Download Pretty Jane and the Viper of Kidbrooke Lane: A True Story of Victorian Law and Disorder Audiobook

Pretty Jane and the Viper of Kidbrooke Lane: A True Story of Victorian Law and Disorder Audiobook, by Paul Thomas Murphy Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Paul Thomas Murphy Narrator: Tim Gerard Reynolds Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2016 ISBN: 9781504692397
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A vivid and violent investigation into a shocking and unsolved 1871 murder in London, by the author of the New York Times Notable Book Shooting Victoria

On April 26th, 1871, a police constable walking one of London’s remotest beats stumbled upon a brutalized young woman kneeling on a muddy road—gashes were cloven into her skull, her left cheek was slashed open and smashed in, her right eye was destroyed, and above it a chunk of the temporal bone had been bashed out. The policeman gaped in horror as the woman held out her hand before collapsing into the mud, muttering “let me die” and slipping into a coma. Five days later, she died, her identity still unknown.

Within hours of her discovery on Kidbrooke Lane, scores of the officers of the Greenwich Division were involved in the investigation, and Scotland Yard had sent one of its top detectives, John Mulvany, to lead it. After five days of gathering evidence, the police discovered the girl’s identity: Jane Maria Clouson, a maid in the house of the renowned Pook family … and she was two months’ pregnant with Edmund Pook’s child when she died.

Murphy carefully reviews the evidence in the light of twenty-first-century forensic science in order to identify Jane’s killer as Edmund Walter Pook. Using a surprisingly abundant collection of primary sources, Murphy aims to re-create the drama of the case as it unfolded, with its many twists and turns, from the discovery of the body to the final crack of the gavel—and beyond.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Beautifully researched and lucidly written. An entertaining study.”

    Sunday Times (London)

  • “I would like to have been taught by Paul Thomas Murphy. He’s the most free-spirited of scholars.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “An impressive, exceptional, original, and deftly crafted read from beginning to end…[with] a gripping and compelling narrative. While Pretty Jane and the Viper of Kidbrooke Lane is very highly recommended for both community and academic library collections…[and] for personal reading lists of academia and non-specialist general readers with an interest in Victorian England’s darker history.”

    Midwest Book Review

  • “Murphy displays a novelist’s gifts in this fascinating true crime account of an obscure 1871 London murder…Murphy captures the drama of the flawed investigation and the legal proceedings that followed. His solution to the crime—based on current forensic science—is likely to be the last word on the case.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Narrator Tim Gerard Reynolds brings this true crime a storyteller’s gift for capturing and holding his audience…Reynolds makes this look at Victorian class and judicial systems top-notch listening.”


  • “This fascinating account of a Victorian murder, complemented by the added strength of a rich description of the period’s society and judicial system, should be a solid addition to academic and true crime collections.”

    Library Journal

  • “The author’s strong knowledge of Victorian culture helps him clearly describe the class conflict this case aroused…Even without a Sherlock, this highly readable story still shows the cleverness of the police and the frustrations of prosecutors.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A New York Times Pick of New True-Crime Titles 
  • A 2017 Edgar Allen Poe Award Nominee for Best Fact Crime

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About the Author

Paul Thomas Murphy studied a variety of disciplines at universities in the United States, Canada, and Britain—most recently studying modern history at Oxford University. From 1982 until 2010 he taught at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He now lives with his family in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and is working on a number of projects concerning Victorian history, literature, and culture.

About the Narrator

Tim Gerard Reynolds is an established audiobook narrator who has won several AudioFile Earphones Awards and was a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award for Best Fantasy Narration. He trained for the stage at the Samuel Beckett Center at Trinity College in Dublin and the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center in New London, Connecticut.