Crippen : A Novel of Murder

3.84 (1,017 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 2 business days
When will my order arrive?


July 1910: The grisly remains of Cora Crippen, music hall singer and wife of Dr Hawley Crippen, are discovered in the cellar of 39 Hilldrop Crescent, Camden. But the Doctor and his mistress, Ethel Le Neve, have vanished, much to the frustration of Scotland Yard and the outrage of a horrified London.

Across the Channel in Antwerp, the SS Montrose sets sail on its two week voyage to Canada. Amongst its passengers are the overbearing Antonia Drake and her daughter Victoria, who is hell-bent on romance, the enigmatic Mathieu Zela and the modest Martha Hayes. Also on board are the unassuming Mr John Robinson and his seventeen-year-old son Edmund. But all is not as it seems...
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 512 pages
  • 128 x 198 x 38mm | 340.19g
  • Black Swan
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • port.
  • 0552777439
  • 9780552777438
  • 117,624

Flap copy

July 1910: A gruesome discovery has been made at 39 Hilldrop Crescent, Camden.
Chief Inspector Walter Dew of Scotland Yard did not expect the house to be empty. Nor did he expect to find a body in the cellar. Buried under the flagstones are the remains of Cora Crippen, former music-hall singer and wife of Dr. Hawley Crippen. No one would have thought the quiet, unassuming Dr. Crippen capable of murder, yet the doctor and his mistress have disappeared from London, and now a full-scale hunt for them has begun.
Across the Channel in Antwerp, the S.S. "Montrose "has just set off on its two-week voyage to North America. Slipping in among the first-class passengers is a Mr. John Robinson, accompanied by his teenage son, Edmund. The pair may be hoping for a quiet, private voyage, but in the close confines of a luxury ocean liner, anonymity is rare. And with others aboard looking for romance, or violence, or escape from their past in Europe, it will take more than just luck for the Robinsons to survive the voyage unnoticed.
An accomplished, intricately plotted novel, "Crippen "brilliantly reimagines the amazing escape attempt of one of history's most notorious killers and marks the outstanding American debut of one of Ireland's best young novelists.
show more

Review Text

show more

Review quote

"Engaging" * The Irish Times * "Compelling" * Philadelphia Inquirer * "Well-crafted narrative... plenty of thrills, chills, ironies and surprises" * Washington Post * "Addictive" * People Magazine *
show more

About John Boyne

John Boyne was born in Ireland in 1971. He is the author of eleven novels for adults, five for young readers and a collection of short stories. Perhaps best known for his 2006 multi-award-winning book The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, John's other novels, notably The Absolutist and A History of Loneliness, have been widely praised and are international bestsellers. Most recently, The Heart's Invisible Furies was a Richard & Judy Bookclub word-of-mouth bestseller.

His novels are published in over fifty languages.
show more

Rating details

1,017 ratings
3.84 out of 5 stars
5 24% (249)
4 45% (455)
3 23% (236)
2 6% (58)
1 2% (19)

Our customer reviews

Received from and reviewed for Transworld Books This is the fictionalised story of Dr. Hawley Crippen who, in 1910 killed his wife, dissected her body and hid the parts under the floor in his cellar. The book starts in July 1910 with passengers boarding the SS Montrose before she sets of for her passage from Antwerp to Canada. Two of the people boarding are Mr. John Robinson and his seventeen year old son Edmund who soon arouse suspicions in the cantankerous captain of the Montrose. Also on board are Antonia Drake, an overbearing snob and her flirtatious and spoiled daughter Victoria as well as Matthieu Zola who some readers may recognise from The Thief of Time, another wonderful book by John Boyne. The story then alternates between the back-story of Hawley Crippen's life and his voyage towards Canada. Crippen's history covers an unhappy childhood in America, a short marriage, his deep wish to become a doctor, his second marriage to Cora Crippen and their life in London. In London Hawley Crippen meets Ethel Le Neve who he grows very close to while his marriage to Cora moves from bad to worse. When Cora disappears friends of hers alert Scotland Yard who reluctantly investigate. By the time Inspector Dew starts to take Cora Crippen's disappearance seriously and makes his horrific discovery in the cellar, Hawley Crippen and Ethel have disappeared. It is only thanks to the observant captain of the Montrose and the recently installed telegraph machine that Dew manages to catch up with Crippen and bring him back to England and his ultimate fate. This was a fascinating book. Most people will have at least heard about Dr. Crippen and his actions, although I also think that many, like me, will only know the faint outlines of the sorry saga. While I knew, from the start, how this book was going to end, the story still gripped me and I found myself compulsively turning the pages to find out what would happen next. The fact that most of this story is fiction only makes the book more interesting. I like the theory about the murder, thrown up by the author, especially since I had not seen it coming at all. I also enjoyed being reunited with Matthieu Zola, a character I really enjoyed reading about in The Thief of Time. I'm tempted to find myself a non-fiction book about Dr. Crippen now. I'm curious how much of the story told in this book is fact and which parts, apart from the obvious ones, have sprung from John Boyne's impressive imagination. This book is well worth everyone of the 4.5 rating I would give it, if only I more
by Marleen Kennedy
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X