1897: An elderly widow, Anna Maria Druce, made a strange request of the London Ecclesiastical Court: it was for the exhumation of the grave of her late father-in-law, T. C. Druce.
Behind her application lay a sensational claim: that Druce had been none other than the eccentric and massively wealthy 5th duke of Portland, and that the now dead duke had faked the death of his alter ego. When opened, Anna Maria contended, Druce's coffin would be found to be empty.
The legal case that followed would last for ten years. Its eventual outcome revealed a dark underbelly of lies lurking beneath the genteel facade of late Victorian England.
"A lively account of the light shone on the lies, deceit and hypocrisy of Victorian society." (
"A brilliant forensic analysis of the intriguing Druce case, and wonderfully revealing of the many layers beneath Victorian respectability." (Mr Justice Haddon-, Cave, judge on Richard III case.)
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A teasingly, strange account.
- M. B. Radford