A Far, Far Better Thing
Did a Fatal Attraction Lead to a Wrongful Conviction?
In 1985, socialites Derek and Nancy Haysom were found brutally stabbed to death in their home in Boonsboro, Virginia. When suspicion turned to the Haysoms’ beautiful but troubled daughter, Elizabeth, and her German boyfriend, Jens Soering, their case became one of the most notorious in the Commonwealth’s history. After fleeing with Elizabeth to Europe, Jens ultimately confessed to the crime, under the illusion that as the son of a German consular official he’d be granted diplomatic immunity. He believed he was nobly sacrificing his life for love—just as Sydney Carton does for Lucie Manette in Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities.
Now published for the first time in English, Jens tells his side of the story—of how a naïve and reckless scholar fell into a world of deception, drugs, and ultimately murder. His compelling, revelatory account is accompanied by the painstaking analysis of Bill Sizemore, a journalist who’s followed the Soering case for more than a decade. In parallel with the 2016 documentary film about the murders, called The Promise,
this book not only points to a miscarriage of justice, but also showcases the tragedy of misplaced love and a catastrophically foolish declaration.