The Peculiar Case of the Electric Constable: A True Tale of Passion, Poison and Pursuit (2020)

The Peculiar Case of the Electric Constable: A True Tale of Passion, Poison and Pursuit Carol Baxter The Peculiar Case of the Electric Constable A True Tale of Passion Poison and Pursuit 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 Eng
  • Title: The Peculiar Case of the Electric Constable: A True Tale of Passion, Poison and Pursuit
  • Author: Carol Baxter
  • ISBN: 9781780742434
  • Page: 414
  • Format: Paperback
The Peculiar Case of the Electric Constable: A True Tale of Passion, Poison and Pursuit Carol Baxter 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, meJohn 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.
The Peculiar Case of the Electric Constable: A True Tale of Passion, Poison and Pursuit Carol Baxter

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

  1. Melki

    WellI DID ask for this I entered the giveaway, and I won.BUTBoth the title of the book AND the contest s description led me to expect something different Fans of Erik Larson s true crime thrillers will be pleased by this gripping account that presents a tipping point in the public acceptance of the telegraph its use in 1845 to alert the authorities in London that a murder suspect had boarded a train headed there See I was expecting a Connections type book about how the telegraph and perhaps othe [...]

  2. El

    This review is of a book won from First Reads Giveaway program.In 1845, a woman was found dead and the suspect, a man dressed as a Quaker, was on the run Unluckily for the suspect, the electric telegraph was being used experimentally by the Great Western Railway It was due to the communication between stations that the suspect was apprehended.The Quaker in question was John Tawell, and this book is about his apprehension, the trial of the century, his motive, his method, and view spoiler his gru [...]

  3. Jane

    On New Year s Day 1845 a message was sent along the telegraph wires laid beside the railway tracks between Slough and Paddington stations A murder has just been committed at Salt Hill and the suspected murderer was seen to take a first class ticket for London by the train which left Slough at 7 42 p.m He is in the garb of a kwaker The early two needle telegraph had no letter q A man was apprehended a man with an extraordinary story.John Tawell had been found guilty of fraud, he was transported t [...]

  4. Brian Clegg

    I was interested to read this book as I had referred to the use of the telegraph to send information on an alleged murderer ahead of his rail journey from Slough to London in one of my books, but had only known about this aspect of the case, where Carol Baxter concentrates mostly on the details of the legal case and subsequent execution.It s a book that is worth reading, but doesn t quite do what it sets out to achieve It s rather too long for the slight history it covers, and the trouble with a [...]

  5. Penny

    2.5 John Tawell was a sincere Quaker but a sinning one he was indeed He seemed to have no difficulty in reconciling his Quaker views with also being a criminal transported to Sydney at one point , a fornicator and possibly even a murdererThe Quaker outfit implied religious piety and was distinctive in Early Victorian England This plus his very ordinariness made people make snap judgements that he couldn t possibly be a bad man In fact Tawell says himself when arrested My station in society place [...]

  6. Tomi

    Had it not been for the murder of a simple young woman in 19th Century England, we might not have the Internet today is how I would have started a lecture on improvements in communications technology in my AP Modern European History class a few years ago This book would have been invaluable in preparing such a lesson It is a fascinating study nonfiction that reads like a novel of the beginning of the electric constable telegraph and of early forensics and the use of science in proving whether or [...]

  7. Kathryn Price

    A very intriguing yet little known historical tale of the first successful use of the telegraph I had a tough time getting into and staying with the storye writing felt a bit clunky and droning at times But this book is chalk full of interesting information from this thrilling murder mystery in history that I had never heard, and it was quite fascinating to learn

  8. Sarah Beth

    I received a copy of this book as a giveaway on The Peculiar Case of the Electric Constable is the true description of a Victorian murder case John Tawell, a seemingly devout Quaker, stands accused of having murdered a young mother by poisoning her This was the first case in which the electric telegraph was used in apprehending the suspect, and one of the earliest in which new scientific procedures were used to determine the presence of poison in the deceased Over the course of the book, it is r [...]

  9. Louise Wilson

    Carol Baxter s latest book The Peculiar Case of the Electric Constable is a genuinely interesting read.Carol is highly regarded in Australia as a genealogical researcher Some years ago she befriended me at the state archival offices in Sydney and encouraged me to become a self published author of family histories, following in her own footsteps Since then, Carol s writing horizons have continued to expand and she has achieved commercial success in a field she describes as narrative non fiction, [...]

  10. Lynn

    Today s nonfiction post is on The Peculiar case of the Electric Constable A True Tale of Passion, Poison Pursuit by Carol Baxter It is 391 pages long including notes and an index The cover is like a old time newspaper cover with a train in the center There is no language, no sex, and no violence in this book The story is told from newspaper articles, dairies, and other historical documents The intended reader is someone who is interested in true crime, whodunit s, and history There Be Spoilers A [...]

  11. Karen

    When you don t read blurbs, or avoid coverage of a book that you know you re going to read eventually, some things can come as a considerable surprise Things like THE PECULIAR CASE OF THE ELECTRIC CONSTABLE being a true story The starting premise of the book is the speedy identification and capture of an alleged murderer by an early electric telegraph If you think, however, that this is the whole point of the story, then you are going to be disappointed Whilst there is background to the sceptici [...]

  12. My Book Addiction and More MBA

    THE PECULIAR CASE OF THE ELECTRIC CONSTABLE A True Tale of Passion,Poison Pursuit by CAROL BAXTER is a gripping tale of Victorian England A Historical True Crime Thriller set in 1845 England What a gripping tale of passion,murder,poison,a Criminal Quaker,and the dawn of a new age of information The story of John Tawell John, a Quaker,a possible murderer,who was transported to Australia for forgery some fifteen years prior to this story,he has returned to England to be shunned and not welcomed as [...]

  13. Jennifer

    I won a copy of this book from FirstReads Through a shipping mixup it took a really long time to get to me and I was excited when I finally got it because I LOVE the cover and the title and it s a fun feeling book to hold in your hands Unfortunately as other reviewers have also mentioned, the title and the blurb on the back are pretty misleading The part about he telegraph takes a couple of chapters at the beginning and then comes full circle in the epilogue, but the in between is the minute det [...]

  14. Christina Dudley

    From the title I expected a history of technology book the telegraph examined through the lens of its effect on a particular murder case but this book is like Victorian true crime.Super interesting and well written A young mother of two is found dying, while an older man in Quaker garb makes his exit What happened here The rest of the book examines the case and backstory in great detail, touching on the life of transported convicts in Australia and the beginnings of medical forensics along the [...]

  15. Alison C

    The Peculiar Case of the Electric Constable A True Tale of Passion, Poison and Pursuit, by Carol Baxter, is a non fiction account of a murder that occurred in Slough, England, on January 1, 1845 A man dressed as a Quaker was seen and heard in the vicinity, but he fled and boarded a train to London however, use of the newly installed telegraph wires in Slough and at Paddington Station in London resulted in the man being traced, followed and subsequently arrested What followed was one of the sens [...]

  16. Fran Severn

    An interesting bit of history A true tale of murder and science in Victorian England John Tawell was apparently a sincere Quaker but with a bit of a less than sacred personality Convicted of forgery, he was transported to Australia, where he opened the first retail pharmacy and made a fortune But when he returned to England, expecting to be welcomed by his co religionists, he was shunned Too flamboyant, too egotistical, too generous, he struggled to make a successful life Meanwhile, the Great We [...]

  17. Kyrie

    The title and the book don t mesh Yes, it is about how a telegraph helped capture a criminal, but like a lot of othes have commented, the story isn t really about the telegraph By the time the telegraph came up again in the end, I d pretty much forgotten about it The whole story was like that lots of little rabbit trails that were interesting, but wandered from the main story I know a iittle now about Quakers, transport of prisoners to Australia, prussic acid, foreensic testing in its early hist [...]

  18. Stephanie

    Dragged in some places, but was very interesting in others I think I expected about the telegraph since that s what s referred to in the title, after all , but really its role was extremely brief I don t know why that annoyed me, but there you have it The information about how murder trials were conducted in England in the mid nineteenth century was what really interested me, along with the use of the nascent technology of forensic toxicology And I will say that guilty or not, Mr Tawell receive [...]

  19. Sarah

    Great page turner I hadn t read anything about this book, and I suspect that s why so few people have rated it I saw it at the library and picked it up the second time I saw it there I m not overly fond of the title or cover and although this murder case did bring the telegraph to the attention of the public, very little of the book is about the telegraph, which is fine with me If you like true crimes of the nineteenth century, then I think you would like this well written book.

  20. Ashley

    I won this book on , and I m glad I did It s a true historical murder novel, about a Quaker who is arrested and tried for murder What I liked the most was that occasionally I would forget I was reading a history book and would think I was deeply immersed in a fiction novel This was a very good novel

  21. Paul

    Okay, I read this book because I liked the name and cover It turned out to be an interesting story, and I love that she created it from letters, newpaper articles, files nice insight into the way trials used to run, and how much has changed and how much has not.

  22. Deanne

    Interesting case but the book felt about 100 pages longer than it could have been Mainly due to a great proportion of the story being dedicated to the prime character s life, from his youth to the trial.

  23. Jane Walker

    It s a good read about a 19th century murder I hadn t come across before It s told in meticulous detail Two small things mar it for me Farewell is not a transitive verb, Ms Baxter And the confident psychoanalysis of the murderer at the end is out of place.

  24. Vicki Edwards

    One of the most interesting books I ve read in a long time even righting some mistaken believes regarding who created the first commercial telegraph.

  25. Mandy Setterfield

    Yet another real life Victorian murder Strangely enjoyable, perhaps a little long winded in parts I loved how the author held back the did he didn t he til the very end.

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