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3.9 out of 5 stars
Lord Lucan: My Story
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 14 September 2009
Cleverly skewing the legend of the infamous Lord Lucan, Coles sets the stage for a literary conceit that reinvents that terrible night in 1974 when a man of privilege lost his grip, botching his carefully planned murder, and where only his friends came to his rescue and offered him a chance of escape from the law. When we first meet Richard John Bingham known better as Lucky lord Lucan he has been married to Veronica for many years, but is experiencing an anxiety. Desperate to escape the strictures of his marriage, his plan is to murder his wife at their home in Belgravia is as desperate as it is audacious. Lucan is the first to admit that he's a most vile man for allowing it to happen yet Despite it all he has this skewered sense of belief that he is doing it for the good of his three children.

Of course everything goes wrong with the shocking murder of poor Sandra Rivett, who at the age of just 29 is hammered to death in the basement of Veronica's Belgravia home. The random brutality of the initial violence by Lucan's hired henchman who he never sees again, infects every facet of Lucan's being. And to be sure metaphorical house of cards has fallen far differently from how Lucan expected. After leaving his friend Susan Maxwell-Scott's house n Uckfield, Lucan's story becomes a blank canvas while he recounts his car, the Ford Corsair, found abandoned at Newhaven, the bloodstain inside, along with the piece of bandaged lead piping, unstained, but very similar to the one found in the murder house, and also his efforts to sink his beloved boat.

From here it is Coles' clever recreation of events - with typical traces of conceit and upper-class Etonian self-aggrandizement - that make Lucan's narrative so chilling. The author describes in a new, breathtaking reality the rumors that he had been whisked abroad by his fellow cronies at the Clermont Club, particularly his friendship with Apsers, a millionaire gambler and big-hitter who chats away with of if he'd done nothing of any consequence than be picked up from the station and who shelters him in the basement of his home, in a dark airless, windowless bunker for nearly four months. There's also Lucan's sense of self-righteousness in the moments straight after Sandra's murder and his apology to the doomed woman that is so outrageous when considering his brutally honest account of how he wanted to dump Veronica's dead body in the English Channel.

But what transforms the case from that of a squalid domestic murder into something altogether more electrifying is not so much the horror of Sandra's death is Coles' fascinating recreation of Lucan's disappearance, his journey to Goa, India via a cramped container with its fug of stale air in the storage hold of a cargo ship, and that of his arch nemesis Jimmy Goldsmith who dispatches him with all the indifference of "a schoolboy stamping a spider." Lucan becomes his plaything when Jimmy soon introduces him to hashish and then the very act of stepping into the abyss becomes a total blueprint for the creation of a heroin addict with all of the smoking and then the full-on mainlining.

Constantly speaking in Lucan's voice, Coles' prose is both uncharacteristically lyrical and morbidly penetrating as he cautiously examines Lucan's soulful regrets for Sandra, the awful sight of her tiny body tucked into a US mailbag, and his internal agonies as an outcast, never able to see his three children again, and his drug-fuelled ramblings where he goes in the run through India, convinced that Goldsmith is constantly out to get him. In fact, Lucan's weary acceptance of his fate, his life as a drug-addled tramp in Goa seems to cast him in an unusually sympathetic light. Coles constantly manipulates his protagonist, and by in turns the reader, in a cadaverous portrait of a murderer who must do battle with his demons as he looks for some sort of redemption that eludes him. Mike Leonard September 09.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 6 September 2009
Mr Coles has taken a brilliant starting premise- what happened to Lord Lucan- and run with it. Using with skill and discretion the considerable material out there about Lord Lucan he has crafted an utterly credible and deeply compelling account of the Lord's long layover. Full of great set pieces and a stunning portrayal of some real life celebrities connected to Lucan this is a hugely enjoyable read- and I read it in one sitting.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 1 June 2009
A gripping account, in the Earl of Lucan's own words, of what happened to `Lucky' Lucan after his famous disappearance in 1974. We find out who killed the nanny, how Lucan evaded the police, and how loyal friends spirited him out of the country. Coles creates a convincing voice for Lucan - so stiff upper lip that he can kiss his children only when they are asleep - and a colourful portrait of the Clermont set, notably the eccentric gambler and casino owner John Aspinall. The tragedy of Lucan's life unfolds as his memoir reveals his gradual physical and mental deterioration, haunted by guilt, remorse - and paranoia. A great read, highly recommended.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Having read this author's debut - a coming-of-age insight into Eton life, something as alien to me as the Sweden-set crime thrillers of Henning Mankell - I was interested to see he had 'edited' Lord Lucan's life story. What a journalistic coup, I naively thought. But actually, what a great conceit - the author's prologue, tongue firmly in cheek, tells us that a couple of years back he was invited to the offices of a London solicitor. There, he was given access to a loosely collected bundle of sheaves that proved to be a manuscript of Lucky's memoirs. He then 'edited' these rambling scribblings. What he has achieved is a thoroughly enjoyable - if fantastic - account of what happened to one of the great fugitives of the 20th-century crime. Lucan's heroin-addicted delusional obsession with Jimmy Goldsmith as the architect and puppet-master of his misfortune is inspired. From his flight to Belgravia (true), his being squirrelled away by John Aspinall (plausible) and his years of exile as a smackhead in Goa (complete fantasy, and none the worse for it), this is a compelling page-turner. I read it in one sitting. One of the highlights has to be the deluded, drug-crazed peer's flight to the hill forts of Mysore, retracing the steps of fellow-Etonian Wellington - and it is there that one of the more shocking and visceral passages occurs, like so many passages, fantastic, yet based on meticulous historical research. If Lucky is still 'lying doggo' out there somewhere, please, please - one of his friends, give him a copy. He will be spellbound, as I was. Well done.
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on 6 August 2013
This is Lord Lucan's story in his own words. Lucan has botched the murder of his estranged wife and his children's nanny, Sandra, has died instead. Lucan then goes on the run. With the help of powerful friends like Jimmy Goldsmith he flees abroad and lives out his days in a torment of drug addiction.

This is not the best written book you'll ever read and not the most sparkling prose, but it isn't meant to be. This is supposed to be the memoirs of a man who has been addicted to heroin for many years and he's not the sharpest tool in the kit. I think William Coles has done a great job in creating the voice of a classically educated but not very intelligent man, and long-term addict labouring under his self inflicted guilt. Coles's Lucan comes across as a very selfish man. Most of his regrets are for his own lost lifestyle and he rarely thinks of the hurt he has caused others by his actions.

The concept is clever and unusual. Lucan's 'editor' has supposedly stumbled across these, Lucan's manuscript reminiscences. Of course it's absurd. Why on Earth would Jimmy Goldsmith go to such trouble to exact revenge on Lucan when he could have just handed him in? And why would Lucan endure such a dreadful exile when fifteen years in a British jail would have been preferable? But it's meant to be absurd. What William Coles has created is, first and foremost, a satire on conspiracy theory. In that respect, it's very well done.
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on 1 January 2014
This is essentially a work of fiction that starts from a factual occurrence - being that of the whole Lord Lucan murder enigma, following the brutal demise of children's nanny.
This subject has spawned a whole plethora of theories and opinions which thus far have not really managed to shed any definitive proof on what really happened that night or what ever happened to the elusive Lucan thereafter.

So this is just another (fictional) "theory" and on that basis it works as it does make you question events, but leaves you with many more unanswered questions which just add to the intrigue and continues to this day to fuel the speculation and interest in this man and his real story.

I found the book to be both enjoyable and frustrating in equal measure.
The attention to detail and continuity of the story line vary wildly over the course of the book and unfortunately this takes away from its impact as it certainly has the potential to been a far better read if only the author took a more joined up approach.
I don't wish to spoil it for you but for me the ending in particular was a major let down and just left me wondering why finish it like this ??

All of this said I would recommend it but it could have been so much better - a lost opportunity.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 24 June 2009
William Coles has created a highly entertaining, plausible and fast-paced fiction based on the life of the infamous inveterate gambler, Lord Lucan. From the first we are drawn into the awfulness of Lucan's wasted life - his botched uxoricide and consequent murder of his children's nanny - through the mouthpiece of Lucan himself - writing as it were after his disappearance on a November night in 1974. Coles takes us into the mind of the wastrel and all round bad egg, Lucan, whilst simultaneously making the reader feel sorry for him in his plight post-1974: no mean feat for such a reptile. Fortunately the dead cannot sue for slander as two fellow rogues - James Goldsmith and John Aspinall are equally portrayed as villainous swine with an utter contempt for their fellow men. How true. It doesn't matter whether you know the story of Lucan or not as Coles takes you through all the grim details whilst never losing the genuine-sounding aristocratic tone of Lucan himself. This was a hugely enjoyable read which kept this reader entertained for the four hours of one sitting it took me to read - compelling stuff. My favourite line in the book refers not to Lucan but is, as it were, Lucan's view of his friend/nemesis Goldsmith's endless bed-hopping: "even the women that he's loved most in the world are eventually ground to dust under the wheels of his monstrous ego". Ouch!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 1 March 2012
I really enjoyed this novel, but was irritated by the number of editorial mistakes throughout the ebook version - when I complained to the publisher, I was afforded a flippant, dismissive response. I'm sorry, but if I'm paying the best part of £5 for an ebook, I expect it to have been proof-read before it goes on sale to the public. So, five stars for an entertaining read, no stars for an incompetent and arrogant Legend Press.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 July 2013
This was a really good book. I knew some of the back ground to this story but found it really enjoyable. It moves with an intelligence and wit and captures the self serving nature of such crimes and the justifications for them. I have re read this book a couple of times and like the pacing and word play involved within.
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on 1 January 2014
The first half of the book held my interest and was quite readable. The second half was just ridiculous, boring and an obvious pure flight of (rather unpleasant) imagination.
The edit (for kindle) is abysmal. Many, many phrases repeated. 'Have a try of 'Have a try of this,' he said. To make them all think that you've killed 'To make them all think that you've killed yourself'. 'It was all down 'It was all down to you!'. There were a lot of similar errors.
Also many, many cases of two words run together. Asight that is positively not to be missed. Apart of me, naturally wanted to embrace the man. Along trip ahead of us.
The third type of error was the overlooked typo. Surely all of us most take responsibility for our lives...
How could this all be missed in a proof read? All in all very disappointing indeed.
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