The Second-Last Woman in England
Pier 9, $32.95 pb, 339 pp
There are a number of strands at play in this curiously titled novel set in postwar London in the Coronation year, 1953. The well-to-do Mrs Harriet Wallis, convicted of the murder of her husband, Cecil, becomes the second-last woman in England to be hanged. The last woman to be executed for murder in England was Ruth Ellis, about whom Mike Newell made the film Dance with a Stranger (1985), with Miranda Richardson as Ellis.