September 21, 2007


Doors to open on scandalous Victorian trial (SHÂN ROSS, 9/22/07,

In the 1857 Edinburgh trial, Miss Smith, 22, the product of a Swiss finishing school, was accused of murdering working-class Emile l'Angelier after he threatened to show her father hundreds of passionate love letters written during their secret two-year relationship, after her family found her a wealthy suitor. She continued the relationship for six weeks before l'Angelier was found dead in March 1857.

L'Angelier kept diaries recording passionate visits from "Mimi", but entries began to appear saying he had fallen ill after she made him drinks of cocoa. The prosecution focused on Miss Smith buying arsenic several times, but her defence claimed it was for cosmetic purposes.

Suspicion then fell on l'Angelier, who had boasted of taking small doses of arsenic for health reasons, as being a manipulative blackmailer who tried to fake his poisoning on 22 March, 1857. Some believe the pretence went wrong when the friend who was meant to find him in time was delayed.

After the trial, Miss Smith moved to London and then to the US.

One of the cases covered in Rick Geary's great Treasury of Victorian Murder:

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 21, 2007 7:52 PM
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