Thursday, 9th July 1857: the atmosphere outside the High Court in Edinburgh is charged to fever pitch as the crowd awaits the verdict at the end of the most sensational trial of the century. Hanging in the balance is the life of Madeleine Smith, attractive 22-year-old daughter of a prosperous Glasgow architect. Over the preceding few days, salacious revelations of Madeleine's secret romance had been making headlines throughout the world. By the end of the trial, in spite of widespread belief in her guilt, sympathy had swung towards Madeleine, and the crowds cheered when news of the 'Not Proven' verdict reached the street. Madeleine was free to leave the court, but she was never free from suspicion. Madeleine Smith's murder trial was made famous by the shocking nature of her letters to the lover she was supposed to have poisoned with arsenic. She has always been thought guilty of the crime, despite the lack of enough evidence to convict her, but now, 150 years later, Jimmy Powdrell Campbell's amazing forensic discoveries and previously unpublished letters between Madeleine and her alleged victim turns the case on its head.
In this myth-shattering new account, he proves the young Scot's innocence beyond any doubt and rewrites one of the most intriguing murder trials of all time. Set in the prim world of Victorian Scotland, the murder of Madeleine's lover shocked a nation, but this new look at the intricacies of the case is even more eye-opening, as the true tale of deception, lust and revenge is finally revealed.
Jimmy Powdrell Campbell is a historian, composer and web designer, and researched the Madeleine Smith trial for a musical which was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He has researched several other areas of Scottish history, and has participated in BBC documentaries and contributed to various radio and TV programmes. He lives in Glasgow.
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