Martin Vander Weyer

Fortune's Spear

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Gerard Lee Bevan was the model of an Edwardian swell – arrogant, smooth, well-connected and highly cultured. He married money and influence – his wife Sophie Kenrick was a cousin of the future prime minister Neville Chamberlain – and over the years he kept a string of showgirl mistresses. But his was a success built on fraud and deception, and eventually Bevan could sustain the fiction no longer. After a series of desperate swerves, he fled the country on 8 February 1922, abandoning his family and leaving his stockbroking and insurance empire in ruins. Thus began an extraordinary flight across Europe – disguised as a Frenchman, using a stolen passport, with his mistress at his side. His subsequent arrest in Vienna, and the Old Bailey trial that followed, would shock the entire country. 'Fortune's Spear' is a parable of the way in which the prospect of easy money draws risk-takers in every era into a spiral of greed and deceit. Bevan may have been forgotten, but he richly deserves to be remembered. Drawing on c ontemporary evidence and told with novelistic flair, Martin Vander Weyer's gripping biography brings him vividly to life.
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423 printed pages
Original publication
2011

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