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A Most Curious Murder - the Madeleine Smith Story
January 2, 2005 6:24 AM   Subscribe

A Most Curious Murder - the Madeleine Smith Story. 'Thursday, 9th July 1857 - The atmosphere outside the High Court in Edinburgh was charged to fever pitch as the crowd awaited the verdict at the end of the most sensational trial of the century. Hanging in the balance was the life of Madeleine Smith, attractive 22 year old daughter of a prosperous Glasgow architect ... '
The site includes, amongst other things, this 1787 directory of Glasgow manufacturers and traders.
posted by plep (14 comments total)

 
Though this FPP won't get many responses (though go ahead, MeFites, prove me wrong), and the site's design leaves something to be desired, this is a very, very good post.
posted by Prospero at 10:43 AM on January 2, 2005


It sure is, Prospero. I like the "unrelated links," too. Now, for a masterful account of the Madeline Smith case (and many others like it), read William Roughead, the man who made the real-life murders of England and Scotland, and their judicial consequences, a new form of literary art.
posted by Faze at 10:48 AM on January 2, 2005


Completely agree. This is a great story, even if the navigation of the site is pretty awkward. Thanks, plep!
posted by LittleMissCranky at 10:50 AM on January 2, 2005


i greatly look foreward to every plep post. as always, thanks.
posted by moonbird at 11:10 AM on January 2, 2005


This is a story I've read previously, but it is interesting and I am pleased to see it as a post. Thanks, plep
posted by scottymac at 11:23 AM on January 2, 2005


I'd never seen it before, either, but like moonbird, I've learned that following a plep link is always, always the right thing to do.

I am sure Madeleine Smith's family is happy to see her exonerated; too bad the poor woman couldn't have enjoyed it herself.
posted by melissa may at 11:33 AM on January 2, 2005


So how come no one's called anyone else a dumbass in this thread?

Seriously, a great post. I printed it out and read it at breakfast. Thanks, plep.
posted by 327.ca at 11:38 AM on January 2, 2005


Plep, as always, a wonderful post (if those of you who are newer here liked this, please do check out Plep's blog -- I could find something to steal there every single day). I find myself to be quite fascinated by these sorts of Victorian 'domestic' murders -- this case, The Bravo Case, and others of the same ilk tell us quite a lot about the secret lives of Victorian women. I wish there was more like this out there on the interwebs.
posted by anastasiav at 11:51 AM on January 2, 2005


Great post, as everyone has said. A linguistic sidelight:
... the crowds cheered when news of the Not Proven verdict reached the street
In Scottish legal usage the form proven (an innovation; the "correct" form, if you think of things that way, is proved) is pronounced PROH-ven (like woven, on whose analogy it was presumably created; the Scottish infinitive was preve).
posted by languagehat at 12:26 PM on January 2, 2005


This is fascinating; thank you so much for sharing!
posted by headspace at 2:03 PM on January 2, 2005


Very interesting. I just wish they had more info on what her life was like after the case resolved. I bet her life story would make a great biography.
posted by Melinika at 4:02 PM on January 2, 2005


Melissa May, she was exonerated at the initial trial. The Scottish legal system is unusual in that a jury has three possible verdicts to consider.

A defendant can be found Guilty, Not Guilty or Not Proven. The "Not Proven" verdict is the most controversial one for while the defendant is Not Guilty in the eyes of the law, it implies that the jury think the person is guilty, but that there is insufficient evidence to be certain of their guilt. A person found Not Proven may be legally innocent, but will find people unwilling to accept their innocence.
posted by bap98189 at 4:42 PM on January 2, 2005


Melinika, there is a little more about her life after the case here.

Thanks for refreshing my memory plep, I had forgotten a lot of the details of the story. You always come up with the best posts.
posted by Tarrama at 5:05 PM on January 2, 2005


Plep, as always, a wonderful post (if those of you who are newer here liked this, please do check out Plep's blog -- I could find something to steal there every single day). I find myself to be quite fascinated by these sorts of Victorian 'domestic' murders -- this case, The Bravo Case, and others of the same ilk tell us quite a lot about the secret lives of Victorian women. I wish there was more like this out there on the interwebs.

Ditto.
posted by codeofconduct at 7:11 PM on January 2, 2005


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