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The Poisoned Life of Mrs. Maybrick

The winsome bride who was destined to become an international sensation.

Below, the book-jacket blurb from the original United Kingdom edition, now considered a "classic true-crime book" by English critics.

From flap of original U.K. book jacket.

You can also order from or Barnes and Noble by clicking on My Works above, then scrolling down to "The Poisoned Life of Mrs. Maybrick."

Five-star praise from Amazon reviewer:

"Ryan's book is excellent. Compelling narrative, great pictures, and the overall tragedy of the Maybrick case are combined, and Ryan offers a convincing solution to the mystery of James Maybrick's death." -- Karen Hoy, historian specializing in true crime

From the book's Introduction:

If you drive northward along Route 7 on the western edge of Connecticut from Danbury to Kent, you travel one of the world's loveliest broad valleys, between low hills that are more mound than mountain. If, as you cross the muddy Housatonic River to Gaylordsville, you leave Route 7 and turn right, then immediately left, you will climb over the mound that lies on the eastern side of the valley. When the rutted lane straightens, and after it seems that all farmhouses must be forgotten, you will pass a ramshackle ruin of a tiny cottage.

In this cabin, long ago, there came to an end the life of an elderly derelict person known up and down the road as "the cat woman." Beyond the fact that she kept house for an uncountable number of cats, nothing seemed to be known of her past, her origins, or her life. Yet once the world on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean had echoed her name and rallied to save her from execution by hanging.

Her name was Mrs. Maybrick. Though her story begins nearly two decades before the twentieth century, it offers surprising parallels to today. One is the controversial question of the procurement and use of habit-forming drugs. Another is that of sexual morality and permissive codes. A third is the question of holding an accused person incommunicado and the handling of court trials and appeal from a verdict, including the right of the defendant to testify on his own behalf. Still another is trial by newspaper, while a fifth is that of capital punishment and inhuman penal conditions. Then there is the fascinating setting in which servants outnumbered family and were privy to every daily event, whether trivial or important.

The story of Mrs. Maybrick is, like all great unsolved mysteries, proof that the truth is stranger than fiction. Its setting, too--including such minor yet key details as postal service, telegrams, and trains that moved almost with the speed of lightning--seems to be stranger than the imagination could create.


. Foreword by Lord Russell of Killowen
. Preface by Sir Michael Havers, QC, MP
. Introduction

PART ONE: Before the Trial

I 'To Miss Chandler!' 'To Mr. Maybrick!'
II 'I frequently tell Jim I hate him'
III 'Such a scandal will be all over town tomorrow'
IV 'The mistress is poisoning the master'
V 'There were some flypapers found'

PART TWO: The Trial

VI 'A case which has excited very great attention'
VII 'Put up Florence Elizabeth Maybrick'
VIII 'Did you not open the letter deliberately?'
IX 'I found arsenic'
X 'This friendless lady in the dock'
XI 'Is she to be misjudged always?'
XII 'The mere fact of a man swearing this'
XIII 'A horrible woman might be assailed by temptation'

PART THREE: After the Trial

XIV 'The most dangerous verdict ever recorded'
XV 'How are you, Maybrick? Any complaints?'
XVI 'That's Bartholdi's Statue of Liberty'
XVII 'She has fleas, mother'
XVIII 'Interested in getting this thing in the paper?'

. Epilogue: Did she or didn't she?
. The Law is changed--too late for Mrs. Maybrick
. Acknowledgements
. Bibliography
. Index

Published by to Excel Press, an imprint of, Inc. 292 pages. ISBN 0-595-00095-9.