Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Elsewhere in our familial blogosphere

My forthcoming book, The Most Remarkable Woman in England: Poison, Celebrity and the Trials of Beatrice Pace, makes some early public appearances. (It will be available in August.)

And, inspired by comments at another blog on poisoning and the inter-war period, I address a few matters of relevance.

Thank you for your attention.

2 comments:

Paula Wright said...

Just read the paper on OU John. What a story! Which parts do you expand in the book?

John Carter Wood said...

Hi Paula, nice to hear from you!

I suppose you mean the two papers (from 2009) I have at my Open University Open Research Online site. Those were earlier efforts of mine to write about the case (and actually had their beginnings, I believe, already in 2007). One deals with the press depiction of the main woman in the case, Beatrice Pace, as a victim, even while on trial for killing her husband and the complexities of that portrayal. The other article -- later published in the Journal of Social History examined the letters she received from her admirers, offering a rare glimpse of the public's response to press reporting in the past.

The book expands on more or less all aspects of the case: the police investigation, the coroner's inquest, the magistrates' hearing and the trial are all given the fullest treatment they've ever been given, and I tried to reconstruct the Pace marriage and trace the interactions of the key figures as much as possible.

Then, I have chapters that look a bit more thematically at the press coverage (the victimisation topic dealt with in the paper you read is only one aspect of this) and the connection of the case to debates in the 1920s about police powers and the criminal justice system.

The case was -- though this fact was later forgotten -- very much a part of late-1920s concerns about civil liberties (because of the allegations made about the way Beatrice had been handled by the police).

The case also led to critiques of the criminal justice system on the basis of the problems faced by poor defendants to properly afford a decent defence. (In this case, Pace's MP organised a legal defence fund that quickly filled up via public subscriptions.)

Then, there is a chapter on the letters from admirers, which is a re-written version of the JSH article noted above.

It is the first book written on the case, so I've tried to be as comprehensive as possible. I think it's not only a fascinating case itself (i.e., in terms of its own story) but I really do think it tells us a lot about the period. I only hope I've been able to bring that out clearly enough.

I hope things are going well with the Darwinian gender studies project of yours. Because of other research commitments, I've been focusing on other things, but I presume you saw my British Journal of Criminology article on related topics that came out early this year? If you don't have access, let me know and I'll send you a copy.

Thanks for getting in touch and I hope you liked the paper!