Sunday, January 6, 2013

Treasury Of Victorian Murder: The Case of Madeleine Smith

Poison has often been cited as a "woman's weapon". especially if you are a respectable young woman in a prominent family. The Case of Madeleine Smith was an absorbing read with surprising results! What I love most about Geary's stories is I hadn't heard about many of the cases he writes about so I was literally on the edge o my seat turning the pages to see how the cases would turn out.
Madeleine's story begins in Glasgow in the 1850's. The oldest daughter in a well to do family Madeleine has had a proper upbringing including tutelage in an English finishing school. Now back in Glasgow she engages in the occupations of polite society while waiting for a marriage offer.
Her life changes when her eyes meet those of Emile L'Anglier a young clerk well below her station. After the two are formally introduced they begin a passionate correspondence and clandestine meetings.
All of this is not fully exposed to her family and once her father discovers the attachment he demands it end.
Emile however has become obsessed with the relationship, an obsession that Madeleine either encourages or discourages based on her moods.
After the two consummate their passion Madeleine becomes cold towards Emile and rumors begin to circulate about her being out in society with William Minnoch a suitor her father approves of.
When confronted with the truth Emile suffers a bout of conscious and demands she tell her father about their relationship. He also threatens to produce her letters to his father as proof of their attachment.
Madeleine quickly agrees to a meeting and soon afterword Emile because extremely ill.
His illness prevents him from proceeding on his threats and two subsequent visits to Madeleine also result in illness before his painful death in March of 1857 of Arsenic poisoning.
After reading the stacks of letters in Emile's possession suspicion turns towards Madeleine who has been reported buying Arsenic on three separate occasions for the vermin in her garden.
A highly publicised trial  with startling results ensue. Such a great read! A great addition to the series. Geary is very thorough in his research and the art as usual is gorgeous.

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