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The Devil's gentleman: Privilege, Poison, and the Trial That Ushered in the Twentieth Century

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From renowned true-crime historian Harold Schechter, whom The Boston Book Review hails as “America’s principal chronicler of its greatest psychopathic killers,” comes the riveting exploration of a notorious, sensational New York City murder in the 1890s, the fascinating forensic science of an earlier age, and the explosively dramatic trial that became a tabloid sensation at the turn of the century.Death was by poison and came in the mail: A package of Bromo Seltzer had been anonymously sent to Harry Cornish, the popular athletic director of Manhattan’s elite Knickerbocker Athletic Club. Cornish barely survived swallowing a small dose; his cousin Mrs. Katherine Adams died in agony after ingesting the toxic brew. Scandal sheets owned by Hearst and Pulitzer eagerly jumped on this story of fatal high-society intrigue, speculating that the devious killer was a chemist, a woman, or “an effeminate man.” Forensic studies suggested cyanide as the cause of death; handwriting on the deadly package and the vestige of a label glued to the bottle pointed to a handsome, athletic society scamp, Roland Molineux.The wayward son of a revered Civil War general, Molineux had clashed bitterly with Cornish before. He had even furiously denounced Cornish when penning his resignation from the Knickerbocker Club, a letter that later proved a major clue. Bon vivant Molineux had recently wed the sensuous Blanche Chesebrough, an opera singer whose former lover, Henry Barnet, had also recently died . . . after taking medicine sent to him through the mail. Molineux’s subsequent indictment for murder led to two explosive trials, a sex-infused scandal that shocked the nation, and a lurid print-media circus that ended in madness and a proud family’s disgrace.In bold, brilliant strokes, Schechter captures all the colors of the tumultuous legal case, gathering his own evidence and tackling subjects no one dared address at the time–all in hopes of answering the tantalizing question: What powerfully dark motives could drive the wealthy scion of an eminent New York family to foul murder?Schechter vividly portrays the case’s fascinating cast of characters, including Julian Hawthorne, son of Nathaniel Hawthorne, a prolific yellow journalist who covered the story, and proud General Edward Leslie Molineux, whose son’s ignoble deeds besmirched a dignified national hero’s final years. All the while Schechter brings alive Manhattan’s Gilded Age: a gaslit world of elegant town houses and hidden bordellos, chic restaurants and shabby opium dens, a city peopled by men and women fighting and losing the battle against urges an upright era had ordered suppressed.Superbly researched and powerfully written, The Devil’s Gentleman is an insightful, gripping work, a true-crime historian’s crowning achievement.
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ISBN:
9780345476791
9781515997863
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Grouped Work ID 9865ff83-fe7f-42d5-a876-ffea04f6a86b
full_title devil s gentleman privilege poison and the trial that ushered in the twentieth century
author schechter harold
grouping_category book
lastUpdate 2017-03-22 04:57:28AM

Solr Details

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auth_author2 Runnette, Sean,
author Schechter, Harold.
author-letter Schechter, Harold.
author2 Runnette, Sean,, hoopla digital.
author2-role Runnette, Sean,Narrator., hoopla digital.
author_additional Harold Schechter.
author_display Schechter, Harold
availability_toggle_arlington Available Now, Available Online, Entire Collection
available_at_arlington Central, Columbia Pike
callnumber-a HV6534.N5
callnumber-first H - Social Science
callnumber-subject HV - Social Pathology, Criminology
callnumber_sort_arlington 364.1523 SCHEC
collection_arlington Adult Nonfiction
date_added 2011-01-26T05:00:00Z
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detailed_location_arlington Central Adult Nonfiction, Columbia Pike Adult Nonfiction, hoopla
display_description The wayward son of a revered Civil War general, Roland Molineux enjoyed good looks, status, and fortune-hardly the qualities of a prime suspect in a series of shocking, merciless cyanide killings. Molineux's subsequent indictment for murder led to two explosive trials and a sex-infused scandal that shocked the nation. Bringing to life Manhattan's Gilded Age, Schechter captures all the colors of the tumultuous legal proceedings, gathering his own evidence and tackling subjects no one dared address at the time-all in hopes of answering a tantalizing question: What powerfully dark motives could drive the wealthy scion of an eminent New York family to murder?
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edition Unabridged.
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id 9865ff83-fe7f-42d5-a876-ffea04f6a86b
isbn 9780345476791, 9781515997863
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local_callnumber_exact_arlington 364.1523 SCHEC, Online
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oclc (OCoLC)131065335
owning_library_arlington Arlington Public Library, Arlington Public Library Online, Aurora Hills, Aurora Hills Online, Central, Central Online, Cherrydale, Cherrydale Online, Columbia Pike, Columbia Pike Online, Connection Crystal City, Connection Crystal City Online, Detention Center, Detention Center Online, Glencarlyn, Glencarlyn Online, Local History, Local History Online, Plaza, Plaza Online, Shirlington, Shirlington Online, Westover, Westover Online
owning_location_arlington Central, Columbia Pike
physical 1 online resource (1 audio file (15hr., 14 min.)) : digital., xv, 494 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
popularity 6
primary_isbn 9780345476791
publishDate 2007, 2017
publishDateSort 2007
publisher Ballantine Books,, Made available through hoopla,, Tantor Audio :
rating 2.5
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subject_facet Downloadable audio, Streaming audio, United States -- Social conditions -- 1865-1918
table_of_contents The soldier and the clubman -- Blanche -- Degenerate -- Inquest -- The people vs. Molineux -- The man inside -- Aftermath.
target_audience Adult
target_audience_full Adult
title The Devil's gentleman : Privilege, Poison, and the Trial That Ushered in the Twentieth Century
title_display The Devil's gentleman : privilege, poison, and the trial that ushered in the twentieth century
title_full The Devil's Gentleman: Privilege, Poison, and the Trial That Ushered in the Twentieth Century / Harold Schechter, The Devil's gentleman : privilege, poison, and the trial that ushered in the twentieth century / Harold Schechter
title_short The Devil's gentleman :
title_sort devil's gentleman privilege, poison, and the trial that ushered in the twentieth century
title_sub Privilege, Poison, and the Trial That Ushered in the Twentieth Century