Books: Arsenic in the Soup

VICTORIAN MURDERESSES by MARY S. HARTMAN 318 pages. Schocken. $15.

Women on trial for murder in 19th century Britain and France were objects of fascination. Ladies followed every detail in the penny dreadfuls and were seen battling for tickets outside the courtroom. Victorian Novelist Eliza Stephenson observed that "women of family and position, women who pride themselves upon the delicacy of their sensibilities, who would go into hysterics if the drowning of a litter of kittens were mentioned in their hearing—such women can sit for hours listening to the details of a cold-blooded murder."...

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