A Very English Scandal by John Preston

A Very English Scandal

In 1979, Jeremy Thorpe, the rising star of the Liberal Party, stood trial for conspiracy to murder. It was the first time that a leading British politician had stood trial on a murder charge. It was the first time that a murder plot had been hatched in the House of Commons. And it was the first time that a prominent public figure had been exposed as a philandering homosexual. With all the pace and drama of a thriller, A Very English Scandal is an...

Details A Very English Scandal

TitleA Very English Scandal
Release DateOct 11th, 2016
PublisherOther Press
GenreNonfiction, History, Crime, True Crime, Politics, Mystery, Biography

Reviews A Very English Scandal

  • Nigeyb
    If you were in any doubt about how the British establishment protects its own, then this book will dispel any lingering doubts. I had only hazy memories of “the Thorpe affair” from my teenage years. I had other things on my mind. The Thorpe affair of the 1970s was a British political and sex scandal that ended the career of Jeremy Thorpe, the leader of the Liberal Party and MP for North Devon. Calling this book 'A Very English Scandal' is par...
  • Trish
    John Preston writes from real-life events, in this case a very public murder trial involving a homosexual Member of Parliament, Jeremy Thorpe, and his liaisons during the 1960s and 70s. The case highlights the difficulties faced by closeted gays where anti-sodomy laws were still on the books, though in the summer of 1967, homosexuality was no longer outlawed between consenting adults at least 21 years of age. But passing a law is not the same as ...
  • Ammar
    What a cover up !Jeremy Thorpe , M.P, member of the privy council. Accused of conspiracy to murder.Norman Scott: victim, once lover of Jeremy Thorpe. Horse lover. Interesting drama Deceit Cover ups Money BlackmailingThe stiff upper lip cracking
  • Roman Clodia
    This would be unbelievable if it weren't a true story! I only had a vague idea of the Jeremy Thorpe affair and envy those who lived through it as a live news story. Preston has done a superb job of reconstructing the case which involves gay sex (at a time when it was officially illegal), blackmail, lies, fraud and an outrageous murder conspiracy, all taking place within the highest echelons of Parliament and the Liberal party. Preston allows the ...
  • Manchester Military History Society (MMHS)
    Serious, but entertaining insight into one UK establishment coverup of the 60s & 70sI remember this scandal having huge impact in the late 70s when I was a teenager. I had expected this book to be quite a dull resume of the trial and associated events, but from the start you are thrust (literally!) into the warts and all detail of the case. I found the book an entertaining read and some aspects are almost farce like. There are sections do go into...
  • Nancy Oakes
    The title of this book really doesn't do justice to what's inside -- not only is it about "sex, lies, and a murder plot," but more interesting to me is a look at the seamy, nasty, hypocritical, unethical and corrupt underbelly of British politics (and I'm sure what happened here in the 1960s and 1970s continues today and not just in Britain). Plus, reading very closely into what Mr. Preston has written here, there is also a brief examination into...
  • Susan
    I was only a child when the scandal involving the leader of the Liberal Party, Jeremy Thorpe, exploded so, although I was aware of it, I did not know the details. As English politics have always interested me, I was keen to read this and certainly found it an engrossing book. Events begin in 1965 when Liberal MP Peter Bessell was invited to dinner by Jeremy Thorpe – an MP since 1959 and a rising star in the Party. Thorpe confided that he wanted...
  • Stephen Goldenberg
    I'm old enough to remember the Jeremy Thorpe trial (I even have a reference to it in my novel The Lying Game). If you don't know or remember it then you can read this as an almost murder mystery. John Preston's research has been so extensive with so many detailed first hand accounts that he has been able to novelise the story. Personally, I like this approach although some may prefer a more academic historical approach. Certainly the cast of char...
  • Nadia
    What an eye opening and captivating read this was!John Preston's book provides an informative but also shocking insight into the behind the scene affairs of a high profile politician, the Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe in the 60s and 70s. The book has everything you would expect from a good thriller except that - this is a true story!Normally, I am not overly interested in politics, however, living in the UK for the past 10 years, I wanted to learn...
  • Rachel Hall
    The year of my birth, 1979, coincided with the former Leader of the Liberal Party and then still a sitting MP, Jeremy Thorpe, being charged with conspiracy to murder at the Old Bailey. Whilst doubts will inevitably remain about the strict accuracy and narrative license of John Preston in his forensic account of the origins and climax of the Thorpe Affair it undoubtedly makes for highly absorbing reading. Regardless of how much Preston’s own int...
  • Bettie☯
    Penguin Books (UK) VikingDescription: In 1979, Jeremy Thorpe, the rising star of the Liberal Party, stood trial for conspiracy to murder. It was the first time that a leading British politician had stood trial on a murder charge. It was the first time that a murder plot had been hatched in the House of Commons. And it was the first time that a prominent public figure had been exposed as a philandering homosexual. With all the pace and drama of a ...
  • Richard Moss
    You think politics is seamy now; just wait till you read this jaw-dropping account of the Jeremy Thorpe affair.Although this is nominally non-fiction, it does read like a combination of thriller and farce.At the heart is darkness though; an attempt on the life of a former lover by a political party leader.Also driving it is are the problems of being a politician in an era when sex between men was illegal, and being openly gay was career-ending.Bu...
  • Rob Twinem
    The story of a government MP who uses and abuses his position of power to not only funnel funds but also amazingly to arrange the murder of his on/off lover Norman Scott, makes for surreal reading. Jeremy Thorpe was a respected eloquent Liberal MP and under the guise of a suave persona he was frightened to reveal to his friends, and in particular his constituents, that he was homosexual. In the politically correct world we live today such a revel...
  • Angela
    I read this as part of a reading group I belong to and all of us enjoyed the book.This is quite a fascinating and almost unbelievable story of Jeremy Thorpe's rise to leader of the Liberal Party. It is told over a few years at the height of Thorpe's parliamentary career, through to his self inflicted, reckless demise.Told in the main from the perspective of Peter Bessell, this is an absolutely riveting story of the dangers of homosexuality by a m...
  • Jill Meyer
    "National Insurance is my lifeblood". This non sequitur was uttered by Norman Scott at a trial in England in 1979. The trial was that of four men for the conspiracy to murder a fifth man - Norman Scott. Scott escaped murder, but his dog was killed in the attempt. Of the four men on trial, one was Jeremy Thorpe, the retired head of Britain's Liberal Party. Norman Scott and Jeremy Thorpe had had an affair some years earlier and Thorpe had promised ...
  • Mary Ronan Drew
    Jeremy Thorpe was once the center of a scandalous murder for hire trial in England. At one time the head of the Liberal party and an apparently well-liked MP, Thorpe was tried for trying to hire somebody to kill off a loose-cannon of a guy who was at one time his homosexual lover. He and his would-be hit men talked of tossing his body down a Cornish tin mine, encasing his feet in cement and dropping him in the English Channel, and my favorite, ki...
  • Ann Tonks
    I loved this book. It was the classic page turner - just how bad would things get for Liberal politician Jeremy Thorpe - or rather how bad would be get. The research and writing style are excellent and the result is an informative but also deeply entertaining story of British 20th Century politics.
  • Mike Clarke
    Dog lovers’ party: an enjoyably sordid romp through the enjoyably sordid Jeremy Thorpe: now he, and the cast of seedy men in blazers and cravats are mostly dead, John Preston goes full tilt at a juicy bit of scandalare. Setting the scene is the portentous use of the term ‘homosexual’ in the manner of a Home Counties magistrate emphasising the first syllable (or my GP, elderly, straight and Scottish, giving me my first HIV test - “are you ...
  • Col
    Synopsis/blurb.......The shocking true story of the first British politician to stand trial for murderBehind oak-panelled doors in the House of Commons, men with cut-glass accents and gold signet rings are conspiring to murder. It's the late 1960s and homosexuality has only just been legalised, and Jeremy Thorpe, the leader of the Liberal party, has a secret he's desperate to hide. As long as Norman Scott, his beautiful, unstable lover is around,...
  • Gram
    NOTE - This review is based on a proof copy of "A Very English Scandal" (due for publication on May 5th 2016). which was kindly given to me by the publishers, Viking for the purpose of a review. My apologies for any spoilers, but it's difficult to review a highly publicised historical event without giving some of the plot away. The review is all my own work.___________________________________________________________In the 1960's and 1970's, Jerem...
  • F.R.
    It seems that you have to be of a certain age to know about The Jeremy Thorpe Affair. From talking to people younger than me – or even the same age – it appears to be a cultural memory of the 1970s which really hasn’t survived.That seems bizarre. You’d have thought that the leader of one of the main British political parties standing trial at the Old Bailey for paying a hitman to kill his secret gay lover is the kind of juicy bit of scand...
  • Nicki
    A friend of mine recommended this book to me last year, but I promptly forgot about it until it came up on the audible Daily Deal this week. I’m glad I listened to this on audio as I don’t think I would’ve got along with it in a different format. Daniel Weyman was the perfect narrator for this book as he didn’t sensationalise any it, and was also a brilliant mimic for various British politicians and celebrities of the time.I recognised th...
  • Elizabeth
    I am old enough to remember the scandal breaking and the court case. I was a young teenager and really not that interested in it, to be honest. But my parents were riveted by the story. This book fills in all the missing details I had never known.It was fascinating, well-written, gripping, shocking and horrifying in equal measures. You really couldn't make it up. What I came away with is a feeling of utter disgust at the cover ups and lies of the...
  • Damaskcat
    I can remember this case coming to court but I had a lot going on in my own life at the time and took very little interest in it. I was totally fascinated by this book and read it in just over twenty four hours. It held my attention as easily as any good crime novel. The story it tells shows people in the public eye were very definitely not what they appeared to be. I remember Jeremy Thorpe because he always appeared miserable to me and yet the p...
  • Sid Nuncius
    I thought this was a very good book. How scrupulously it sticks to known facts is perhaps questionable, but it's a fascinating and gripping read which lays bare genuine corruption in the political establishment in the 1960s and 70s, as well as being a stark picture of the arrogance and absurdity of many of those involved in the affair.John Preston gives a detailed account which makes sense of the tangled web which Jeremy Thorpe (MP, and then lead...
    It is said that American political scandals are usually about money, while British political scandals are usually about sex. In A VERY ENGLISH SCANDAL we have an excellent example of a scandal prompted by the latter. In fact, the small sums of money paid to the potential blackmailer eventually furnished a trail that tracks the corruption, but the real story lies in the fear of the head of the UK's Liberal political party of his own homosexuality,...
  • Tweedledum
    If, like me, you have vivid memories of the charismatic Thorpe campaigning for the Liberals in 1979 followed immediately by the high profile trial, after which, despite being found "not guilty" he disappeared from public view without a trace, this book will definitely blow your mind. I was 22 in 1979 and focused on wedding plans. The possible crimes of the former leader of the liberal party were at best a distraction and at worst an minor annoyan...
  • Lorna
    If you think you know the story of the infamous Jeremy Thorpe trial of the late 1970s, you probably don't know the half of it. John Preston's thoroughly researched and insightful history of this scandalous episode in late 20th century British politics is absolutely unputdownable. Alternately jaw-dropping and laugh out loud, this book takes the reader from the first meeting of Jeremy Thorpe and Norman Josiffe (Scott) through to the judge's summing...
  • Joanne Sheppard
    I started reading this just as election predicted to be a Tory landslide inexplicably resulted in a hung parliament, the latest in a long series of political shocks and surprises that frequently bordered on the farcical. However, if you think Westminster has never been madder than it currently is, you really need to read A Very English Scandal.I was vaguely aware of the Jeremy Thorpe case, but it's often described as Thorpe trying to arrange the ...
  • Justin Neville
    I was ten when the Jeremy Thorpe trial took place, so I have a vague awareness of it. I know that I didn't quite grasp what it was all about but I did know that it was a huge political scandal of the day.The reader doesn't actually get to the trial itself until we're maybe 85% in - and that is certainly the most gripping part of it and excellently told. This is no doubt helped by there being official records of the proceeds of the trial and vast ...