The true story of the seemingly respectable woman convicted of a murderous spree in Victorian-era Brighton, England.
In 1871, when the news broke of a series of mysterious poisonings in the popular resort town of Brighton, shock and horror gripped the public. Even more disturbing was the revelation that the culprit was not a common criminal but a local “lady of fortune,” Christiana Edmunds.
Starting in March, Christiana had sent out dozens of poisoned chocolates and sweets to Brighton’s residents. Her campaign resulted in the death of four-year-old vacationer Sidney Barker, and wounded countless others. Her arrest in August provoked such an emotional response from the local public that her trial was moved from Brighton to London’s Old Bailey.
The prosecution anticipated an easy victory. Christiana had not confessed, but witnesses confirmed she had purchased strychnine and their testimonies placed her at the scenes of the crimes. She had a motive too, argued the prosecution; she was a scorned woman. Despite the defense’s best efforts, the jury took only one hour to convict her of the murder of Sidney Barker and the attempted murder of three others. This book tells the engrossing story of the crime, the trial, the darker underworld of Victorian Brighton, and the ultimate fate of Christiana Edmunds.