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« Genre News | Main | Crippen Again: Why our Faith in the Verdict Remains Unshaken »


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Faye Musselman

Yes, I was startled by this news yesterday as well. I have not seen mention of old the remains were to tie into the time Crippen lived at the house. Speculation that she may have been victim of an abortion gone wrong still seems far fetched with the gratuitious dismembering. The secondary mystery, of course, is whatever happened with his wife....if she did sneak off to America with a lover she did an amazing job of hiding her identity all those years. Well, another mystery within a mystery and don't we just love those? ;)


Sorry, but I don't believe it. Remember Belle's Hinde hair curlers in the grave,which Belle was known to use, and Crippen's pyjama set wrapping the remains, which were dated no later than 1905? Remember Belle's love for jewellery, and the fact that she was supposed to have left it behind and little Miss Leneve went round wearing it, which first set off Bell's friends' suspicions? I'd love Crippen to be innocent, but Belle's behaviour was the type that would drive any man to murder!

Faye Musselman

BTW, how fortuitous for Eric Larsen that this news comes out the same month his new "parallel" book, Thunderstruck, debuts. Sales will skyrocket surely.

The Crippen case was Alfred Hitchcock's favorite crime story, so he said. He used it "variation on a theme" if you will - in many of his films (Rear Window, Dial M for Murder, for example) and even one of his TV episodes.

Lisa our British friends would say, I'm gobsmacked!

The Crippen case has never particularly interested me, but I have always been puzzled about these remains. If Crippen could hide the majority of Belle's body so well that it was never found, why bury this relatively small part in the house? And why include the hair curlers and the pyjamas? Crippen may have been an odd duck, but he was no fool, so that whole business never made any sense to me whatsover.

As for the possibility that Belle chose to "disappear"...well, remember, she WAS an actress (albeit a third-rate one.) She probably hated poor old Harvey enough to just take off for greener pastures in such a way that suspicion would hopefully fall upon him and his mistress. In fact, if I were to write a novel about the case, I'd probably have La Elmore herself planting in the cellar this body part (taken from a medical college, perhaps?) along with items of easy identification such as the curlers, and then have her quietly sit back and watch her ultimate revenge scheme unfold.

Or have I just watched too many "Poirot" episodes?

Faye Musselman

Yea, that taking the head and limbs and leaving the torso makes less sense than leaving the head and hands and taking the rest to dispose of elsewhere.

Meanwhile we'll have to await further sleuthing to discover where LeBelle went. Probably the same place your socks in the dryer go or Lizzie's hatchet.


The part that puzzles me about this theory is the suggestion that Cora really had gone to America and was living quietly there. The former Kunigunde Mackamotzki was the biggest loud-mouth exhibitionist on the face of the planet. It's hard to believe that she wouldn't have eventually let someone know she really wasn't dead ... the woman probably would have created an entire gaudy music-hall turn out of it, once Crippen was hanged.


You guys have me in stitches!!

I agree with Foose. What actress could have resisted the temptation to take the world stage on the eve of her husband's execution - no matter how bad the marriage?

There must be some simple answer to this.... I want to know more about the chain of custody of these body parts on which the tests were based. Maybe Monsieur Trestrail will write an article or book....


Just to play along with the "Belle staged her own murder," what-if for one more moment...

I agree, she certainly would have been tempted to stage the Mother of All Publicity Stunts and "reveal" herself to the world, but it seems to me that if she had done so, she would probably have gotten herself into some kind of trouble, wouldn't she? I'm no lawyer, but it just seems to me that she may have felt that, once Crippen was actually executed (she may have thought it would never actually come to the gallows,) revealing her little hoax could make her infamous at best, and facing some sort of criminal charges at worst.

As Edgar Allan Poe once wrote, "I must not only punish, but punish with impunity. A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser."

Faye Musselman

To have not been a victim at all and stood by silent and unseen during the trial and Harvey's ultimate execution would not exactly engender her to a theatrical audience. Methinks her visage would have been target for fast flying tomatoes. I think I'd like to know the bona fides of those relatives/descendents from whom dna extraction was used to subsequently trumpet this extraordinary piece of news. And wasn't he convicted on killing a 'person" and not specifically his named wife? Which leads one to ask: So WHO was it in the basement?

Faye Musselman

I notice that the "posted by" feature appears to be off kilter. :)


I wonder if Belle was "the cuckoo in the nest"? She's was the much younger of the the Mackamotzkis, and I wonder if she was a taken-in niece, or other relatives' offspring? I also would like to know the provenance of the relatives and their DNA.


More exciting details on the genetic hunt and the pathology details.

Fiz poses an interesting theory -- records were wild and woolly back in those days; suppose the woman who passed herself off as Belle Elmore/Cora Crippen was not in fact Kunigunde Mackamotzki? And if she was, and somehow escaped the hyoscine/dismemberment/burial and did vanish abruptly to live quietly in America, why would she have shrunk from (a) making a dramatic appearance in court, which would have led to a showbiz bonanza subsequently, or (b) emerging after the trial and execution, to reap the showbiz bonanza? While there would have been some sticky question in the second case, surely she could have claimed that miraculous new disease sweeping the Western world, amnesia! Or kidnapping by anarchists! Or white slavers! Any story might have been good enough to fend off extradition and reel in hefty advances from the transatlantic tabloids.

Or she may have just brazened it out. I think the existence of Ethel would have drummed up a lot of sympathy for her. I recall that Madeleine Smith was living quietly in New York under the name Lena Wardle when she was blackmailed by a Hollywood producer who wanted to make a story about her life, and apparently was able to face him down.

Oh, but the jewels. Cora was VERY fond of her jewels. I do not think she would have left them behind. And Ethel was apparently in possession of at least one of the best pieces. So I remain puzzled ...


RE: that Mail article. Crippen wasn't a qualified Doctor at all, but qualified in homeopathy. His title is erroneous really. He was a quack, that much is obvious.


Personally, I've always been rather puzzled by Crippen.

From what I've read, his wife was a harridan straight out of James Thurber, and an alcoholic to boot.

What would have been less difficult than stashing bottles of sauce here and there around the house, _then_ poisoning her with something that could have plausibly been in his lab...and then telling the police: "Yeah, my wife's had a drinking problem for years. I've been trying to wean her off the firewater, but she'll stash bottles around the house...and it looks like she broke into my lab looking for something to drink." _That_ way, he's openly a widower, with a plausible excuse for why his wife ended up with a bellyful of puggle, and after a reasonable interval, nobody'd have thought twice about him marrying Le Neve.


I think Cora has been given a bad press myself, I take what is written about her sluttish ways with a pinch of salt.


I don't believe....makes no sense. Crippen was the right guy.


Is he innocent? Probably not.

Was he possibly framed because enough hard evidence wasn't available? It wouldn't be the first time police have planted evidence. No one noticed the smell of the rotting corpse until the police found it under the bricks. The cellar entrance was in the kitchen. No one noticed the stench until after the discovery by the police and the police had been there a number of times prior to their finding whomevers remains.

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