A Very English Scandal: Sex, Lies and a Murder Plot at the Heart of Establishment (Paperback)
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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.
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.
Named One of the 10 Best History Books This Fall by Signature Reads
Named One of the Irish Times Favorite Books of 2016
“Preston has written this page-turner like a political thriller, with urgent dialogue, well-staged scenes, escalating tension and plenty of cliffhangers.” —New York Times Book Review
“Written with tremendous energy and narrative flair.” —Wall Street Journal
“The most forensic, elegantly written and compelling account of one of the twentieth century’s great political scandals… An entertaining mix of tragedy and farce, involving people in high and low places.” —The Guardian