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A self-confessed forger, cheat, thief, and petty criminal, William Palmer was also a surgeon and a racehorse owner during the Victorian era who doped horses, fixed races, philandered unapologetically, and generally behaved as an all-around rogue. But the crime for which he was condemned was altogether more serious: poisoning numerous members of his family as well as a close friend. Based on the historic trial of a man characterized as a sociopath and a serial killer, Robert Graves tells the story from the defendant’s point of view, the story of a man who was deeply flawed but ultimately not beyond redemption.
Based on a historical trial held in 1856, Robert Graves’ novel is brimming with humor, emotion, and social commentary. Told through the eyes of both friends and enemies, Palmer comes to life as a not-unsympathetic antihero.