This pacey, rollercoaster ride of a book traces the white-knuckled journey to political oblivion of one of Britain’s most charismatic party leaders. A Very English Scandal chronicles the seedy downfall of Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe, a man obsessed with obtaining power at any cost, even if it involved fraud, betrayal and murder. Long before Thorpe’s trial in 1979 for conspiring to kill his one-time lover Norman Scott, members of his inner circle (some of whom eventually became co-conspirators) knew of his secret gay promiscuity, a fact that in the 1960s could have destroyed him had it reached the public domain.
John Preston, a skilled novelist and journalist, weaves a tale worthy of House of Cards, except that it is not fiction. It is terrifying to think that Thorpe nearly became home secretary in Edward Heath’s government, with the opportunity to destroy all evidence of his affair with Scott, a groom