A Poisoned Life

Florence Chandler Maybrick, the First American Woman Sentenced to Death in England


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About the Book

Florence Maybrick was the first American woman to be sentenced to death in England—for murdering her husband, a crime she almost certainly did not commit. Her 1889 trial was presided over by an openly misogynist judge who was later declared incompetent and died in an asylum. Hours before Maybrick was to be hanged, Queen Victoria reluctantly commuted her sentence to life in prison—in her opinion a woman who would commit adultery, as Maybrick had admitted, would also kill her husband. Her children were taken from her; she never saw them again. Her mother worked for years to clear her name, enlisting the president of the United States and successive ambassadors, including Robert Todd Lincoln. Decades later, a gruesome diary was discovered that made Maybrick’s husband a prime Jack the Ripper suspect.

About the Author(s)

Richard Jay Hutto served as White House Appointments Secretary to the Jimmy Carter family and was chairman of the Georgia Council for the Arts. He is an internationally recognized speaker and historical consultant often appearing in televised adaptations of his work. He lives in Macon, Georgia, and can be reached at www.poisonedlife.com.

Bibliographic Details

Richard Jay Hutto
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 196
Bibliographic Info: 30 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7063-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3294-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
One. A Marriage of Northern Money and Southern Aristocracy 5
Two. An Officer and a Gentleman 17
Three. Seeking Solace in the Old World 35
Four. A Baroness’s Coronet and an ­Ill-Fated Marriage 50
Five. Financial Struggles 62
Six. Marital Poison 71
Seven. Murder or Slow Suicide? 81
Eight. Like Mother Like Daughter? 90
Nine. Building a Case or Stacking the Deck? 100
Ten. Sentenced to Die 111
Eleven. Saved from the Gallows 121
Twelve. Fifteen Long Years 132
Thirteen. Released at What Cost? 141
Fourteen. Blessed Obscurity 151
Fifteen. Jack the Ripper? 158
Chapter Notes 169
Bibliography 185
Index 189

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Rick Hutto does a great job of organizing a myriad of facts in this intriguing story of a celebrated miscarriage of justice, and he presents them masterfully as a compelling read.”—Mary S. Lovell, author of The Riviera Set: Glitz, Glamour, and the Hidden World of High Society
  • “A scrupulously detailed dissection of one of the most intriguing cases in British judicial history–with a surprising twist at the end.”—Anne de Courcy, author of The Viceroy’s Daughters: The Lives of the Curzon Sisters.