The Devil's Gentleman

The Devil's Gentleman

Privilege, Poison, and the Trial That Ushered in the Twentieth Century

Book - 2007
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From renowned true-crime historian Harold Schechter comes the riveting exploration of a notorious New York City murder in the 1890s, the fascinating forensic science of an earlier time, and the grisly court case that became a tabloid spectacle.

The wayward son of a revered Civil War general, Roland Molineux enjoyed good looks, status, and fortune-hardly the qualities of a prime suspect in a series of shocking, merciless cyanide killings. Molineux's subsequent indictment for murder led to two explosive trials and a sex-infused scandal that shocked the nation. Bringing to life Manhattan's Gilded Age, Schechter captures all the colors of the tumultuous legal proceedings, gathering his own evidence and tackling subjects no one dared address at the time-all in hopes of answering a tantalizing question: What powerfully dark motives could drive the wealthy scion of an eminent New York family to murder?

Praise for The Devil's Gentleman :

"A heady tale of sin, sex, jealousy and revenge in sepia-toned Manhattan."
-The New York Times

"A dark chronicle of ghoulish revenge [and] journalistic sensationalism . . . [a] well-wrought anatomy of a murder and portrait of an age."
-The Wall Street Journal

"Schechter peppers his account of one of America's earliest media circuses with peacock characters and deliciously tawdry details. . . . For scandal sweet tooths, this one's a beaut."
-Entertainment Weekly

"In the hands of an artist and historian as gifted as Schechter, the material becomes a superbly evocative reconstruction of the fascinating period in American life that gave birth to our media-crazed society."
- Bomb magazine

"Well told and powerfully written . . . Through newspaper accounts of the day and memoirs of the principals . . . Schechter brings [a crime] to vivid life."
-San Antonio Express-News
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, c2007.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780345476807
Branch Call Number: 364.1523
Characteristics: xv, 494 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.


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Mar 19, 2011

I found this true story of the first New York trial of the 20th century fascinating. I especially liked all the footnotes Schecter used to give further detail of a fact that he used in the story. I look forward to reading his other true crime stories.

Jun 29, 2010

Very interesting book! This is a perfect example of the reluctance of Victorian England to charge the elite, in it's society, for any crime. The evidence was so condemming. I found this very easy to read, the author provides us with a lot of interesting details.


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