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  • Location: Glasgow

The Strange Affair of Madeline Smith

The Strange Affair of Madeline Smith

Why a Booktrail?

1850s: It was a case that rocked Victorian society.

  • ISBN: 978-1846975806
  • Genre: Crime, Historical, Inspired by true events, Non-Fiction

What you need to know before your trail

Emile L’Angelier was a working-class immigrant from the Channel Islands who began a clandestine affair with prominent Glasgow socialite Madeleine Smith. Six weeks after Emile threatened to show Madeleine’s father their passionate letters, on 23 March 1857, he was found dead from arsenic poisoning. The evidence against Madeleine seemed overwhelming as she went to trial for murdering her lover.

Douglas MacGowan’s vivid account reads by turns like a thriller, a love story and a courtroom drama. He quotes extensively from contemporary sources, notably the pathology reports, the trial testimony and the infamous correspondence between Madeleine and Emile, whose explicit content so shocked Victorian sensibilities. Ultimately it is up to the reader to judge Madeleine’s guilt or innocence.

Travel Guide


The city of Glasgow is where it all takes place and although the locations are real, they have of course changed considerably since the 1800s.

Following the scandal Smith’s family were forced to quit their Glasgow home and their country villa Rowaleyn in Rhu and moved to Bridge of Allan which is in Central Scotland

BookTrail Boarding Pass: The Strange Affair of Madeline Smith

Destination: Glasgow Author/guide: Douglas MacGowan Departure Time: 1850s

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