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HELP I need some new books - Recommendations?

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  • #76
    Thanks for that, Jeff.

    It does sound like an interesting case, but I'm not sure I want to read about cattle and horse mutilations. Reading about people being mutilated is fine by me though. Strange really.

    I know the Buck Ruxton case very well. A catalogue of errors. It's hardly surprising he got caught almost immediately.
    This is simply my opinion


    • #77
      Originally posted by Mayerling View Post
      Hi Louisa,

      The George Edalji Case (better known as the "Wyrlie Mystery" because of it's location in Britain, is about how a solicitor, George Edalji, was tried and convicted of mutilating cattle and horses in the English midlands over a period of two or three years in 1903. He was also disbarred as a result. He sent a letter from prison to Arthur Conan Doyle requesting aid, and Conan Doyle went to meet him. People frequently forget that before he was an author he was Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle, and that he had studied the eyes and ocular problems for a considerable time when deciding if he wanted to be a specialist. He met Edalji in prison, and realized looking at the man's eyes he could not be the mutilator. The mutilations had occurred at nighttime, in the open, and required 20-20 vision by the person who committed them. Edalji's eyes tipped Conan Doyle off that the man had night blindness.

      As you can tell by his name "Edalji" was not of native born Anglo-Saxon stock. Like the later British murderer Buck Ruxton, he was a Parsee (i.e., of Indian background). His father was a minister who had moved to England, and held his clerical position there (and was able to send George to schools as a result). Conan Doyle realized (when studying the trial evidence and documents) that local racial prejudice (particularly with the police) played a strong part in the prosecution of Edalji. The solicitor's family had also suffered one of the mutilations, and so the local police, given the prejudice, decided to concentrate on George as a suspect. So he was convicted as a result. But Conan Doyle discovered afterwards that the mutilations had continued after Edalji's arrest, conviction, and imprisonment.

      I won't spoil what Conan Doyle discovered, but he did get Edalji cleared in the end. His actions in the Edalji Case were to be one of two notorious cases in the first decade of the 20th Century (the other is the "Adolph Beck Case") of mistaken identity or prejudices, that led to a revamping of the criminal appeals system in Great Britain in 1907. A series about Conan Doyle and Edalji was on television from the BBC about three years ago. It was due to his involvement here that Doyle was drawn into the "Oscar Slater" Case of 1908, which (because Slater was a Jewish German) had elements of bigotry (albeit anti-Semitism) involved.

      By the way, there has been some suggestion that the central crime of the Edalji Case (the cattle and horse mutilations) were the basis for Peter Schaeffer's play "Equus" back in the 1970s, which also deals with horse mutilations - but that deals not so much with criminal prosecution but psychiatric problems).

      There was a TV movie about the Edalji case, here is a preview from You Tube.
      Regards, Jon S.