A Very English Scandal: Sex, Lies and a Murder Plot at the Heart of Establishment

A Very English Scandal: Sex, Lies and a Murder Plot at the Heart of Establishment

by John Preston




Now a major TV drama series starring Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw, 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
While Jeremy Thorpe served as a Member of Parliament and Leader of the Liberal Party in the 1960s and 70s, his 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. 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, 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781590519486
Publisher: Other Press, LLC
Publication date: 05/08/2018
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.01(h) x 1.01(d)

About the Author

John Preston is a former arts editor of the Sunday Telegraph and Evening Standard. He is the author of four highly acclaimed novels, including The Dig, Ghosting, Ink and Kings of the Roundhouse, and a travel book, Touching the Moon. He lives in London.

Table of Contents

Illustrations xi

Part 1

1 A Dinner at the House of Commons 3

2 The Postcard 11

3 The Eye of Urse 18

4 Bunnies 24

5 Mr Bessell Goes to Dublin 39

6 The Creature 46

7 This Filthy Subject 54

8 Bessell Pulls Another Rabbit Out of His Hat 62

9 The Blessings of Family Life 67

10 Two Pledges 71

11 Unexpected Developments 76

12 A Happy and Joyous Occasion 88

13 Shooting a Sick Dog 97

Part 2

14 The Ultimate Solution 107

15 Doomed 112

16 Back to Black 118

17 The Price of a Peerage 124

18 From Bad to Worse 133

19 Big Swamp 140

20 A Death Unforeseen 147

21 A Simple Plan 158

22 Things Fall Apart 172

23 Bessellised 183

24 The Man from Canada 193

25 Death on the Moor 201

Part 3

26 Vive les trois mousqueraires! 207

27 A Bloody Mess 214

28 Damned Lies 229

29 Judas 234

30 Ice Cold in Minehead 243

31 Waiting in the Wings 251

32 Overture and Beginners 261

Part 4

33 Ripped to Shreds 271

34 The Greatest Show on Earth 287

35 The Judgement of Cantley 299

36 Awkward Bows 312

Postscript 321

Acknowledgements 323

Index 325

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