The chilling true account of the Sandyford murder case and the sensational nineteenth-century trial that forever changed how homicides are investigated.
Jessie M’Lachlan was one of the countless thousands who lived in the tenements of Glasgow, Scotland. In poor health ever since her pregnancy, the single mother worked herself to the bone to provide for her child, but there was never enough to make ends meet. Her only solace in the brutal port town was the company of her best friend, tough and brawny Jess M’Pherson. Jessie and Jess had forged a bond in hardship, but it would be be torn apart by murder.
In the summer of 1862, Jess M’Pherson was found stabbed to death in her bedroom, stripped to the waist and lying in a pool of her own blood. The killing sent Glasgow into an uproar. And when Jess’s coat was found in Jessie M’Lachlan’s home, the victim’s closest friend was charged with murder. In one of the most sensational trials in Scottish history—the first to make use of forensic photography—Jessie’s life was picked apart. Though her lawyers argued that she was nowhere near the scene of the crime, the jury deliberated for just fifteen minutes before sentencing her to hang. It may have seemed like the end, but Jessie’s story was just beginning.
One of the greatest mystery authors of her generation, Christianna Brand was also a pioneer of true crime. And despite reading like fiction, every word of this gripping historical saga is rooted in fact. Fans of In Cold Blood or The Onion Field will find that Heaven Knows Who ranks among the greats.
About the author
Christianna Brand (1907–1988) was one of the most popular authors of the Golden Age of British mystery writing. Born in Malaya and raised in India, Brand used her experience as a salesgirl as inspiration for her first novel, Death in High Heels (1941), which she based on a fantasy of murdering an irritating coworker. The same year, she debuted her most famous character, Inspector Cockrill, whose adventures she followed until 1957. The film version of the second Cockrill mystery, Green for Danger, is considered one of the best-ever screen adaptations of a classic English mystery.
Brand also found success writing children’s fiction. Her Nurse Matilda series, about a grotesque nanny who tames ill-behaved children, was adapted for the screen in 2005 as Nanny McPhee. Brand received Edgar Award nominations for the short stories “Twist for Twist” and “Poison in the Cup,” as well as a nomination for her nonfiction work Heaven Knows Who.
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