The Devil’s Work by Garry Linnell is a true-crime story. The book is a very interesting read, well researched and told in a way that engages you to want to know the outcome.
Included are some wonderful photos of the key characters.
This is part of Australia’s history that I was not aware of.
It is the story of Frederick Deeming, born in England, and lived for some years in Australia. He travelled the world extensively during his life. He was known by many aliases. He was a murderer, a con man, a bigamist, a thief and a liar. He had a fascination for women.
In Australia, in 1892 a woman’s body was found buried under a hearthstone in a bedroom of a rented house in Melbourne. The house had been left vacant by the tenant. While showing a new tenant through the house, the landlord noticed a horrible smell coming from the room. The floor had recently been cemented.
The police are able to identify the woman as Emily Williams. She had arrived in Melbourne with her husband, Albert Williams. They had sailed on the Kaiser Wilhelm from England. The other passengers were keen to help in the investigation, as they had found Mr Williams quite obnoxious.
Enquiries found that he was still married to his first wife, Marie Deeming. Marie’s whereabouts and that of his children was unknown. An English journalist investigates, and noticing the house Frederick Deeming had rented in England also had a new cement floor, he is able to get the police to dig up the floor. Tragically the bodies of Marie and their 4 children were found.
Frederick is traced to a mine in Western Australia where he is arrested.
The whole world is shocked by these murders.
Speculation arises about crimes in other countries that he has visited. Is he responsible for their unsolved murders?
Could he even be Jack The Ripper?
When confronted about the murders, Frederick claims that the ghost of his dead mother had told him to commit them. This fascinates Sidney Dickson and his wife Marion. Sidney is a New York Times Correspondent, in Australia to lecture on Art. They are both supporters of spiritualism, believing in afterlife that allows the living and the dead to communicate.
It is extremely interesting to read of the Victorian Era fascination with ghosts, spiritualism and science.
Also that the conclusions of Italian scientists linking physical characteristics to criminality had become an established “fact”.
There is so much more to Frederick’s life than the murders! So many attempts to marry unsuspecting women!
The trial in Melbourne is followed by newspapers all around the world and 450 people pack into the courtroom to witness it. Briefly, the world’s attention is on Australia….what will be the outcome of the trial?
An excellent read.
Author: Garry Linnell
Copy courtesy of Penguin
A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading The Devil’s Work by Garry Linnell. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.
I love to read, any book on any topic. I now love ebooks as they are easier to store, I was running out of bookshelves! My other interests are family, gardening and our beautiful King Charles spaniel dog who is my reading companion.