The four murder trials in this volume, each a cause celebre in its day, continue to fascinate and intrigue the reader decades later. Here are four different characters, led to the dock by very different circumstances. Madeleine Smith, a spirited young woman, was accused of administering arsenic to her lover. Oscar Slater was sentenced to death for the alleged murder of a woman whose very name he may never have heard, yet he outlived the judge who presided. Mild Dr Crippen dismembered his wife's body and buried the remains, and his capture was due to the tenacity of a police detective. And Dr William Palmer, a cruel and brutal man, was the first person to be brought to trial for strychnia poisoning.
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John Mortimer is a playwright, novelist, and former practicing barrister who has written many film scripts as well as stage, radio, and television plays, the Rumpole plays, for which he received the British Academy Writer of the Year Award, and the adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's "Brideshead Revisited." He is the author of twelve collections of Rumpole stories and three acclaimed volumes of autobiography.
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