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The Scoundrel Harry Larkyns and his Pitiless Killing by the Photographer Eadweard Muybridge

Rebecca Gowers

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John Murray
10 November 2020
SHORTLISTED FOR THE HWA NON-FICTION CROWN Diamond thief, guerrilla fighter, spy, decorated hero, bohemian rogue and lover of several notorious women - all describe Major Harry Larkyns. Yet he has long been dismissed as merely a liar and a cheat, famous only for being shot dead in 1874 by the unnerving photographer Eadweard Muybridge. But has history properly understood either the killer or his victim? Part biography, part crime investigation, THE SCOUNDREL HARRY LARKYNS uncovers some extraordinary truths, and is historical detective work at its finest.

'One of the best books of the year' Irish Times 'Strange, brilliant, quirky and illuminating' Country Life 'A story that is as eventful as it is tragic' Guardian 'A masterpiece of historical detective work' Keith Lowe
By:   Rebecca Gowers
Imprint:   John Murray
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 196mm,  Width: 128mm,  Spine: 28mm
Weight:   283g
ISBN:   9781474606431
ISBN 10:   1474606431
Pages:   384
Publication Date:   10 November 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

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.

Reviews for The Scoundrel Harry Larkyns and his Pitiless Killing by the Photographer Eadweard Muybridge

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 *


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