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The first half of this book nearly drove me crazy with irrelevant references to ancient cases and details of former Lords Lucan and their Ladies and futile attempts to identify characteristics common across the Lucan generations. Not only did I feel that this material was irrelevant, it jumped from time period to time period and back again – it might have been less irritating if it had been presented chronologically. I appreciate that the author chose to place the Lucan story within a class context and to compare outcomes for ‘upper class’ murderers and outcomes for those from the ‘lower orders’, but for me this was a bit of a stretch which added nothing to the story and was simply a ploy to differentiate it from other Lucan books.
In the second half the book becomes a ‘page-turner’, excelling as a comprehensive examination of the minutiae of the case, as well as a dissection of the various theories it has attracted over the years. Thompson rightly leaves open the question of the murderer’s identity because for every hypothesis there are facts which fit and others which (frustratingly) don’t. Given the association between addictive gambling and clinical depression, I was surprised that Thompson did not put more weight on Lucan’s gambling addiction and consequent huge debts as a possible motive for suicide/disappearing. It appears that the police investigation followed one line only, that Lucan had done it, and discounted or ignored any evidence which didn’t support that conclusion. In the end the reader is left to wonder how a man can disappear without trace, and to hope that incontrovertible evidence as to his fate will be found or someone who knows the truth will tell all.
Competent narration, as always, by Anna Bentinck (although I sometimes felt that her tone was more suited to a romance or a bedtime story than to examination of a hard-hitting murder.)
I first heard of the Lord Lucan story on the 20th anniversary of the murder of Sandra Rivett in 1994. This book gives a full and lengthy background to the case and could serve even as social history of the well off living in Belgravia and Mayfair in the early 70s. Piece by piece. Thompson pulls apart all the nonsense that has been said about Rivett's murder and Lucan's disappearance and instead puts a convincing, evidence based theory in its place
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to A Different Class of Murder the most enjoyable?
The very different perspective it had on the usual story of events.
What does Anna Bentinck bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?
The book is very well-read and the voice is easy to listen to.
Any additional comments?
A really enthralling book!
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?
It jumped around too much. There was so much irrelevant detail and unrelated cases. If it had been chronological or organised better I would have enjoyed it a lot more. It was like listening to someone's train of thought as they went off on flights of fancy and back and forth through time with not much to join things together.
Would you ever listen to anything by Laura Thompson again?
What aspect of Anna Bentinck’s performance might you have changed?
The audio performance was fine.
What character would you cut from A Different Class of Murder?
Most of the old cases. I wanted to know about this murder not spend hours going back and forth and flitting between other cases.