France: Arsenic & No Case

On a hot July morning in 1949, a police commissaire in the town of Loudun, north of Poitiers, knocked on the door of Marie Besnard, a dowdy, 52-year-old widow, and ordered her to come along. The charge: that she had poisoned with arsenic her mother, father, two husbands, father-in-law, mother-in-law, sister-in-law, grandmother-in-law, two cousins, great-aunt, and two close friends. Last week, after twelve years and three trials, one of the century's most intricate murder cases—and one of the longest—came to an end.

Exhumed & Examined. The legend of Marie Besnard began in the gossip mills of Loudun. Over the years, Marie...

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