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  • Published: 19 June 2017
  • ISBN: 9780241973745
  • Imprint: Penguin General UK
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • RRP: $30.00

A Very English Scandal

Now a Major BBC Series Starring Hugh Grant




An unputdownable real-life political thriller set in the House of Commons

The bestselling book that inspired the Bafta-winning BBC drama, starring Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw

Corruption. Blackmail. Conspiracy to murder. A Very English Scandal has all the hallmarks of a classic thriller with one difference. It's all true.

In the late 1960s Jeremy Thorp, the charismatic leader of the Liberal Party, was at the height of his political career. But homosexuality had only just been legalized, and a former relationship with a younger man named Norman Scott threatened to destroy Thorp's carefully curated facade. Helped by fellow politicians, Thorpe schemed, deceived and embezzled until he saw only one way to silence his ex-lover for good.

Meticulously researched and endlessly extraordinary, Thorp's trial captured the moment that British society discovered the truth about its political class - and learned just how far the Establishment will go to protect its own.

'Gripping. A story of cack-handed assassins, buffoonish policemen, dodgy Home Secretaries' Daily Telegraph
'I loved it; eccentric, dark, humane and English in the very best sense' Alain de Botton

'Retold with masterful skill . . . It grips like a detective story' Daily Mail, Book of the Week

  • Published: 19 June 2017
  • ISBN: 9780241973745
  • Imprint: Penguin General UK
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • RRP: $30.00

About the author

John Preston

John Preston is the arts editor and television critic of the Sunday Telegraph. He is the author of a travel book, Touching the Moon and two novels, Ghosting and Ink. He lives in London.

Also by John Preston

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Praise for A Very English Scandal

A gripping account of the Jeremy Thorpe case. The details make one laugh out loud or gasp with amazement

Charles Moore, Spectator

A terrific book and brilliantly researched. John Preston writes wonderful dead-pan prose and reveals the depths of depravity, the absurd power of snobbery and the old boy networks of the time

Claire Tomalin

Fluent, readable ... a vivid tableau of the players in Thorpe's long, tragic downfall

Evening Standard

Gripping ... cack-handed assassins, buffoonish policemen, dodgy Home secretaries and sozzled judges. The conclusion of an Establishment cover-up is hard to avoid

Daily Telegraph

I loved it; eccentric, dark, humane and English in the very best sense. It's going to be a sure fire-hit

Alain de Botton

Retold with masterful skill... It grips like a detective story, as compelling as BBC2's Life of Duty and every bit as dirty in what it exposes about the upper echelons of society in the Sixties and Seventies

Daily Mail Book of the Week

The most forensic, elegantly written, compelling account of one of the 20th century's great political scandals... a real page-turner'

Observer

The shocking true story of the first British politician to stand trial for murder

Publisher's description

The unbelievable truth... Preston is a natural storyteller ... he provides the context for actions that seem unbelievable today

The Times

The whole affair is retold here compellingly and fluently, bringing to life the cast of characters with some verve

The i

This is a brilliant, sad, startling nonfiction novel about the Jeremy Thorpe murder-plot scandal. It is as funny and dark as anything by Evelyn Waugh or Jonathan Coe. And in these post Cyril Smith/Jimmy Saville days, it's so timely and relevant

Jon Ronson

Very funny and endlessly extraordinary... makes for amazing reading

Catherine Shoard, Guardian

Wonderfully readable ... John Preston is the ideal author, having researched for years many minor characters and talked to dozens of well-known political and literary friends and enemies of Thorpe

Standpoint

I spent a thrilling 48 hours reading it. The narrative is so vivid, the characterisation so brilliant... I thought I knew all about these events, but the full horror of them has only now become apparent

Antonia Fraser

Impeccably researched... full of shocks, surprises and laugh-out-loud moments. Preston revives a forgotten era and delves into the personalities behind the headlines.

Times Crime Club

Nothing comes close to the eyepopping outrageousness of the gay murder shenanigans that engulfed and almost destroyed a Liberal leader. Reads like a comic thriller

Rachel Johnson

This brilliant account made me feel I was hearing the tale for the first time ... Preston is an enthralling narrator

Mail on Sunday

A brilliant exploration of an extraordinary political scandal... deeply researched, fluently written, and darkly comic, it reads like a thriller

Ben Macintyre

A wonderful, wonderful read

Nick Robinson, BBC Today Programme

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