The Drood Inquiry
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Dr. William Palmer

Not a work of fiction at all, but an actual crime, the case of Dr William Palmer bears several resemblances to Dickens’s tale. Palmer poisoned his friend John Cook for money and showed little remorse for the deed; furthermore on being accused of this murder, several other deaths were linked to Palmer, including his own children, but also the death of one George Abley, in relation to which others remarked that they believed Palmer to be attracted to Abley’s wife. Dickens himself reported on the sensational and much-discussed case of Palmer’s murder of Cook in his article “The Demeanour of Murderers” for Household Words in which he called Palmer “the greatest villain that ever stood in the Old Bailey dock” who maintained a cool composure at all times (read it here: http://www.djo.org.uk/household-words/volume-xiii/page-505.html).