Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Murder on the Home Front by Molly Lefebure

"Mortuaries, prying into the secrets of thousands, literally thousands, of bodies, each with a tale to tell. There are people who say corpses don't talk, but indeed they do."

This is not something which I would have typically considered for a summer-read but I was really glad to have picked it up because it was absolutely fascinating. The story follows a young journalist named Molly Lefebure who becomes secretary to Professor Keith Simpson, the Home Office Pathologist.

The chapters within the book are all different cases which means that all of the stories are relatively easy to comprehend and it is perfect for someone who wants to be able to read a little at a time. Also, the fact that it is arranged in this way allows Miss Lefebure to showcase a variety of cases, ranging from the bizarre to the thrilling. 

Something which was really nice about this book was also the addition of some pictures. Normally I am not a fan of pictures when I am reading but I found these particularly helpful because they related to certain cases, showing murder weapons and the murderers. The sweetest image enclosed had to be that of a signed picture of the public executioner which read "To Molly, Yours Sincerely Albert Pierrepoint" and helped to demonstrate the close relationships which were built and the acceptance that Miss Lefebure felt in a generally male industry.

Molly Lefebure - the author
The author, Molly Lefebure, had a lovely way of presenting the cases and it was evident that she was genuinely interested in her work which made the book so interesting. She worked for Professor Keith Simpson for just under 5 years and was affectionately known as 'Molly of the Morgue'; the relationships between Miss Lefebure and the police and the morgue workers really come to light through her writing and she sometimes even describes the characters of the policemen as much as the actual murder case! Through the novel I became quite fond of Miss Lefebure and admiring of her tenacity, especially when she was being told that it was unproper for a woman to work in a morgue, and as such I was particularly sad to read that she recently passed away at the age of 93.

This is a very different style of novel and something which I feel will appeal to many different people because of its quintessential Britishness and ability to convey the truth without too many frills and fancies. Recently some of these cases were turned into a tv drama in the UK; however I do not feel that the drama was anywhere near as good as the book therefore I would urge people who are looking for something a little different to read, to try this Lefebure book.

If you have read this or seen the tv drama then please let me know in the comments below what you thought :)


No comments:

Post a Comment