Most helpful critical review
An interesting read - but the style lets it down.
on 29 December 2014
The book gives an interesting, in-depth look at a murder case which was once as well-known as those of Jack the Ripper and Dr Crippen. It has faded from view to become a rather quaint Victorian relic, with a maiden lady of a certain age being lured from propriety by an engaging fraudster who kills her for her money. The book succeeds in making those involved in the case real people rather than characters in a melodrama. Dougal was a callous user of vulnerable women who may have already killed two wives. Camille Holland - his victim at Moat Farm - was a very frightened lady, trapped at an isolated location, who could not escape her situation. Dougal's true wife was happy to live on the proceeds of his crimes, and may have abetted them.
Where the book fails is in the lack of an index (already noted in these reviews) which is vital in a book ranging across 60 years and with a large cast of supporting characters. The author's style is also a problem as Oldridge/Ripper seems addicted to using obscure (or should that be 'recondite'?) language when plain prose would do. (Chthonic, anyone? It means domestic or homegrown). This comes across as very condescending to the reader and only my interest in the case itself kept me going to the end.