The true story of the eighteenth-century English maidservant at the center of a fascinating criminal mystery.
On New Year’s Day, 1753, Elizabeth Canning disappeared. An eighteen-year-old girl, she was unremarkable in every respect, from her appearance to her disposition, but she was about to become the most famous person in London. When she reappeared one month later, starving and ill, she claimed she had been abducted and held captive by a woman named Susannah Wells, who wanted Elizabeth to work for her as a prostitute. Based on Elizabeth’s testimony, Wells was arrested, tried, and convicted—but the case was just getting started.
Convinced the young woman was lying, the Lord Mayor of London set out to uncover the truth. What followed was one of the most celebrated criminal cases of the era. The controversy, which threatened to tear London apart, revolved around one frightened, mysterious girl.
Meticulously researched and irresistibly readable, Elizabeth Is Missing is the definitive account of one of the most unusual cases of the eighteenth century, a must-read for fans of historical true crime.
About the author
Lillian de la Torre (1902–1993) was born in New York City. She received a bachelor’s degree from the College of New Rochelle and master’s degrees from Columbia University and Radcliffe College, and she taught in the English department at Colorado College for twenty-seven years. De la Torre wrote numerous books; short stories for Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine; reviews for the New York Times Book Review; poetry; and plays, including one produced for Alfred Hitchcock’s television series. In her first book, Elizabeth Is Missing (1945), she refuted twelve theories on the disappearance of a maidservant near the Tower of London in 1753, and then offered her own answer. Her series of historical detective stories about Dr. Samuel Johnson and James Boswell comprise her most popular fiction. De la Torre served as the 1979 president of the Mystery Writers of America.
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