A behind-the-scenes look at the desperate, scandalous private life of a British MP and champion manipulator, and the history-making trial that exposed his dirty secrets.
As a member of Parliament and leader of the Liberal Party in the 1960s and 70s, Jeremy Thorpe's bad behavior went under the radar for years. Police and politicians alike colluded to protect one of their own. In 1970, Thorpe was the most popular and charismatic politician in the country, poised to hold the balance of power in a coalition government.
But Jeremy Thorpe was a man with a secret. His homosexual affairs and harassment of past partners, along with his propensity for lying and embezzlement, only escalated as he evaded punishment. That is, until a dark night on the moor with an ex-lover, a dog, and a hired gun led to consequences that even his charm and power couldn't help him escape. Dubbed the "Trial of the Century", Thorpe's climactic case at the Old Bailey in London was the first time that a leading British politician had stood trial on a murder charge, and the first time that a murder plot had been hatched in the House of Commons. And it was the first time that a prominent public figure had been exposed as a philandering gay man in an era when homosexuality had only just become legal. With the pace and drama of a thriller, A Very English Scandal is an extraordinary story of hypocrisy, deceit, and betrayal at the heart of the British establishment.
©2016 John Preston (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
I bet not many people know about the rank corruption that existed in the British Govt's Labor party back in the 1960's and 70's. I was a clueless college student in 1979, but reading this during our own USA national nightmare of an election (2016) I am so sickened by the people we choose to rule us, I have to shake my head in dismay. This book is very, very good and it reads like a novel. The narration was fine, although it might have been even better with some other narrators I prefer. But, Matthew Brenher was good. I chose this book because I loved The Dig and I look forward to other books by this very competent author!
One protagonist is an MP and party leader desperate to hide his gayness circa 1960 England. He is a deeply flawed man but of great charm. He struts through life.
The MP's friends are apparent men of the world who are manipulated by him for years on end to a degree beggaring belief.
The other protagonist, the MP's one-time paramour (or victim) is a deeply flawed man obsessed with the MP. He, too, can manipulate those whom he meets, if only briefly, as he staggers through life.
The paramour's friends are a cast of men and women who come and go from his life in rapid succession. Their willingness to help him is a puzzle.
The book's author is someone covering an improbably decades-long story with an eye for the improbability of it and the ability to make the reader snicker.
Were this story condensed into a USA or Latin American Soap opera, the plot would seem run of the mill absurd. Life imitates bad art.
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