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Arsenic Under the Elms: Murder in Victorian New Haven
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Arsenic Under the Elms: Murder in Victorian New Haven

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  51 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
The attorney Virginia A. McConnell provides a riveting view of Connecticut in the late 1800s as revealed through the unrelated but disturbingly similar murders of two young women. The first, Mary Stannard, was an unmarried mother who worked as a domestic and believed herself to be pregnant for a second time. The man accused of her murder, Reverend Herbert Hayden, was a mar ...more
Paperback, 262 pages
Published December 1st 2005 by Bison Books (first published 1999)
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Jun 02, 2013 Donna rated it it was ok
A little too technical vis a vis trial coverage for my taste. Lots of names too . . .
Dec 01, 2009 Alie rated it liked it
A cautionary tale. The caution - use birth control.
Jun 07, 2009 Rose rated it it was amazing
In Arsenic Under the Elms: Murder in Victorian New Haven, attorney and college professor Virginia McConnell focuses on two murders that shocked the residents of New Haven, Connecticut in 1878 and 1881 but have since been forgotten. The victims were not showgirls or society ladies, but average young women who fell prey to unscrupulous men. Their sensational deaths, however, spawned media frenzies that exposed the contemporary attitudes toward male promiscuity and female virtue.

The first half of A
Julia Alberino
Feb 21, 2014 Julia Alberino rated it liked it
Basically a true crime book, retelling two separate crimes of the late 19th Century in Connecticut. The two crimes are similar in terms of victim and probable method of death. Some of the same judges, doctors and lawyers are involved in both cases because of the geographic proximity. The perpetrators are very different in every way, so don't expect speculation about a serial killer. This book not in the same league with "In Cold Blood," "Helter Skelter," or "Fatal Vision," and ultimately the end ...more
Stacey Marriott
Torn. The cases she covered were intriguing, and author presented a wealth of information. the downfall was with her speculation. I had a difficult time flowing her mix of nicknames and given names. no reason confuse me. Worst part was the aftermath chapter. first, why out the first case aftermath all the way at the end of the book? second, I'm surprised there was seemingly no attempt to find living relatives of any families to obtain any family folklore. In the end, I was disappointed by this b ...more
Ann Herrick
Apr 23, 2014 Ann Herrick rated it really liked it
A fascinating account of two murders in Connecticut. The author tells the story of the *victims* in as great detail as the accused.

While trials were "wilder" back then, some things never change. Wealth and/or higher social standing still often hold sway over those with less money and lower social standing.

A good, fast read, except for parts in the trials where it bogs down in the forensics. You'll feel you know the people involved in the cases.
Nov 27, 2009 Jackson rated it it was amazing
Some things do not change under the sun. While I am reading Lost child it reminds me of this book and how it must be for an author who gets so wrapped up in writing a historical book that the past becomes the present. It is other-worldly.
Lea Wait
May 24, 2014 Lea Wait rated it really liked it
Clear, concise and analysis of two Victorian court cases involving young women killed in or near New Haven, Connecticut ... fascinating for how courts and lawyers operated, and how evidence was presented. A must for anyone interested in 19th century crime .. or wanting to write about it.
Liz Cook
Nov 16, 2013 Liz Cook rated it really liked it
This book gives a tremendous amount of insight into what it was like to be a woman stuck in an untenable situation. It challenged my ideas of what justice must have been like back then.
Jun 17, 2014 Michelle rated it it was ok
Too much speculation and repetition of information. Skipped the aftermath chapter, disappointed with the turn out.
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