled and bizarre legal cases of the late Victorian and Edwardian eras.
In 1897 an elderly widow, Anna Maria Druce, made a strange request of the London Ecclesiastical Court: it was for the exhumation of the grave of her late father-in-law, T.C. Druce.
Behind her application lay a sensational claim: that Druce had been none other than the eccentric and massively wealthy 5th Duke of Portland, and that the – now dead – Duke had faked the death of his alter ego. When opened, Anna Maria contended, Druce’s coffin would be found to be empty. And her children, therefore, were heirs to the Portland millions.
The extraordinary legal case that followed would last for ten years. Its eventual outcome revealed a dark underbelly of lies lurking beneath the genteel facade of late Victorian England. Goodreads
First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro
It was a dark, windy winter evening a few days before Christmas 1879. The occupants of the saloon carriage of the train of the Great Central Railway Company that rattled from King’s Cross Station in the direction of Sheffield were tense and silent. In the carriage sat a young man of twenty-two. He was pale, with a high forehead and heavily hooded eyes. Also in the carriage sat five other people: two younger men, a sickly boy, a pensive and alert-looking little girl of six years old, and an older woman who regarded the other occupants with anxious attention. All the party were dressed in sombre black, the garb of deep mourning. Every so often, the countryside bordering the line would light up as the train approached a town: Luton, Northampton, Leicester or Nottingham. In the wells of shadow in between, nothing was discernable from the carriage windows, save – as the train toiled further north – the dark mass of Sherwood Forest.
I can’t resist this tale of lies, deceit and hypocrisy of Victorian England and that foreboding opening sets the tone well.
What do you think? Do you want to know more? Would you keep reading?