Lady Bette and the Murder of Mr Thynn

ebook / ISBN-13: 9780297870869

Price: £9.99

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The true story of a sensational marriage and murder in 17th-century London. For fans of WEDLOCK, THE SUSPICIONS OF MR WHICHER and GEORGIANA: DUCHESS OF DEVONSHIRE.

Lady Bette, the 14-year-old heiress to the vast Northumberland estates, becomes the victim of a plot by her grandmother, the Countess Howard, to marry her to the dissolute fortune-hunter Thomas Thynn, a man three times her age with an evil reputation. Revolted by her new husband, Lady Bette flees to Holland. Within weeks, Thynn is gunned down in the street by three hired assassins.

Who is behind the contract killing? Is it the Swedish Count Coningsmark, young and glamorous with blond hair down to his waist? Or is it a political assassination as the anti-Catholic press maintains? Thynn was, after all, a key player in the Protestant faction to exclude the Catholic James, Duke of York, as his brother Charles II’s successor.

Nigel Pickford creates a world of tension and insecurity, of constant plotting and counter-plotting and of rabid anti-Catholicism, where massive street demonstrations and public Papal burnings are weekly events. The action moves from the great landed estates of Syon and Petworth to the cheap taverns and brothels of London, and finally to Newgate and the gallows – the sporting spectacle of the day. In the process, the book gives us a vivid and deeply researched portrait of Restoration society.

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Money, power, ambition, political and royal conspiracy, a young heiress in distress, a fortune-hunter shot down in the street: you couldn't make it up. You don't have to. The story of 14-year-old Lady Bette Percy, married off by her grandmother to Thomas Thynn, a middled-aged rake, for control of her Northumberland estates, is the stuff of Gothic romance or Restoration blood and thunder drama.
Iain Finlayson, THE TIMES
Pickford has unearthed a fascinating early example of the modern murder.
..this meticulously researched story of a scandalous marriage and sensational murder is engrossingly told.
Pickford's narrative conjures up scenes straight from a Gainsborough melodrama - murder, mystique and wealth set to the backdrop of the sleazy world of London's taverns and brothels, to the grandeur of Syon and Petworth's vast estates. The prose is vivid and atmospheric, where a trip to the gallows was the height of entertainment. As they say, truth is stranger than fiction.
Pickford has marshalled an extraordinary historical cast and provides an exciting and truly well-informed whodunit.
Alexandra Henton, THE FIELD