Rebecca Gowers is the author of The Swamp of Death, a narrative analysis of a striking 1890 murder case, shortlisted for the CWA non-fiction Gold Dagger award; and of two novels, When to Walk and The Twisted Heart, both longlisted for the Orange Prize. In 2014, she became the fourth editor of Plain Words, classic guide to the use of English by her great-grandfather, Sir Ernest Gowers; and she followed this with her own, anti-establishment guide to the misuse of English, Horrible Words. The Scoundrel Harry Larkyns takes her back to her fascination with nineteenth-century literature, history and crime, and is both a non-standard biography, and a radically new exploration of a seminal murder.
A fascinating piece of historical detective work . . . that brings the extraodinary Larkyns to life -- HWA Non-Fiction Crown Judges Gowers has taken the cold embers of Harry's life and rekindled them to create a portrait of a fascinating, contradictory figure * THE OLDIE * Enthralling writing . . . this is a book that stays with you -- Alex Von Tunzelmann Rebecca Gowers's gripping tale of a 19th century rogue is a masterpiece of historical detective work -- Keith Lowe Harry Larkyns's life at times reads like fiction . . . Full marks to Rebecca Gowers for bringing this contradictory and little-known figure properly under the lens -- Max Decharne * SPECTATOR * Strange, brilliant, quirky and illuminating, books such as this remind us, if we need reminding, that books matter. Nothing else can take you away, take you back, take you to places you've never known, to meet people you would never meet * COUNTRY LIFE * This is a cold case investigation into a true crime of passion with a family history twist that more than 140 years later finally puts the unlucky Larkyns' side of the story * FAMILY TREE MAGAZINE * There's much to enjoy in this painstakingly researched account of a forgotten and troubled ne'er-do-well; it's a story that is as eventful as it is tragic * GUARDIAN * Gripping, cinematic, tragic and tender, THE SCOUNDREL HARRY LARYNS is a belated contender for one of the best books of the year * IRISH TIMES *