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MURDER AT ST. JAMES’S PALACE III

“Sellis’ torso was propped against the back of his bed, his head practically detached from his body. His sheets and nightshirt were bloodied. Precisely as you saw earlier, except he appeared to you standing upright while the footmen found the poor man on his bed. The guard sergeant immediately noticed that an open, bloodied razorblade…

MURDER AT ST. JAMES’S PALACE II

Born in 1771, Prince Ernest Augustus of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Cumberland, was 39 years old. The son of King George III and Queen Charlotte of England, he was, like all the princes of the reigning Hanoverian dynasty, blond, tall, burly, and red-faced. One-eyed, he sheltered his gaze under bushy eyebrows. His beloved,…

MURDER AT ST. JAMES’S PALACE I

It was thanks to Henry VIII that the monarchy settled at St. James’s, where it continues to reside, at least fictitiously, for to this day, the decrees of Queen Elizabeth II bear the words, “Given at our Court of St. James’s”. Over the centuries, Henry VIII’s palace has been reduced, half destroyed by fires, and…

ANNE AND SARAH

In the winter of 1711, France and Louis XIV felt absolutely crestfallen. Frost had annihilated the harvest; it was so cold that people were dying in the streets; the Spanish War of Succession had been dragging on for more than ten years; there was no more money, troops, resources, and no more hope. France’s enemies…

THE MURDEROUS PAINTER

Fifteen years ago, I visited the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin. I happened upon the section devoted to 19th century painting where there was a rather small painting, remarkably well painted, of a man who looked young and yet whose diabolical energy – horridness, cruelty, meanness – struck me so, that it overwhelmed me….

“THERE IS ROOM FOR ONE MORE”

I saw this story in a very old black and white film. I read it in a collection of stories published by Benson, and had read before that it in a collection of true tales, of which I cannot recall the author. It took place in England in between 1905 and 1910. A man is…

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LADY JANE DIGBY

One woman became the very picture of romanticism, in this time when so many men, so many women aspired to be romantic. She was not a queen, although she reigned on the desert. Jane Digby was born into English aristocracy. Her father was a lord who possessed a vast castle. She was raised like all…

THE MISSING ADVENTURER

Ever since my childhood, I have heard of Percy Fawcett. In spring 2017, a wildly promoted movie retracing his life came out on all screens. This English aristocrat from the beginning of the 20th century was, like many of his compatriots, irresistibly drawn to adventure and travelling. Amazonia was his magnet, with its immense and…

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THE DRUNK MINISTER

He was a Secretary of State for the Foreign Affairs in the United Kingdoms. He was one of the most brilliant ministers, one of the most skilled, one of the most efficient, one of the most reliable, but also, out of all the government, the one most prone to drinking. It was because of this…

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THE HANDSOME COUNT OF KÖNIGSMARCK

The one born under the name of Georges I King of England and his wife and first cousin Sophia Dorothea of Celle did not get along well. They had been forced into this arranged marriage and, since the first day they had met, it had been clear that this union was not to be a…