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Why Spencer Perceval Had To Die, By Andro Linklater


This wonderful yarn grabs us from the off: "The man pushed the wide barrel of the gun against Perceval's chest and pressed the trigger."

John Bellingham made no attempt to flee after killing the Prime Minister in 1812. Raising the possibility that there's more to the case than Bellingham's explanation – a failure to be indemnified after being defrauded in Russia – Linklater suggests he was funded by traders facing bankruptcy due to Perceval's sanctions against Napoleon. A month later, the sanctions were dropped.