Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (June 2)

First Chapter

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 current read is Dancing for the Hangman by Martin Edwards and the first of my 20 Books of Summer 2015 challenge
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Dancing for the Hangman


It is 1910 and Dr Hawley Crippen has been convicted of the murder of his wife Cora. In his cell at Pentonville Prison, Crippen faces the prospect of the gallows. Laying bare his innermost feelings, he looks back at his austere childhood in Coldwater, Michigan, his tempestuous marriage and life on the run with his lover Ethel Le Neve. Yet as he revisits his life, Crippen entreats us to consider his ‘confession’: I am not a murderer.
In Dancing for the Hangman, Martin Edwards reopens the file on one of the most notorious and fascinating cases in criminal history. Edwards blends imaginative insight with detailed and extensive research to bring to life the characters and events of a hundred years ago. As he explores all the known facts of the murder case, Edwards skilfully reveals the many questions surrounding Crippen’s conviction and arrives at a fresh interpretation of the case.
Darkly humorous and highly readable, Dancing for the Hangman is also a strikingly vivid portrait of Crippen himself, drawing the reader deep into the mind of this hapless, baffling and complex figure. Flambard Press

~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

Note: marked ‘Declan – for your eyes only’, from Chief Government Archivist to the Director of Media Relations, 1 May 2008

A dead man talking.
The sheets of foolscap are yellow and smell of damp, but when I read Crippen’s words, I hear his voice. Soft plaintive, oblivious to irony.
These papers – a memoir in manuscript, scraps from a secret diary, jagged clippings – were meant to make a man’s fortune. Instead they have lain hidden for years. Even now they could embarrass us. They speak of a murder that no-one knew or dreamed of.

Do you want to know more? Have you read this book?

Please leave your thoughts and links in the comment box below


A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

33 thoughts on “First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (June 2)

  1. That is such a well-known case that it would be interesting to see how Martin Edwards reinterprets it. Although, unlike the Ripper case, we do know the murderer – or does the author suggest we don’t?


    1. As you say with well-known cases it can be hard to see what an author can add to what is already known – so far Martin Edwards has done a good reconstruction of Crippen’s earlier life…


  2. I have heard Crippen referred to for years, but I’ve not ever known exactly what his murder was or anything about it. Yes, I’d keep reading. I like Martin Edwards’ books, though this one is not in the series that I’ve read.


    1. He was hanged for the murder of his wife after being caught on board a ship with his mistress (dressed as a boy.) The police were alerted to his whereabouts via telegraph. Shockingly I haven’t read any of the series you refer to but I’m enjoying this one very much.


  3. Oh, I liked this book very much when I read it, Cleo. Such a fascinating take on the Crippen case, and Edwards has clearly ‘done the homework.’ Glad you’re reading it, and I hope you’ll enjoy it all.


  4. I remember reading a very creepy real life mystery book that outlined the Crippen case, when I was about 10, and feeling very spooked by the whole case, and even the idea that he might have been innocent and then executed. For some reason, I had this horror of that scenario when I was small, that made me feel panicked, so it’s funny to see someone else come up with that interpretation so many years later.


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