The Devil's Gentleman: Privilege, Poison, and the Trial That Ushered in the Twentieth Century by Harold Schechter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was the story of Roland Molineaux, a poisoner from the turn of the 20th century. He was the son of a famous and beloved General of the Civil War. He was accused of poisoning a rival for his intended wife and a man from his health club whom he had taken a severe dislike to. While the case added up, the motive seemed extreme for a gentleman of his class. The story was very interesting, especially as it was something of a "bad seed" affair. This is also another "Lizzy Borden" case in which there was a great deal of controversy about the verdicts which have not been agreed upon to this day.
Along with this is the story of the tabloid press or "yellow journalism" engendered by Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst. Both men took over failing newspapers and turned them into wildly successful enterprises which left them multi-millionairs. What was especially interesting to me was the fact that the papers had detectives of their own and often managed to stay one step ahead of the police. This case changed journalism forever.
View all my reviews