For years, Major Harry Larkyns has been known to history only as a swindler and seducer in 1870s California, famous more than anything for his death at the hands of the magnificently strange and brilliant photographer Eadweard Muybridge, one of the inventors of moving pictures. To all intents and purposes, Muybridge murdered Larkyns in cold blood, and yet he walked free on grounds of 'justifiable homicide'. How was this possible? Surely it had something to do with Harry's own story? Although he has largely been dismissed as an imposter and a rogue, Rebecca Gowers discovers that Larkyn's extremely tall tales were (mostly) true and that he was hiding plenty more. Part biography, part detective story, Scoundrel ranges across the globe from Larkin's days as a cadet in India, his louche life in 1870s Paris, and his days as a swindler and seducer in the Wild West of American. It is a gripping story of derring-do, of grand gestures and fast women, of great courage and narrow escapes, and through it Gowers brings to life a whole era.