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The Case of Madeleine Smith (Treasury of Victorian Murder)

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  307 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
A scandalous secret affair in 19th century Scotland between an upperclass woman and a gentleman of lower standing ends in his murder by poison...
Paperback, 80 pages
Published February 1st 2007 by NBM Publishing (first published July 2006)
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Mar 01, 2013 Jemidar rated it really liked it

My interest in Madeleine Smith was first piqued years ago when I came across David Lean's 1950 movie 'Madeleine' on late night TV. I always meant to find out more about her and her life after the trial but as often happens my life got in the way and she remained mostly forgotten by me until recently. What renewed my interest in her story was that I found out Wilkie Collins' The Law and the Lady was inspired by Madeleine's court case and the unsatisfactory and peculiarly Scottish verdict of Not P
Sam Quixote
Set in mid-19th century Glasgow, Madeleine Smith, a well-to-do young woman, embarks on an affair with a young man of lower class. When she becomes engaged to a wealthy older man, she breaks off the affair. Afraid that the affair will come to light, its suggested, she kills her former lover by serving him hot chocolate laced with enough arsenic to fell 40 men.

After his death, she is arrested, tried, and found not guilty. She might have done it but then her former lover had a dramatic side and ha
Sam Quixote
Aug 06, 2011 Sam Quixote rated it it was ok
Set in mid-19th century Glasgow, Madeleine Smith, a well to do young woman, embarks on an affair with a young man of lower class. When she becomes engaged to a wealthy older man, she breaks off the affair. Afraid that the affair will come to light, its suggested, she kills her former lover by serving him hot chocolate laced with enough arsenic to fell 40 men. After his death she is arrested, tried, and found not guilty. She might have done it but then her former lover had a dramatic side and had ...more

This particulary lurid tale comes to us from an era in which the kind of double-faced behavior of woman (and men!) was not so uncommon at all. This obscure series of events plays out before us in Rick Geary's trademark style and skill- giving us that half nosy newspaper style, and half cold hard facts and thoughts on the situation... in this case, the story twists and turns and leaves so many things that seem not to add up, it's very easy for the reader to get involved in making his or her own d
Jul 29, 2010 Wendy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had been putting off reading a graphic novel, but I found this one that didn't have super heroes or anime and it wasn't as painful as I had anticipated. This book covers the true story of Madeleine Smith, an aristocrat who has a love affair with a clerk. When the clerk dies of poisoning, she goes to trial. Interesting story and kids who like a good mystery will enjoy this. For me, the story was a little choppy. I felt like I was reading something from a crime scene rather that a story. This wa ...more
As always, Geary's artwork is top notch, but the material of this volume, the 8th in the "Victorian Murders" series, is a bit of weak tea (I find it interesting that Geary subsequently moved on to the "20th Century Murder"). The true story of Madeleine Smith, who poisoned her lover, is fine but less compelling then earlier subjects. Still, interesting for those who may not realize how convoluted the societal rules and expectations for relationships were in the late 1800's.
I saw the David Lean film about Madeleine Smith so I was excited to read Rick Geary's version of the story. Geary is definitely more sympathetic to Emile L'Anglier than Lean; Geary paints him as the crushed dismissed lover where Lean's Emile is far more rascally and conniving. As with all of the books in the Treasury of Victorian Murder, The Case of Madeline Smith is thoroughly entertaining and somewhat unnerving and extremely well illustrated and written.
Kari Ramirez
This review is for 4 of Rick Geary's Victorian Murder Books: The Borden Tragedy, The Case of Madeleine Smith, The Beast of Chicago, and The Saga of the Bloody Benders.

Dry, fact-based accounts of some of the more notorious murderers in history. They read almost like textbooks. There is no creative license taken in any of these. While interesting, some get downright boring. The Bloody Benders was spent going on a history lesson of Kansas and of the guesstimations of where the Benders might have re
Mike Aragona
Mar 23, 2011 Mike Aragona rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: all
Rick Geary, it seems, has put together quite a number of these True Crime/ Unsolved Murder books. The stories, fascinating already, are very much helped by the static/ graven images which make up the art. Obviously researched in detail, this is another example of a quality book by NBM Publishing. I will indeed be ordering more from them!
This is another one of Rich Geary's graphic novels. I don't know why but I really like this books. They all have creepy illustrations which add wonderfully to the true murder stories in the book. This one was about a woman named Madeleine who poisoned a lover. At the time women could not marry whomever they wished but had to marry a man of their family's choosing. Madeleine became involved in a man named Emile but could not marry him because her parents disapproved of his standing in the communi ...more
This is the second book I've read by author/illustrator Rick Geary and I enjoyed it even more than the first. The Case of Madeleine Smith does a thorough job of detailing the poisoning death of Smith's secret lover. Smith was ultimately charged with her lover's death but was acquitted of all charges. Geary does a great job of presenting all the facts in the case and leaves it to the reader to decide if justice was served or not. If you are a fan of true crime and graphic novels be sure to add th ...more
Apr 17, 2016 Stef rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This marks my least favorite of the Rick Geary books. It started out strongly enough, with a dramatic, mysterious death, but in the end, it doesn't feel like justice was served: The murder suspect goes on to live a pretty happy life. Maybe she truly was innocent, maybe she wasn't, but because of such heavy suspicion that she is involved, and she's so unconcerned with the mysterious death of her previous lover, it feels unfair and unsatisfying. This happy-ending-for-the-suspect account also seems ...more
Feb 07, 2015 Doris rated it it was amazing
This amazing short graphic novel brings us the true story of the scandalous affair and murder trial and its outcome, of a Scottish upper-middle-class family from Glasgow in the arsenic poisoning of her lower-class clerk paramour.

Well told without any information that could not be read by a youngster, but with all the facts laid out in a way that makes for interesting reading. Well done Mr. Geary!
Geary is always entertaining and his art is always impressive, but the tale of Madeleine Smith is only somewhat compelling. Even though the book is less than 100 pages, it feels almost padded with lots of repetition and scenes that are too similar to each other.
Aug 26, 2015 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting read. I never knew that she had been tried for poisoning her lover. She was on the edges of the Pre-Raphaelite Movement so the married name was familiar to me. Nice little Victorian melodrama from real life.
Reading The Case of Madeleine Smith is like watching a 19th Century Law and Order - only, apparently, this isn't just "ripped from the headlines" - her story actually WAS the headlines. This graphic novel traces the true story of an upper class woman who allegedly poisoned her lower class gentleman lover - in a case study type format. It felt well researched and the comic-book format makes the history so accessible. It also puts the time in which these people are living into context in a way tha ...more
Madeleine McLaughlin
Graphic novel about the poisoner Madeleine Smith. Will tell you of the basics of the crime and how she ended her life. A nice, easy little read.
Mar 30, 2013 Dana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recognize the artwork style of Rick Geary from the "Classics Illustrated" books I loved as a kid. This is the first I've read of his Treasury of Victorian Murder, and I really enjoyed it. Having never heard of Madeleine Smith, I loved that this was presented as a sort of true-crime unsolved mystery, with the evidence gathered from Ms. Smith's letters and the testimonies from her trial. Not terribly exciting, but a fun and interesting read nonetheless. I'll be seeking out more books in this ser ...more
Shayna Ross
This was the first of the Victorian comic mysteries I've read and it was interesting enough. I enjoy the fact that the book allows you to take the evidence that was present and come up with your own conclusion to the puzzle. In this case, while I'm still not certain if the accussed is guilty, I have a couple ideas of what may have actually happened. Good, quick read.
Nov 30, 2010 Marjanne rated it liked it
I'm not sure what else I can say about this graphic novel series by Rick Geary. Again: good illustrations and excellent story telling. This is not my favorite in the series, but I was interesting and I knew nothing about Madeline Smith prior to reading this. I'll probably read more by Geary.
Dec 04, 2008 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Out of the Rick Geary true crime comics I have read so far, this is probably my favorite. He cuts up the narrative in an interesting way that builds tension even though the reader already knows the outcome. Plus the post trial bits about Madeleine Smith are fascinating.
I picked this as I am trying to explore some new genres. I liked the art work, but found the plot not as exciting as I had expected - not that this is Geary's fault as it's based on a true story. I'm not so put off though that I wouldn't read the others in the series.
Tawnya Shaw
The animation is amazing; this guy was an illustrator for Heavy Metal and the National Lampoon movies! The actual story is pretty interesting, but it read like a case file. If the characters spoke, instead of the story being narrated, I would have given it 4 stars...
May 21, 2016 J. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
I love this series, but this volume is pretty boring. Geary does a good job, as always, but the crime itself isn't very interesting. Without the sensationalism or grandiosity (or even mystery) of some of the other volumes, this one falls flat.
Nov 11, 2007 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: mystery fans
What a story! What a life Madeline, Mimi or whatever her name was lived!! Of the three Victorian Murders I've read thus far, this is the one I've had a solid guess as to the accused innocence or guilt.

The storyline was brilliant.
Mar 23, 2009 Meredith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great addition to the series. I think the best part about this book is learning what happened to Madeleine Smith after the murder case. It wasn't a case I was familiar with before, but it was very interesting.
Sep 04, 2007 Deb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: murder mystery affectionatos
Most of the books in this series are a primer for bourgeois Victorians on how to commit murder and get away with it. I'm not too fond of the illustration style, but the stories and research are totally worth the read.
Nov 25, 2008 Christiane rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, true-crime
I've read all of Geary's Treasury of Victorian Murders, but this is my favorite. Did sweet Madeleine slip arsenic into her lover's hot chocolate? Or was it all an innocent mistake?
May 26, 2013 Cyndi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, I have finished all of this authors fine Treasury of Murder and the 2 biographies.

As always, this one was steady, well researce, written ad drawn. Bravo Mr. Geary.
Dec 11, 2009 reed rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Matter-of-fact retelling of a murder case from the 1850s. The best part is the last chapter where we learn about the rest of the murderer's long life -- she died in 1928!
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RICK GEARY was born in 1946 in Kansas City, Missouri and grew up in Wichita,
Kansas. He graduated from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, where his first cartoons were published in the University Daily Kansan. He worked as staff artist for two weekly papers in Wichita before moving to San Diego in 1975.

He began work in comics in 1977 and was for thirteen years a contributor to the Funny Pages of
More about Rick Geary...

Other Books in the Series

Treasury of Victorian Murder (9 books)
  • The Borden Tragedy: A Memoir of the Infamous Double Murder at Fall River, Mass., 1892 (A Treasury of Victorian Murder)
  • Jack the Ripper: A Journal of the Whitechapel Murders 1888-1889
  • The Fatal Bullet: The Assassination of James A. Garfield
  • The Mystery of Mary Rogers
  • The Beast of Chicago: An Account of the Life and Crimes of Herman W. Mudgett, Known to the World As H.H. Holmes
  • The Murder of Abraham Lincoln
  • The Saga of the Bloody Benders
  • A Treasury of Victorian Murder

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