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‘Britain’s Dreyfus Affair’: a very nasty village scandal

6 March 2021

9:00 AM

6 March 2021

9:00 AM

The Mystery of the Parsee Lawyer: Arthur Conan Doyle, George Edalji and the Case of the Foreigner in the English Village Shrabani Basu

Bloomsbury, pp.320, 20

It has been described as Britain’s Dreyfus Affair — the wrongful imprisonment in 1903 of a half-Indian solicitor George Edalji in the Midlands and the refusal of the authorities to pay him compensation, even though he was later pardoned.

In a case tainted by racism, class prejudice and plain stupidity, Edalji was accused of mutilating horses, sheep and cattle, and then forging letters to implicate others, thus creating mayhem in the village of Great Wyrley where he lived, in a mining district in Staffordshire.

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