London: Clerke and Cockeran, 1840 and 1951. [Original news clippings scrapbook] First Use of Forensic Evidence, contemporary newspaper reports, with a first edition of the 1951 biography by Edith Saunders. Quarto (29 x 24cm), and octavo (22 x 15cm), 31 leaves with newspaper clippings pasted to recto only in two columns, and many blank leaves; pp.256. Scrapbook in contemporary marbled card covers. Book in publisher's blue cloth with dark blue titles to spine. With the pictorial dust-jacket, priced at 15s. Scrapbook with only minor browning from adhesive; unusually fresh and clean. Rubbing to spine and corners. Very good. Book with light offsetting to endpapers and a number of large chips and closed tears to jacket. Also very good. A complete newspaper record in English of the notorious Lafarge trial, alongside a copy of Edith Saunder's 1951 biography of Marie Lafarge. In a plot worthy of Flaubert, Collins, or Du Maurier, Marie (née Capelle), was a descendent of Louis XIII who was orphaned and left in the care of her maternal aunt. Though she was sent to the the very best French schools, she struggled to find a suitable husband in Paris due to her meagre dowry, and was tricked into an unsuitable marriage with a rough and bankrupt iron foundry owner in south western France. In the January of the following year, 1840, her husband became ill with Cholera-like symptoms and died, but other members of the household suspected that Marie had poisoned him with a white powder she had been seen adding to his food and drink. When the case came to light, it also emerged that she was suspected of stealing jewels from a friend, and she was convicted for this even before her trial for murder. For the first time in legal history, the murder trial depended on the results of forensic toxicological tests carried out on the victim's body and food, which eventually detected arsenic using the Marsh test (developed in 1836). Marie was sentenced to life imprisonment, but continued to protest her innocence until her death from Tuberculosis in 1852. The trial was an enormous sensation at the time, being amongst the very first to be followed by the European media on a day-by-day basis, and divided the nation between those who considered her guilty or innocent. In sum, a rare and important record of the English media's coverage of a significant French trial. Item #53324
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