I can only describe this as below par. I’m by no means new to epub formats and have read hundreds over the years on my iPad or iPhone. I honestly have yet to come across an epub file on sale as unacceptable from a ‘mainstream’ publisher as I found this one to be. From the first page, I struggled to work out what was being quoted and what was the author’s voice.
I’m a regular critic of Pen & Sword’s physical books where they drop all the pictures together in the centre of the book. I know this is done for economics and to assist the printing processes, but surely with an epub, they can be inserted alongside the text that they supplement? Apparently not where Pen & Sword are concerned, and the book contents guide to the plates doesn’t even appear in the Table of Contents. I actually stumbled across the plates purely by accident as I was checking that I’d read the whole book.
Now, to be fair to Pen & Sword I did check on the Amazon listing and this book is available for pre-order with delivery on the 6th of August, so the version I have might not be in its final form, but it really needs some work. I honestly think it unfair to send books out in this incomplete state for review. I feel it reflects poorly on the publisher.
I’m really not sure if epub formats work for books like this where references and plates are included and a certain amount of flipping backwards and forwards through the pages is involved. At least with physical books, I can hold my place with a thumb between the pages whilst I check other pages out.
The content of the book itself dates from 1994, so I think any errors or mistakes in the text itself will have been ironed out since then.
Gripes over, this is not a murder case I’d ever heard about, but once engaged, I found it fascinating and spent quite a lot of time on the internet looking up various aspects.
The case became known as "The Wigwam Murder" due to the fact the victim (Joan Pearl Wolfe) had become known amongst the local population as the "Wigwam Girl" because she was living rough in two wigwams pitched on Hankley Common in the months that preceded her murder.
The young Joan (just 19) was found buried in a shallow grave. August Sangret, a French-Canadian serviceman billeted locally had been seeing her. It transpires she was pregnant, which allegedly gave Sangret a motive for killing her. It took a jury just 2 hours to find him guilty. Sangret was executed by Albert Pierrepoint at 9 am on April 29, 1943.
Sourced from The Times archive by Rebbonk
But was our victim what she first appeared to be? Although she was convent-educated she certainly seemed to have a ‘wild’ side to her. Even her mother described her as ‘gone bad’. Was the infant forensic science all it was cracked up to be? Were the police truly objective and impartial in seeking the killer?
I think the author does a good job of examining (and re-examining) the case and I have to be honest; he leaves me with an uneasy feeling that maybe the real murderer didn’t face the gallows.
Priced at £8.54 for the epub version, I’d be inclined to fork out £16.42 (discounted from £31.42) for the hardback version if I was to be purchasing this.
I’ll run to 2 anchors, the troublesome formatting and missed improvement opportunities spoiled the book for me.
Amazon UK Link