The Doctor's Wife Is Dead: The True Story of a Peculiar Marriage, a Suspicious Death, and the Murder Trial that Shocked Ireland

The Doctor's Wife Is Dead: The True Story of a Peculiar Marriage, a Suspicious Death, and the Murder Trial that Shocked Ireland

Title:The Doctor's Wife Is Dead: The True Story of a Peculiar Marriage, a Suspicious Death, and the Murder Trial that Shocked Ireland
ISBN:9781844883929
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:272 pages

A mysterious death in respectable society: a brilliant historical true crime story

In 1849, a woman called Ellen Langley died in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary. She was the wife of a prosperous local doctor. So why was she buried in a pauper's coffin? Why had she been confined to the grim attic of the house she shared with her husband, and then exiled to a rented dwelling-room in an impoverished part of the famine-ravaged town? And why was her husband charged with murder?

Following every twist and turn of the inquest into Ellen Langley's death and the trial of her husband, The Doctor's Wife is Dead tells the story of an unhappy marriage, of a man's confidence that he could get away with abusing his wife, and of the brave efforts of a number of ordinary citizens to hold him to account. Andrew Tierney has produced a tour de force of narrative nonfiction that shines a light on the double standards of Victorian law and morality and illuminates the weave of money, sex, ambition and respectability that defined the possibilities and limitations of married life. It is a gripping portrait of a marriage, a society and a shocking legal drama.

'An astonishing book ... a vivid chronicle of the unspeakable cruelty perpetrated by a husband on his spouse at a time when, in law, a wife was a man's chattel' Damian Corless, Irish Independent

'Opens in gripping style and rarely falters ... fascinating and well researched' Mary Carr, Irish Mail on Sunday (5 stars)

'Truly illuminating ... Tierney's exploration of the case's influence on Irish and English lawmaking and literature is particularly intriguing, drawing comparisons with Kate Summerscale's similar work in The Suspicions of Mr Whicher' Jessica Traynor, Sunday Times

'Riveting ... meticulously researched and deftly told' Irish Examiner

'A nonfiction work with the pulse of a courtroom drama ... Tierney's book is a moving account of Ellen Langley's squalid last days, but it's also a study of Famine-era Irish society. Men dominate, be they grimly professional gents in tall hats and grey waistcoats or feckless scoundrels using women as chattel' Peter Murphy, Irish Times

'A dark tale of spousal abuse, illicit sex and uncertain justice, set against a backdrop of poverty and privilege, marital inequality and the deep religious divide between Catholics and Protestants. Tierney is an archaeologist, and his skill in unearthing the past is on display as he digs deep into the historical record of a murder case so shocking and controversial that it was debated in parliament. ... Tierney writes with passion ... and deftly weaves a plot that's filled with surprising twists and turns' History Ireland


    The Doctor's Wife Is Dead: The True Story of a Peculiar Marriage, a Suspicious Death, and the Murder Trial that Shocked Ireland Reviews

  • Katy

    Originally posted here.Okay. So this was quite the depressing read. It is a true crime non-fiction about the suspicious death of a doctor's wife in Nenagh, Ireland in 1849. The poor woman was placed i...

  • Thebooktrail

    Visit the settings in the novel: The Doctor's Wife is DeadWell this was interesting! A crime I’d never heard of and a location I’d never been to. Two for the price of one you might say – I found...

  • Amy

    Review to come! ...

  • Cleopatra  Pullen

    On 1 May 1849 Ellen Langley dies in Nengh, County Tipperary the local women gather and stone the house she was living in. Meanwhile Doctor Langley tried to go about the business of removing Ellen’s ...

  • Katie

    I did not enjoy reading this book. The story itself about a man who hates his wife and tries many times to divorce her or cause her death is interesting. However I found the way the story was told to ...

  • Bridget

    I had seen a synopsis of this book and wanted to read it, but I never thought it would turn out to be so timely. As I was reading this, the hearings were happening to determine whether or not Brett Ka...

  • Janet Emson

    1849 and Mrs Langley, the doctor’s wife, is dead. But why had she been made to live in the attic of her home and why had she previously been sent to live in a poor part of town? The Doctor’s Wife ...

  • Mairin Delaney

    This book would have been absolutely enthralling if I was from Nenagh, Co Tipperary, or its environs. I think I would have hung onto absolutely every word and place name etc. It's a very detailed book...

  • Natasha

    A bit rambling and difficult to read. The background of the story is limited and it felt very rushed. I would have liked a more structured approach, the background of the people involved and how thing...

  • Todayiamadaisy

    This is a workmanlike telling of an absolutely gobsmacking murder trial in Ireland in 1849. I finished this with a lot of questions unanswered....