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

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

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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

Synopsis:

From renowned true-crime historian Harold Schechter comes the riveting exploration of a notorious New York City murder in the 1890s, the fascinating forensic science of an earlier time, and the grisly court case that became a tabloid spectacle.

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?

Praise for The Devil's Gentleman:

A heady tale of sin, sex, jealousy and revenge in sepia-toned Manhattan.

-The New York Times

A dark chronicle of ghoulish revenge and] journalistic sensationalism . . . a] well-wrought anatomy of a murder and portrait of an age.

-The Wall Street Journal

Schechter peppers his account of one of America's earliest media circuses with peacock characters and deliciously tawdry details. . . . For scandal sweet tooths, this one's a beaut.

-Entertainment Weekly

In the hands of an artist and historian as gifted as Schechter, the material becomes a superbly evocative reconstruction of the fascinating period in American life that gave birth to our media-crazed society.

-Bomb magazine

Well told and powerfullywritten . . . Through newspaper accounts of the day and memoirs of the principals . . . Schechter brings a crime] to vivid life.

-San Antonio Express-News

Synopsis:

From renowned true-crime historian Harold Schechter comes the riveting exploration of a notorious New York City murder in the 1890s, the fascinating forensic science of an earlier time, and the grisly court case that became a tabloid spectacle.

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. Molineuxs subsequent indictment for murder led to two explosive trials and a sex-infused scandal that shocked the nation. Bringing to life Manhattans 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?

Praise for The Devil's Gentleman:

“A heady tale of sin, sex, jealousy and revenge in sepia-toned Manhattan.”

-The New York Times

“A dark chronicle of ghoulish revenge [and] journalistic sensationalism . . . [a] well-wrought anatomy of a murder and portrait of an age.”

-The Wall Street Journal

“Schechter peppers his account of one of Americas earliest media circuses with peacock characters and deliciously tawdry details. . . . For scandal sweet tooths, this ones a beaut.”

-Entertainment Weekly

“In the hands of an artist and historian as gifted as Schechter, the material becomes a superbly evocative reconstruction of the fascinating period in American life that gave birth to our media-crazed society.”

-Bomb magazine

“Well told and powerfully written . . . Through newspaper accounts of the day and memoirs of the principals . . . Schechter brings [a crime] to vivid life.”

-San Antonio Express-News

About the Author

Harold Schechter is a professor of American literature and culture at Queens College, the City University of New York. He is widely celebrated for both fiction and true-crime writing, including The Serial Killer Files. He lives in Brooklyn and Mattituck, Long Island, with his wife, the poet Kimiko Hahn. Visit the authors website at www.haroldschechter.com.

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780345476807
Subtitle:
Privilege, Poison, and the Trial That Ushered in the Twentieth Century
Author:
Schechter, Harold
Publisher:
Ballantine Books
Subject:
Murder - Serial Killers
Subject:
Murder
Subject:
Crime - True Crime
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20080930
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
8 B/W PHOTOS THROUGHOUT
Pages:
512
Dimensions:
8.02x5.14x1.11 in. .80 lbs.
Age Level:
a gaslit world of elegant town houses and hidden b

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Crime » General
History and Social Science » Crime » True Crime
History and Social Science » World History » General

The Devil's Gentleman: Privilege, Poison, and the Trial That Ushered in the Twentieth Century Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.95 In Stock
Product details 512 pages Ballantine Books - English 9780345476807 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , From renowned true-crime historian Harold Schechter comes the riveting exploration of a notorious New York City murder in the 1890s, the fascinating forensic science of an earlier time, and the grisly court case that became a tabloid spectacle.

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?

Praise for The Devil's Gentleman:

A heady tale of sin, sex, jealousy and revenge in sepia-toned Manhattan.

-The New York Times

A dark chronicle of ghoulish revenge and] journalistic sensationalism . . . a] well-wrought anatomy of a murder and portrait of an age.

-The Wall Street Journal

Schechter peppers his account of one of America's earliest media circuses with peacock characters and deliciously tawdry details. . . . For scandal sweet tooths, this one's a beaut.

-Entertainment Weekly

In the hands of an artist and historian as gifted as Schechter, the material becomes a superbly evocative reconstruction of the fascinating period in American life that gave birth to our media-crazed society.

-Bomb magazine

Well told and powerfullywritten . . . Through newspaper accounts of the day and memoirs of the principals . . . Schechter brings a crime] to vivid life.

-San Antonio Express-News

"Synopsis" by , From renowned true-crime historian Harold Schechter comes the riveting exploration of a notorious New York City murder in the 1890s, the fascinating forensic science of an earlier time, and the grisly court case that became a tabloid spectacle.

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. Molineuxs subsequent indictment for murder led to two explosive trials and a sex-infused scandal that shocked the nation. Bringing to life Manhattans 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?

Praise for The Devil's Gentleman:

“A heady tale of sin, sex, jealousy and revenge in sepia-toned Manhattan.”

-The New York Times

“A dark chronicle of ghoulish revenge [and] journalistic sensationalism . . . [a] well-wrought anatomy of a murder and portrait of an age.”

-The Wall Street Journal

“Schechter peppers his account of one of Americas earliest media circuses with peacock characters and deliciously tawdry details. . . . For scandal sweet tooths, this ones a beaut.”

-Entertainment Weekly

“In the hands of an artist and historian as gifted as Schechter, the material becomes a superbly evocative reconstruction of the fascinating period in American life that gave birth to our media-crazed society.”

-Bomb magazine

“Well told and powerfully written . . . Through newspaper accounts of the day and memoirs of the principals . . . Schechter brings [a crime] to vivid life.”

-San Antonio Express-News

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