Rotten, Wicked, Tyrannical
- BuyWhy Spencer Perceval Had to Die: The Assassination of a British Prime Minister by Andro Linklater
Bloomsbury, 296 pp, £18.99, May 2012, ISBN 978 1 4088 2840 3
If Spencer Perceval is remembered at all today it’s probably as the answer to a question in a pub quiz: who is the only British prime minister ever to have been assassinated? But both he and his nemesis, John Bellingham, are more interesting than this implies, and the fatal act that brought them together, Andro Linklater thinks, is more significant and also more mysterious. They have been the subject of two previous books, by Mollie Gillen (1972) and David Hanrahan (2008), both called The Assassination of the Prime Minister. Linklater doesn’t add much information or evidence about the event itself, but he puts it in context, and provides fascinating if overblown speculations about the supposed ‘mystery’.