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  • Location: Glasgow, Edinburgh

Murder and Morality in Victorian Britain

Murder and Morality in Victorian Britain

Why a Booktrail?

1857: A woman stands accused of poisoning her lover…a true life tale

  • ISBN: 978-0719080692
  • Genre: Non-Fiction

What you need to know before your trail

This book explores the life of Madeleine Smith, who in 1857 was tried for poisoning her secret lover. As well as charting the course of this illicit relationship and Madeleine’s subsequent trial, the authors draw on a wide range of sources to pursue themes such as the nature of gender relations and the extent of women’s social and commercial activities, and to bring vividly to life the world of the mid-Victorian middle class.The book contains new discoveries about Madeleine’s long and colourful life after the trial which confirm the view that it is only in fiction that the bad end unhappily.

Travel Guide

Glasgow 1857

Madeleine Hamilton Smith (29 March 1835 – 12 April 1928) was a 19th-century Glasgow socialite who was the accused in a sensational murder trial in Scotland in 1857.

The family lived in Blythswood Square in the centre of Glasgow. Her father was a famous architect and is renowned for many of the designs around the city including the Theatre Royal

Smith broke the strict Victorian rules and expectations of the time when she began a secret love affair with Pierre Emile L’Angelier, an apprentice nurseryman.

Her parents didn’t know about the affair and chose a husband for her. Madeline therefore had to leave Emilie but he threatened to reveal the letters. He died not long after of arsenic poisoning. Madeleine’s letters were found in his rooms and so she was charged with murder.


 The trial of the Century took place in Edinburgh’s High Court

Booktrail Boarding Pass:  Murder and Morality in Victorian Britain

Destination: Glasgow, Edinburgh  Author/Guide: Eleanor Gordon  Departure Time: 1857

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