The Peculiar Case of the Electric Constable : A TrueTale of Passion, Poison & Pursuit
John Tawell was a sincere English Quaker but a sinning one. Convicted of forgery, he was transported to Sydney, where he opened Australia's first retail pharmacy and made a fortune. When he returned home after 15 years, he thought he would be welcomed, a reformed, rich entrepreneur; instead he was shunned.
Tawell was struggling financially and emotionally when on New Year's Day 1845 he boarded the 7.42pm train from Slough to Paddington. Soon, policemen rushed to the station looking for a suspected murderer - but the 7:42 had departed. The Great Western Railway was experimenting with a new-fangled instrument, the telegraph, so a message was relayed to London: a "KWAKER" man was on the run.
It became the sensational murder of the day, involving poisoning, religious scandal, sexual innuendo, and very little hard evidence. Tawell was infamous, and his trial helped to secure the telegraph's fame and adoption - a watershed event. Written by award-winning Australian author Carol Baxter with the panache of the bestselling The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, this is a delightfully irresistible true-life tale of murder and scientific revolution.
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