The Case of Madeleine Smith
Rick Geary, . . NBM/Comics Lit, $15.95 (80pp) ISBN 978-1-56163-467-5
This latest in Geary's lovingly researched and illustrated Treasury of Victorian Murder series relates the case of Madeleine Smith, a well-to-do architect's daughter who is willingly courted by Emile L'Anglier, a man of lesser means. Perhaps influenced by the flowery depictions of love found in overwrought romantic novels and certainly longing to escape the strangling mores of the day, Madeleine's fantasies come true during her affair with L'Anglier, thrills that burgeon when spurred by her family's disapproval of the situation. Things take a sinister turn when Madeleine finds a more appropriate suitor and tires of L'Anglier's attentions. She continues the fantasy-driven relationship with the added spice of slowly poisoning her lover via arsenic in his tea, a crime that she would most likely get away within the stringently class oriented society of Victorian Glasgow. Saying more would spoil the true-life outcome for those unfamiliar with the case, but as always Geary provides a quaintly drawn time warp that is both entertaining and educational, including maps and diagrams that bring the case to life. Every bit as much fun as its predecessors, this volume is a welcome and intelligent change of pace from the usual comics fare.
Reviewed on: 05/29/2006