I have now purchased two further books about the Red Barn murder. The most interesting, and perplexing, is that by Donald McCormick entitled The Red Barn Mystery. He details some fascinating new evidence connecting William Corder with a prostitute, the unlikely named Hannah Fandango, as well as a well known poisoner, Thomas Griffiths Wainewright, who was transported but was alleged to have known both Corder and ‘Beauty Smith’ in London.
All of this, McCormick claims, comes from some correspondence an actress Caroline Palmer (real name Mrs E T Kemp), had with a Mrs S F Hampson of Sydney, who, at Caroline Palmer’s request, interviewed Wainewright in Australia. Caroline Palmer apparently became interested in the case having acted the part of Maria Martin in several dramatic productions.
The problem is that McCormick fails to indicate where said correspondence resides and how he came to hear of it; half an hour with Google has failed to find any reference at all to a 19th century actress called Caroline Palmer. In addition to that, Ancestry.com has not a single record for a 'Hanna Fandango'...
However, my interest is now firmly aroused, not the least reason for which is that an old map of Brentford in my possession shows the position of Grove House on Ealing Road (Ealing lane then) where Corder was arrested. In my life I must have passed it a thousand times or more on my way to school or college.
Welcome to the Mirli Books blog written by Peter Maggs