In general, sweeping generalisation about nations are not a good idea. However, I do think it is possible to notice difference. When it comes to true crime from North America, it appears that crime involving wealthy, well off people is often what people find the most fascinating. Perhapse it is to do with the way the American Dream underpins the modern mythology of the US, or that those who have not achieved the increasingly impossible promise of social mobility, enjoy seeing that no matter the personal wealth someone manages to gather for themselves, it does not insulate them from the worst that life has to offer.
In Britain however the crimes that we are often most gripped by tends to be those that happen to ordinary people, who live quiet lives. Perhaps that is to do with the fact that despite seeing ourselves as a modern state, in the UK we still live with the hangovers of the feudal system, with such regressive concepts as the “deserving poor,” and moralistic phrases like “hard working people,” still finding currency in our politics, which has been overrun recently with those for whom even their privilege comes gold plated. We’ve never admired our rich and powerful as much as tolerate them, and get on with our own lives.
It is the latter type of crime in which bite size podcast, Bodies in the Garden fits. In fact the murder of William and Patricia Wycherly by their daughter and son in law Susan and Christopher Edwards, was such a quiet and unassuming crime that it went unnoticed for fourteen years. During those fourteen years Susan and Christopher kepts up the not insignificant ruse of their parents still being alive, with ease, due to what had been their self contained and anti-social nature.
Bodies in the Garden takes us through the rich and absorbing fantasy life that both Susan and Christopher lived, cantered around the Holywood golden age. So obsessed were the pair with collecting memorabilia from this time, that almost all the money they gained from the murders were spent on collectables of dubious value. The fraud they committed did not stop there though with Susan duping her own husband, Christopher, into believing he was writing to, and receiving reciprocal letters from French actor Gerard Depardieu.
When hearing about Susan’s childhood it is possible to see why she may have felt that the only safe way to exist was to retreat into a far more glamour’s fantasy life, and then do everything possible to maintain it. Indeed, this is the crux and the genesis of the whole story, and yet so much of our focus is directed to reconciling the apparently ordinariness of those involved, with the kind of murder and long con, that is generally reserved for celluloid story telling. In a bizarre, and twisted way Susan and Christopher, got exactly what they wanted.