Did She Kill Him? A Torrid True Story of Adultery, Arsenic, and Murder in Victorian England

Kate Colquhoun. Overlook, $27.95 (432p) ISBN 978-1-4683-0934-8
Colquhoun (Murder in the First-Class Carriage) has once again written a phenomenal and nuanced historical true crime account, this time focusing on the notorious 1889 death of Liverpool cotton merchant James Maybrick and the subsequent trial of his American wife, Florence, for his murder. Maybrick had been in poor health for several weeks at the time of his death; Florence, who was carrying on an affair, stood to lose out if a change to her husband’s will went into effect. She became the natural suspect when evidence emerged that he might have died of poisoning. Colquhoun is evenhanded in her presentation of the arguments for and against Florence’s guilt, and places the mystery in context, demonstrating how many deemed her responsible just because of her marital infidelity. The author’s evocative prose is the icing on the cake: “Under the surface of thrusting progress, beneath the skin of propriety and manners, vicious poverty, a violent gang culture, and physical suffering persisted.” The result is an enthralling page-turner that will attract fans of true crime and Victorian England. Agent: Caroline Dawnay, United Agents (U.K.). (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/25/2014
Release date: 10/16/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 419 pages - 978-0-349-13856-5
Open Ebook - 432 pages - 978-1-4055-1247-3
Paperback - 432 pages - 978-1-4087-0391-5
Hardcover - 419 pages - 978-1-4087-0390-8
Paperback - 432 pages - 978-1-4683-1119-8
Open Ebook - 432 pages - 978-1-4683-1034-4
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