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The Trial of Madame Laffarge for Poisoning her Husband]

The Trial of Madame Laffarge for Poisoning her Husband], The Mystery of Marie Lafarge

VARIOUS, [SAUNDERS, Edith, et al.] [Original news clippings scrapbook] First Use of Forensic Evidence, contemporary newspaper reports, with a first edition of the 1951 biography by Edith Saunders. Quarto (29 x 24cm), and octavo (22 x 15cm), 31 leaves with newspaper clippings pasted to recto only in two columns, and many blank leaves; pp.256. Scrapbook in contemporary marbled card covers. Book in publisher's blue cloth with dark blue titles to spine. With the pictorial dust-jacket, priced at 15s. Scrapbook with only minor browning from adhesive; unusually fresh and clean. Rubbing to spine and corners. Very good. Book with light offsetting to endpapers and a number of large chips and closed tears to jacket. Also very good. A complete newspaper record in English of the notorious Lafarge trial, alongside a copy of Edith Saunder's 1951 biography of Marie Lafarge. In a plot worthy of Flaubert, Collins, or Du Maurier, Marie (née Capelle), was a descendent of Louis XIII who was orphaned and left in the care of her maternal aunt. Though she was sent to the the very best French schools, she struggled to find a suitable husband in Paris due to her meagre dowry, and was tricked into an unsuitable marriage with a rough and bankrupt iron foundry owner in south western France. In the January of the following year, 1840, her husband became ill with Cholera-like symptoms and died, but other members of the household suspected that Marie had poisoned him with a white powder she had been seen adding to his food and drink. When the case came to light, it also emerged that she was suspected of stealing jewels from a friend, and she was convicted for this even before her trial for murder. For the first time in legal history, the murder trial depended on the results of forensic toxicological tests carried out on the victim's body and food, which eventually detected arsenic using the Marsh test (developed in 1836). Marie was sentenced to life imprisonment, but continued to protest her innocence until her death from Tuberculosis in 1852. The trial was an enormous sensation at the time, being amongst the very first to be followed by the European media on a day-by-day basis, and divided the nation between those who considered her guilty or innocent. In sum, a rare and important record of the English media's coverage of a significant French trial.
The Czar's Spy. The Mystery of a Silent Love

The Czar’s Spy. The Mystery of a Silent Love

LE QUEUX, William (1864-1927) [Spy Fiction] SIGNED COPY, an early book club edition from the same year as the first. Octavo (19 x 13cm), pp.[6]; 314. SIGNED by the author in black ink to the publisher's advertisement facing the title page. Contemporary red half crushed morocco in the West End style, with raised bands, gilt titles and decoration to spine, and red cloth over boards. Top edge gilt; red cloth to endpapers. Some rubbing and bumping to joints and board edges. Very good. A stirring bit of political intrigue in the Buchanian vein, full of men who spend their spare time hunting grouse in Scotland and meet the challenge of an enemy with a steely glint in their eyes and a grim smile playing about their lips. Possibly a new category should be created to cover this type of fiction, it could be called 'man-fetishist', fiction from a world where a man's worth is gauged upon meeting by the shape of his jaw, the openness of his countenance and the manner in which he looks you up and down. I am of course only bitter because I never had the slightest urge to become a blistering wing three-quarter, and thus would be viewed as suspect. William Le Quieux, on the other hand, seems to have done everything (or at least said he did); journalist, diplomat, explorer, early pilot, radio enthusiast and the author of a staggering 197 books. There is even the suggestion that Duckworth Drew, one of Le Queux's espionage heroes, was a direct inspiration for James Bond. This copy is from a monthly series priced at 50 cents a volume know as the 'Red Novels' - seemingly an early iteration of the Book Club concept.