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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Bit Laboured But Interesting
I've read articles and books about Ruth Ellis before but this book lumps them all together and is up to the minute with updates, etc. I was staggered to learn that the book I have written by her sister is very "selected" to say the least. I know Muriel was elderly when it was written but she got a lot of the facts mixed up, it seems.
The author mention restoring...
Published 21 months ago by Lynda Kelly

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A perfect storm of sex kitten, raw talent and poor impulse control
I'm a Carol Ann Lee fan, but this book was less satisfying as a read than One of Your Own (which covered the life of Myra Hindley). The early chapters are excellent, as are those of Ruth's years as a hostess in London. However, the details of her relationship Blakely begin to get tedious with lots of drunken, nasty behaviour which becomes very repetitive. No doubt...
Published 11 months ago by M. Sweeney


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Bit Laboured But Interesting, 1 Nov 2012
By 
Lynda Kelly "Lynda" (Shipton Bellinger, UK) - See all my reviews
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I've read articles and books about Ruth Ellis before but this book lumps them all together and is up to the minute with updates, etc. I was staggered to learn that the book I have written by her sister is very "selected" to say the least. I know Muriel was elderly when it was written but she got a lot of the facts mixed up, it seems.
The author mention restoring David Blakely's character to him which I though was nice but felt she failed. He has always come across as an arrogant toff who treated women like crap and this book did nothing to dispel my views.
I didn't enjoy the fact that it's one of those books where you are having to refer to notes every paragraph or so. It makes for a very laboured and interrupted read.
Reading about Ruth and her hostess pals brought to mind the "rinsing" girls we read of nowadays. They were no different. Her pal Jacqueline was a real friend. She never gave up on Ruth and I hope she appreciated her.
I knew her son's story and it's heartbreaking how he lived and died. Sad too how Ruth covered up for Desmond. I thought it ironic he died partly due to a neck dislocation ! I always had precious little sympathy for him, I must say. At least Ruth always maintained she was guilty and was more than happy to accept her punishment.
The whole process regarding her execution was interesting and it describes the whole process inasmuch as it can be learned from people the author interviewed.I like what Prison Officer Galilee wrote-"Ruth Ellis was first class".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A perfect storm of sex kitten, raw talent and poor impulse control, 23 Sep 2013
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M. Sweeney (Bolton, UK) - See all my reviews
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I'm a Carol Ann Lee fan, but this book was less satisfying as a read than One of Your Own (which covered the life of Myra Hindley). The early chapters are excellent, as are those of Ruth's years as a hostess in London. However, the details of her relationship Blakely begin to get tedious with lots of drunken, nasty behaviour which becomes very repetitive. No doubt Blakely was dreadful to her, but I was surprised by how often Ellis's behaviour was often obsessive and out of control.

The title of this review was taken from a description of Amy Winehouse, trying to understand this couple's mad, erratic behaviour I thought of the late singer's relationship with her lover - the parallels are not exact of course, but both relationships were as a sad and destructive.

However, the book does successfully reveal a shabby underbelly of what passed for the London high life in the post war years.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for any historian of law and capital punishment, 1 Jan 2013
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I have already read all the other books in English on the Ruth Ellis case and enjoyed them, but I'd confidently rate this one as the best. It's in-depth from start to finish, with the author's insights and comments upon the society of those days also being so penetrating. Highly recommended!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another brilliantly researched book!, 15 Oct 2012
By 
H. Garner - See all my reviews
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Once again the author has been meticulous in her research of the subject of Ruth Ellis. I have to say I found it very difficult to be fully sympathetic towards Ruth despite her tragic end, she seemed equally as culpable for the volatile relationship she found herself in with David and she seemed to have very little concern for her son. Obviously I am judging this 60 years later and times and her options were certainly different then. It was fascinating to read about life as it was then awaiting execution and the effect it had on her family and everyone else involved in her case. As a fan of Diana Dors I can only say her role in Yield To The Night really does mirror this case and is worth a watch. Once again well done Carol Ann Lee, keep up the good work x
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Destructive relations, 11 Oct 2012
By 
Brinjal (Yorkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
This is a fascinating read that will stay with you for a very long time.

The description of Ruth's hanging was brilliant and so powerful and poignant it made me cry (which happens only very rarely when I read a book).

But the most compelling and almost suffocating bit of the book was the description of Ruth and David's relationship as it disintegrated into a damaging spiral of almost incessant drinking and David's violent battering of Ruth. It was almost like drowning with them as you read page after page of their being overwhelmed by the destructive nature of their relationship and you could taste and touch how inevitable it was that it would end in tragedy: there was simply no other way.

But Ruth taking a gun and shooting him was not the only possible scenario. The person of Desmond Cussen and the part he played in David's murder haunts the narrative and is never quite resolved. This is not a failure of the research for I truly believe that if Carol Ann Lee couldn't quite nail this, then no one can. I think it is because Desmond himself didn't understand what he was doing or why. His motivation for getting involved with Ruth in the first place was complex and the way he behaved in, around and even through the relationship between David and Ruth was conflicted (to say the least) and certainly very strange.

A compelling read full of insights about the human condition and a damning indictment of the way women like Ruth were seen and definitely NOT heard.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you only read one book on Ruth Ellis, pick this one, 18 Sep 2012
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I am a great admirer of Carol Ann Lee's previous books; she has an intelligent ability to tell the story of people caught up in criminal situations with balance, sympathy and respect. This book is no exception. It does Ruth Ellis huge credit. It takes no particular standpoint about the case, not does it try to prove one theory or another. It is a comprehensive account of all the events leading to Ruth's tragic execution. The author brings her own, nicely judged, empathy to Ruth's situation and that of her family, and paints the context of 1950s restrictions, prejudices and priorities to provide an informative backdrop as to how her story ended so tragically. The line between true crime and biography can be hard to draw, but in this case I would say that the author has managed to produce a respectable biography for a wider audience of a complicated woman who felt trapped by circumstances into doing what she did.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Book for a Sad Story, 11 Sep 2012
This book is a beautifully written and researched account of the life and death of Ruth Ellis. The chapter on the actual execution is one of the most moving and best arguments for getting rid of the death penalty. There have been other books such as Laurence Marks and Tony Van den Bergh's 'A Case for Diminished Responsability?' which have gone into well researched details on the case, this has used more information that has come to light since then which adds to our knowledge of what was one of the saddest cases of how a woman was executed, and is an inditement of the establishment and of the times when it occurred. There have been various allegations and unchecked stories that have been published which have tried to throw new lights on what was a cause celebre. Nowadays Ruth would not have been executed. Yes she did kill Blakely, sadly however much Monica Weller's badly researched and ghostwritten book - and however much and understandably Muriel Jacobait - Ruth's sister might like to put up stories of secret service manipulation and blame someone else for the murder, it was Ruth who fired the actual shots. The fact that someone else - Cussens - gave her the gun and pointed her in Blakely's direction is irreputable. The background to the murder if it had been fully known at the time should have led to her receiving a prison sentence and receiving the help she needed. Carol Ann Lee's book sets the case in the context of the time and portrays the end of an era of clubs, high and low society and the post trauma of war time in which Ruth lived.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Towser T, 13 July 2014
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This must be the definitive narrative of the "Ruth Ellis Story". It is painstaking in its detail and well written. I was five when Ruth was executed and years later wanted to know the facts;now that I have read them I am still unsettled! Fifteen years sentence with parole considerations ongoing after five years is my judgement. I am a proponent, still, of Capital Punishment but for crimes with unimpeachable, irrefutable evidence for monsters like "the Moors Murderers", Fred & Rose West, The Yorkshire Ripper and Irma Grese - The Beast of Belsen; not a "crime passionel" such as this one. There will never be closure of this case; the "fifties" are being revisited as an historic period and this story plays an important part of thinking at that time. Congratulations to Carol Ann Lee on this superlative work!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Balance redressed in this outstanding account, 5 April 2014
By 
Bookie (UK) - See all my reviews
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Carol Ann Lee wrote an outstanding account of Myra Hindley in One of our Own, so I was looking forward to this book. She investigates the life and times of Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in Britain in 1955. It's an authoritative and meticulously researched work. At times very moving, it brings the issues, times and those involved to life and I learned a great deal from the story.

The historical context, portrayed exceptionally well, is of particular importance. Post war Britain was still predominated by class. Mrs Ellis was her own worst enemy in many ways. From humble beginnings in Rhyl, she married 'above her station'. Her husband, George Ellis was much older and alcoholic, but a dentist by profession and Ruth gained a taste for good living. She became a night club hostess, a brassy, bottle blonde who enjoyed socialising and mixing with the well to do. And that was her downfall; as manageress of a London club which attracted wealthy motor racing enthusiasts, she fell for David Blakeley. He was a violent and abusive drunk, but from a privileged background. She murdered a man despite being a domestic violence victim herself.

And there's the rub; she was judged and condemned for her social status and appearance as much as the crime she committed. Her defence team was poor and missed numerous opportunity to present relevant evidence which would have influenced the outcome of the trial. In terms of so called justice, this case weighed heavily on the miscarriage scales. Ultimately it was a landmark case which contributed to the removal of the death penalty for murder in Britain.

The opening chapter was one of the most moving I've ever read. It starts with events immediately prior to her hanging, including dialogue exchanges with prison staff and Albert Pierrpoint, the executioner. Her dignity and self control was memorable and heartbreaking in equal measure. Carol Ann Lee has done her subject proud, put the record straight and written a truly evocative account.

This review is from an Audible version of the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, 10 Jan 2014
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I have found this an informative and compelling book to read A good insight into the woman and the crime but also the 50s era. Well written 10 out of 10
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