The Throttlepenny Murder

The Throttlepenny Murder

3.17 (23 ratings by Goodreads)
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It was during the 1880s in Northern England that Jessie Smith, just thirteen years old, came to work for Ezekiel Dobson, owner of a high-class grocer's shop in the market town of Lambton. Although his shop was a cave of treasures -- ruby-red hams, old-gold cheeses, emerald-green apples -- he was the most miserly man in Lambton. Even the townspeople called him "Throttlepenny" behind his back. Soon the old man's meanness of mind and spirit began to wear Jessie down. And after Ezekiel was found murdered, suspicion -- and the threat of hanging -- fell on her. Yes, it was true she hated him, but no more than many children hate adults who behave unpleasantly to them, and she had never really meant to harm him. But now Jessie must fight to save her life and, in so doing, solve the mystery of the Throttlepenny Murder. This is a gripping, whodunit novel that powerfully evokes the harsh realities of a working-class Victorian more

Product details

  • 12-17
  • Hardback | 205 pages
  • 142.24 x 215.9 x 22.86mm | 408.23g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0192716018
  • 9780192716019

About Roger J. Green

ROGER GREEN is the author of The Stone Quartet of novels that includes The Fear of Samuel Walton, The Lengthening Shadow, The Devil Finds Work, and They Watched Him Die. He lives in Sheffield, more

Review Text

An overlong Victorian melodrama in which a child is falsely accused of murder. Ezekiel Dobson, popularly known as "Throttlepenny" for his miserly ways, has incurred the open hatred of his 13-year-old assistant, Jessie Smith - so much so that when Dobson is found one night with his head bashed in, and Jessie is seen fleeing the scene with a bloody rock in her hand, police and townsfolk believe they have the culprit. In fact, though, several people witnessed or were involved in the crime - Jessie was just a bystander - and all go their separate ways with various degrees of guilt, remorse, and misapprehension. Meanwhile, Jessie is arrested, gaoled, tried, and sentenced to be hanged; then, inevitably, she's reprieved just when all hope seems lost. Like some Dickensian parodist, Green relentlessly packs his story with irony, satire, dismal foreboding (the signs presaging Dobson's death are drawn out enough to weary the most patient reader) and traditional British character types, from pompous officials to working-class gossips. Hysterical weeping, compulsive washing of hands, and other manifestations of madness are interspersed with heavy-handed images of doom, but the author tries too hard for atmosphere and provides too many clues to leave much suspense. Stick with Aiken's The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, or Leon Garfield's books. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

23 ratings
3.17 out of 5 stars
5 13% (3)
4 17% (4)
3 52% (12)
2 9% (2)
1 9% (2)
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