In 1875 the beautiful widow Florence Ricardo married the handsome and successful young attorney Charles Bravo, hoping to escape the scandals of her past. But Bravo proved to be a brutal and conniving man, and the marriage was far from happy. Then one night he suddenly collapsed, and three days later died an agonizing death. His doctors immediately determined that he had been poisoned. The graphic and sensational details of the case would capture the public imagination of Victorian England as the investigation dominated the press for weeks, and the list of suspects grew to include Florence, her secret lover the eminent doctor James Gully, her longtime companion the housekeeper Mrs. Cox, and the recently dismissed stableman George Griffiths. But ultimately no murderer could be determined, and despite the efforts of numerous historians, criminologists, and other writers since (including Agatha Christie), the case has never been definitively solved. Now James Ruddick retells this gripping story of love, greed, brutality, and betrayal among the elite -- offering an intimate portrait of Victorian culture and of one woman's struggle to live in this repressive society, while unmasking the true murderer for the first time. Simultaneously a murder mystery, colorful social history, and modern-day detective tale, Death at the Priory is a thrilling read and a window into a fascinating time. "An impressively researched retelling ... Death at the Priory reads as a historical intervention, crime novel, and sensational docudrama." -- Zarena Aslami, Chicago Tribune "A suspenseful and stimulating read." -- Merle Rubin, Los Angeles Times "Enjoyable; Ruddick has done much admirable sleuthing." -- Paul Collins, The New York Times Book Review
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