Author(s): John Preston
The shocking true story of the first British politician to stand trial for murder Behind oak-panelled doors in the House of Commons, men with cut-glass accents and gold signet rings are conspiring to murder. It's the late 1960s and homosexuality has only just been legalised, and Jeremy Thorpe, the leader of the Liberal party, has a secret he's desperate to hide. As long as Norman Scott, his beautiful, unstable lover is around, Thorpe's brilliant career is at risk. With the help of his fellow politicians, Thorpe schemes, deceives, embezzles - until he can see only one way to silence Scott for good. The trial of Jeremy Thorpe changed our society forever: it was the moment the British public discovered the truth about its political class. Illuminating the darkest secrets of the Establishment, the Thorpe affair revealed such breath-taking deceit and corruption in an entire section of British society that, at the time, hardly anyone dared believe it could be true. A Very English Scandal is an eye-opening tale of how the powerful protect their own, and an extraordinary insight into the forces that shaped modern Britain.
The shocking true story of the first British politician to stand trial for murder Publisher's description This is a brilliant, sad, startling nonfiction novel about the Jeremy Thorpe murder-plot scandal. It is as funny and dark as anything by Evelyn Waugh or Jonathan Coe. And in these post Cyril Smith/Jimmy Saville days, it's so timely and relevant Jon Ronson A terrific book and brilliantly researched. John Preston writes wonderful dead-pan prose and reveals the depths of depravity, the absurd power of snobbery and the old boy networks of the time -- Claire Tomalin A brilliant exploration of an extraordinary political scandal... deeply researched, fluently written, and darkly comic, it reads like a thriller -- Ben Macintyre I loved it; eccentric, dark, humane and English in the very best sense. It's going to be a sure fire-hit -- Alain de Botton The most forensic, elegantly written, compelling account of one of the 20th century's great political scandals... a real page-turner' Observer Very funny and endlessly extraordinary... makes for amazing reading -- Catherine Shoard Guardian Impeccably researched... full of shocks, surprises and laugh-out-loud moments. Preston revives a forgotten era and delves into the personalities behind the headlines. Times Crime Club Retold with masterful skill... It grips like a detective story, as compelling as BBC2's Life of Duty and every bit as dirty in what it exposes about the upper echelons of society in the Sixties and Seventies Daily Mail Book of the Week This brilliant account made me feel I was hearing the tale for the first time ... Preston is an enthralling narrator Mail on Sunday Gripping ... cack-handed assassins, buffoonish policemen, dodgy Home secretaries and sozzled judges. The conclusion of an Establishment cover-up is hard to avoid Daily Telegraph The unbelievable truth... Preston is a natural storyteller ... he provides the context for actions that seem unbelievable today The Times Wonderfully readable ... John Preston is the ideal author, having researched for years many minor characters and talked to dozens of well-known political and literary friends and enemies of Thorpe Standpoint Fluent, readable ... a vivid tableau of the players in Thorpe's long, tragic downfall Evening Standard I spent a thrilling 48 hours reading it. The narrative is so vivid, the characterisation so brilliant... I thought I knew all about these events, but the full horror of them has only now become apparent -- Antonia Fraser A gripping account of the Jeremy Thorpe case. The details make one laugh out loud or gasp with amazement -- Charles Moore Spectator The whole affair is retold here compellingly and fluently, bringing to life the cast of characters with some verve The i Nothing comes close to the eyepopping outrageousness of the gay murder shenanigans that engulfed and almost destroyed a Liberal leader. Reads like a comic thriller -- Rachel Johnson
John Preston is a former Arts Editor of the Evening Standard and the Sunday Telegraph. For ten years he was the Sunday Telegraph's television critic and one of its chief feature writers. He is the author of a travel book and four novels. His most recent novel, The Dig, was published to great acclaim in 2007.