The Peculiar Case of the Electric Constable: A True Tale of Passion, Poison and Pursuit

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9781780742434: The Peculiar Case of the Electric Constable: A True Tale of Passion, Poison and Pursuit

Quaker John Tawell's trial became a sensation, involving poison and sexual scandal. It helped to secure the telegraph's fame — and usher in the modern communication age. A true tale of murder and scientific revolution, The Peculiar Case of the Electric Constable is historical crime writing at its best.

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About the Author:

Carol Baxter is a prize-winning author of popular histories with a criminal bent, including Captain Thunderbolt and His Lady, all of which have been published to critical acclaim in her native Australia. Before becoming a full-time writer, she was a project officer for the Australian Biographical and Genealogical Record, where she edited thousands of musters and other records of convicts sent to Australia to serve out their sentences — which has led her to discover the subjects for her books.

Review:

"Fans of Erik Larson's true-crime thrillers will be pleased by this gripping account...With a novelist's flair for drama, using details that were painstakingly extracted from the historical record, Australian popular historian Baxter recreates the life of suspect John Tawell. Baxter does a stellar job of integrating details about the nascent forensic science of the time, questions about the role of expert witnesses in jury trials, and the insatiable public hunger for salacious details about the case." Publishers Weekly

"Australian historian Carol Baxter melds true crime and science in the gripping The Peculiar Case of the Electric Constable . . . Baxter's accounts of the telegraph's technology, the prevailing cultural climate regarding murder and poisonings, contemporary forensic methods and Tawell's personal history are all worthy of an engrossing thriller. . . Expertly told...a captivating accomplishment in nonfiction" -Shelf Awareness

"In an echo of Magwitch, the convicted criminal who returned from Australia as a rich man in Great Expectations, so John Tawell, a Quaker and convicted forger transported to Sydney where he made a fortune as a retail pharmacist, returned to England where he was a social outcast . As lively and readable as a crime novel." The Times (London)

"Reading this account of a real-life crime in 1845 is an experience close to time travel. Through impressive research and unshowy prose, Baxter whisks us back to the start of the modern age Totally irresistible." Independent

"Baxter has pieced together a fascinating history, mystery and portrait of a complex contradictory man, whose crime sat uneasily alongside his religion and desire for respectability." Daily Mail

"The popularity of real-life Victorian murder cases continues unabated, [and] this has the added interest of new technology in the shape of the 'electric telegraph' system playing an actual part in the apprehending of a suspect." The Herald (Scotland)

"A masterful reconstruction of a forgotten story." - Sian Rees, bestselling author of The Floating Brothel and The Ship Thieves

"Carol Baxter's vivid account of a Victorian murder and its aftermath is meticulously researched and thoroughly engrossing. I recommend it to anyone interested in the murkier side of life in the nineteenth century." - Fiona Rule, author of The Worst Street in London

Praise for Carol Baxter:
An Irresistible Temptation is just that an irresistible mix of intrigue, scandal, crime, punishment tinged with romance and a dash of social history. What's more, this is not a work of fiction . . . Informative and entertaining.” Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society

A tale of theft, seduction, incarceration, escape, corruption and political intrigue The story is told in a punch, accessible style with a fine eye for the complex motivations, both political and personal, of the characters Compelling.” Sydney Morning Herald on An Irresistible Temptation

Baxter's book reads like a novel as she peels back layers of long unchallenged folk tales.” Newcastle Herald on Captain Thunderbolt and His Lady

A great read.” Marie Claire on Captain Thunderbolt and His Lady

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Book Description Oneworld. 1 Paperback(s), 2013. soft. Book Condition: New. A sincere Quaker if a sinning one, John Tawell had been convicted of forgery and transported to Sydney; he returned to England a wealthy man, having become Australia's first pharmacist, though he remained socially shunned. Then in 1845, on New Year's Day, he boarded a train at Slough—headed for Paddington in London—where the operator of the Great Western Railway's new telegraph received a curious message: "A murder has just been committed . and the suspected murderer . is in the garb of a kwaker." This true-crime thriller chronicles Tawell's trial—a sensation involving poison and sexual scandal—and how the use of the "electric constable" to curtail his escape helped establish the telegraph as a modern communication tool."Reading this account of a real-life crime in 1845 is an experience close to time travel. Through impressive research and unshowy prose, Baxter whisks us back to the start of the modern age."—Independent (London) 391. Bookseller Inventory # 43737

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Book Description Oneworld Publications, United Kingdom, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. John Tawell was a sincere Quaker but a sinning one. Convicted of forgery, he was transported to Sydney, where he opened Australia s first retail pharmacy and made a fortune. When he returned home to England after fifteen years, he thought he would be welcomed; instead he was shunned. Then on New Year s Day 1845 Tawell boarded the 7:42 pm train to London Paddington. Soon, men arrived chasing a suspected murderer - but the 7:42 had departed. The Great Western Railway was experimenting with a new-fangled device, the electric telegraph, so a message was sent: a KWAKER man was on the run. The trail became a sensation, involving no apparent weapon, much innuendo, and a pious man desperate to save his reputation - and would usher in the modern communication age. Told with narrative verve and rich in historical research, this is a delicious true tale of murder and scientific revolution in Victorian England. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9781780742434

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Book Description Oneworld Publications, United Kingdom, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. John Tawell was a sincere Quaker but a sinning one. Convicted of forgery, he was transported to Sydney, where he opened Australia s first retail pharmacy and made a fortune. When he returned home to England after fifteen years, he thought he would be welcomed; instead he was shunned. Then on New Year s Day 1845 Tawell boarded the 7:42 pm train to London Paddington. Soon, men arrived chasing a suspected murderer - but the 7:42 had departed. The Great Western Railway was experimenting with a new-fangled device, the electric telegraph, so a message was sent: a KWAKER man was on the run. The trail became a sensation, involving no apparent weapon, much innuendo, and a pious man desperate to save his reputation - and would usher in the modern communication age. Told with narrative verve and rich in historical research, this is a delicious true tale of murder and scientific revolution in Victorian England. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9781780742434

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Book Description Oneworld Publications, United Kingdom, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. John Tawell was a sincere Quaker but a sinning one. Convicted of forgery, he was transported to Sydney, where he opened Australia s first retail pharmacy and made a fortune. When he returned home to England after fifteen years, he thought he would be welcomed; instead he was shunned. Then on New Year s Day 1845 Tawell boarded the 7:42 pm train to London Paddington. Soon, men arrived chasing a suspected murderer - but the 7:42 had departed. The Great Western Railway was experimenting with a new-fangled device, the electric telegraph, so a message was sent: a KWAKER man was on the run. The trail became a sensation, involving no apparent weapon, much innuendo, and a pious man desperate to save his reputation - and would usher in the modern communication age. Told with narrative verve and rich in historical research, this is a delicious true tale of murder and scientific revolution in Victorian England. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9781780742434

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