Blood on the Page

Blood on the Page In June 2006, Police Were Called To Number 9 Downshire Hill In Hampstead The Owner Of The House, Allan Chappelow, Was An Award Winning Photographer And Biographer, An Expert On George Bernard Shaw, And A Notorious Recluse, Who Had Not Been Seen For Several Weeks Someone Had Recently Accessed His Bank Accounts, And Attempted To Withdraw Large Amounts Of Money Inside The Darkened House, Officers Found Piles Of Rubbish, Trees Growing Through The Floor, And, In What Was Once The Living Room, The Body Of Chappelow, Battered To Death, Partially Burned And Buried Under Four Feet Of Paper.The Man Eventually Arrested On Suspicion Of His Murder Was A Chinese Dissident Named Wang Yam A Man Who Claimed To Be The Grandson Of One Of Mao S Closest Aides, And A Key Negotiator In The Tiananmen Square Protests His Trial Was The First In Modern British History To Be Held In Camera Closed, Carefully Controlled, Secret Wang Yam Was Found Guilty, But Has Always Protested His Innocence.Thomas Harding Has Spent The Past Two Years Investigating The Case, Interviewing Key Witnesses, Investigating Officers, Forensic Experts And The Journalists Who Broke The Story, And Has Unearthed Shocking And Revelatory New Material On The Killing, The Victim And The Supposed Perpetrator It Is A Crime That Has Been Described In The Press And By The Leading Detective As The Greatest Whodunnit Of Recent Years An Extraordinary Tale Of Isolation, Deception And Brutal Violence, Stretching From The Quiet Streets Of North London To The Palace Of Westminster And Beyond It Is An Explosive New Work Of Non Fiction From An Author Working At The Height Of His Powers Meticulous And Gripping A Thriller That Disturbs For Revelations About A Singular Act Of Murder, And The National Security State Which We Call Home Philippe Sands, Author Of East West Street An In Cold Blood For Our Time A Brilliant And Unflinching Anatomy Of A Murder That Is Both Brutal True Crime And Heartbreaking Human Tragedy Tony Parsons A Fine And Fascinating Read, Bolstered By Exemplary Research And Nuanced Insights Observer A Real Life Procedural Which Might Have Important Implications For Us All Guardian Reads Like A Thriller A Rigorous Investigation A Revealing Piece Of Social HistorySunday TimesDetailed, Painstaking And Fascinating Evening StandardA Groundbreaking Examination Of A Terrifying Murder And Its Aftermath By The Bestselling Author Of Hanns And Rudolf And The House By The Thomas Harding is an excellent author and I have enjoyed previous books by him, such as, Hanns and Rudolf, which looked at his own family history As such, I was pleased to have the chance to review his latest work, looking at a true murder case Now, I believe that Thomas Harding could probably make reading the phone directory interesting and he drew me in immediately, writing about eighty six year old, Allan Chappelow, being discovered dead in his house Allan Chappelow was a reclusive author, a hoarder and a man whose house was in such a state of disrepair that it took police officers days to locate his battered body even though they were standing in the very room where he was, eventually found.Harding teases out this story and makes the background of this mystery fascinating He reveals that, as a child, Chappelow was a near neighbour of his the rather odd, eccentric man he lived near for eighteen years of his life Of course, this immediately draws us into the book and, by far the most interesting part of this book, is the author recreating the life of story of Chappelow himself a rather tragic, lonely figure, who was fascinated by George Bernard Shaw and whose early promise descended into a rather shambolic existence Where this book
What a disappointment this book is Harding is an excellent investigative journalist but the problem here is that the trial with which he s concerned was held in secret and under a gagging order which forbids anyone to even speculate why that was so As Harding himself says, any partial alternative view is speculation A decade since the killing of Allan Chappelow, little is certain Given that the usual reason for this kind of order is the protection of national security, there must be far to the story than Harding can even speculate about since nothing in the current story has anything much to do with national politics, though there are intimations that the accused was an informant to the security services Harding does make some guesses about Chappelow s personal life but they re unsurprising, and don t really fit with the details of the murder Even that, though, is less full that I expected for example, there is talk of burns which don t seem to fit with the
2.5 stars The murder case at the centre of this book is only moderately interesting the state of the house and the circumstances in which Allan was found being the draw , and the rest of the book not nearly as interesting as it could have been There are too many unanswered questions due to Harding not being al
The murder of Allan Chapellow is arguably one of the strangest and most compelling cases in recent British legal history An elderly and reclusive man, Chappelow lived in a dilapidated house in Hampstead, on a street where properties sell for millions A writer, he had penned biographies of George Bernard Shaw, though he hadn t produced much in his later years Sadly, he was to meet a violent end, bludgeoned to death in his house, his body dripped in candle wax and buried under a heap of his own manuscripts The man convicted of the murder, Wang Yam, is a Chinese immigrant who claims to be a descendent of Ren Bishi, a leading member of the Chinese Communist Party at the time of Mao Indeed, the man Wang Yam claims is his grandfather was Mao s right hand man But what really sets this case apart, is that a section of the trial was heard in camera, behind closed doors, on the grounds of national security Not only is this the first murder trial in UK history to be held partly in secret on the grounds of national security, but a remarkable court order is in place that prevents the media, not just from reporting why this might be, but from speculating as to the reasons behind it.Harding s interest in the story stems from the fact that he grew up on the street and knew the victim as the odd character who lived a few doors from him An author and journalist, Harding has written for national newspapers and has published a number of
This should have been a fascinating look at the trial of a Chinese man for the brutal murder of an 86 year old man in Hamsptead in 2006, but for some reason, it just didn t quite grab me I liked the structure of the narrative, following chronologically and featuring relevant in depth looks at the background of the two men, Wang Yam and Allan Chapelow and I also liked the inclusion of the author s case notes in between the chapters Unfortunately, I think that the book suffers from the fact that much of the information brought up during the trial cannot be included or even speculated about, due to certain portions of the trial being conducted in secret As a result, the book doesn t really introduce any new theories or evidence and is therefore only a re telling of the process followed I suspect that the author was frustrated by his inability to dig further and perhaps he should have waited until the removal of the gag order before publishing Overall, this is a well res
An engaging and thought provoking true story of tragic murder June 2006 the body of millionaire author was found battered to death in his own home Allen Chappelow was a keen photographer and author yet in his later life he was an 86 year old recluse who spent most his time in his run down home in Hampstead London The murder trail was a massive case back in 2006 and so on how it was handle, the case was held in secret, former home secretary Jacqui Smith took the very unique view that she needed to intervene for the good of national security Wang Yam has always denied the charges against him and due to his use of the victim credit cards he was charged with the murder, there was very little in the case that revealed how or if at all the two men were connected, however evidence emerge that Wang was an MI6 informant I love how well this book was written and explored the lives behind the two men, using past records, letters the victim wrote to family and how
I loved Harding s previous book, The House by the Lake , an entertaining mixture of family history and a history of 20th century Germany, and I like true crime books so this book was a must read for me It is certainly an odd and compelling story Allan Chappelow, an elderly author, is found murdered in his dilapidated family home in wealthy Hampstead The police quickly home in on Wang Yam, a refugee from Mao s China, who was found to have used Chappelow s credit card and check book He is convicted and given a life sentence Thomas Harding is attracted to the case many years later, partly because it took place near where he grew up but also because it was one of the very few murder cases to be tried partly in camera A large section of the book details the fascinating, and very different, back stories of the two participants Despite Harding s meticulous research, he app
BLOOD ON THE PAGE is an excellent slice of modern day true crime, well written by Thomas Harding who never loses track of his narrative flow and focus as the story progresses The tale of a reclusive literary figure, found brutally murdered beneath a pile of his own papers, is frightening in itself and the early chapters in particular quite disturbing Then, halfway through, I found this book becoming a tragedy of sorts, as I made up my own mind as to the reality of the situation and just who the murderer was likely to be or not to be.Harding supplants the details with plenty of background material, both on the victim and the accused, but I found this adds to the story rather than detract
Harding investigates the murder and robbery of a reclusive writer in London in 2006 He was attracted to the case as it was in his locality and the trial of the accused was held partly in camera, the first murder trial in modern times to be done so This
still don t know who did it or why trial was held in camera in secret uuugggggg