11 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Murder told at an ass's pace,
This review is from: Ten Rillington Place (Paperback)
This is a story of two men, Mr. Kennedy tells us at the outset, one who loses his wife and baby to murder, is falsely accused and put to death and the other, a
vicious, pathetic, seedy serial killer. The labyrinths of the story are thus: Mr. Evans, his wife and baby rent rooms in a doll-size house in Notting Hill. In this house, on
the ground floor are Mr. Christie and his wife. An elderly man also resides here but he is away. Before the bodies of Mrs. Evans and her baby are discovered in the
wash house, Mr. Evans turns himself into the police and, although illiterate and possessing the mentality of a 10 year old, confesses twice to the murders. Later he
retracts his confession and claims that Mr. Christie committed the murders and that he confessed only to protect Mr. Christie. He explains that Mr. Christie
convinced Mr. Evans and his wife that he was an abortionist, that (against his wishes) his wife agreed to undergo Mr. Christie's treatment. Mr. Evans claims to arrive
home to find his wife dead but his baby alive. After a couple of days, Mr. Christie tells Mr. Evans that he sent the baby to a couple in East Acton and advises him to
flee London. Mr. Evans is tried, found guilty and hanged to death. Several years later, six women's bodies, including that of Mrs. Christie, are discovered at 10
Rillington Place. It becomes obvious that Mr. Evans was telling the truth and was innocent of the murders of his wife and baby. He was wrongfully put to death. His
innocence has never been reinstated by the British court.
Mr. Kennedy makes it clear that the crimes are not the only issue here. The major issue is the miscarriage of justice and the further injustice that this mistake has
never been officially acknowledged by the British authorities. Poor Mr. Evans. Even more upsetting is the knowledge that his family has to live with this.
The account of the murders of Beryl Evans and baby Geraldine is "short and sweet like an ass's gallop," as my Irish friend James likes to say. There is too much
consideration for the feelings of the police and judge. Ultimately, the question of how these lawmen could have ignored certain evidence, and tampered with the
existing evidence, becomes paramount. In this book, the authorities, even more than Mr. Christie, become the guilty party. Mr. Kennedy does a respectable job of
finding excuses for them (as indeed they seem to have found for themselves) in the basic fact that Mr. Evans, a chronic liar and emotionally confused, confessed
twice to the crimes but the tampering of evidence makes lame any justification for this misjustice. It is maddening and incomprehensible and upstages Mr. Christie,
whose story is another book in itself, totally.
It is no small point that the inside cover of this book is a map of Notting Hill in the 1950s. The neighborhood where Mr. Christie, the Evans's, Mr. Evans's mother
and sisters lived, as well as where Christie's other victims frequented, seems to play a part in understanding the emotional pitch of these people and their lives,
presenting a banal but murky background to the horrors that took place.
This is an excellent true crime account. It fascinates and enrages the reader and serves to clear the name of an innocent man who could hardly have understood what
was happening to him. The fact that one wonders about the souls of these unfortunate people, victims, criminal and lawmen, is the greatest achievement of this book.
Tracked by 1 customer
Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 9 Feb 2011 11:19:58 GMT
JIMBO (Dublin,) says:
Very Good Review, Thanks
In reply to an earlier post on 10 May 2011 10:51:52 BDT
The review makes no mention of the many factual inaccuracies in this book, let alone the many assumptions made by the author. Let us take two. Kennedy states Christie stole a car from a priest in 1933. He did no such thing as the report on the theft makes clear - or see my online article. Kenendy states that one of Christie's siblings died in childhood. She was 30 on death in 1918, so hardly a child. One could go on. Kennedy is passionate, but facts are not his forte and so his case is undermined.
In reply to an earlier post on 19 Mar 2013 10:41:42 GMT
Last edited by the author on 19 Mar 2013 10:43:05 GMT
Charles Slovenski says:
My review is based on the book itself and my impressions of it. I am not a researcher on this crime. Thanks for your insights.
‹ Previous 1 Next ›