Christine's Reviews > The Devil's Gentleman: Privilege, Poison, and the Trial That Ushered in the Twentieth Century

The Devil's Gentleman by Harold Schechter
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's review
Jan 22, 2008

really liked it
Read in March, 2008

The trial of Roland Molineux in 1899/1900 was really a precursor to the sensationalistic crime obsession that would only continue to grow throughout the 20th and into the 21st century. In his way, Molineux was the Paris Hilton of his generation, famous for his upbringing of privilege and the fact that he didn't do too much with it (although to be fair, at least he maybe killed someone...Paris not so much). The look into the criminal proceedings at the turn of the last century is encouraging and scary at the same time: encouraging for what has changed, and scary for what hasn't.

Schechter has clearly done his homework. His tone is familiar without being distracting; he never injects himself into the story, and he wisely saves his opinion of his subject's guilt or innocence until the notes portion.
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