The Magnificent Spilsbury and the Case of the Brides In the Bath

The Magnificent Spilsbury and the Case of the Brides In the Bath This text tells the fascinating story of real life Sherlock Holmes Dr Spilsbury the forensic pathologist who sought to explain how young women suddenly started expiring in their baths in Edwardian E

This text tells the fascinating story of real life Sherlock Holmes, Dr Spilsbury, the forensic pathologist who sought to explain how young women suddenly started expiring in their baths in Edwardian England.

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The Magnificent Spilsbury and the Case of the Brides In the Bath

  1. Jane Robins began her career as a journalist with The Economist, The Independent, and the BBC She has made a specialty of writing historical true crime and has a particular interest in the history of forensics She has published three books of nonfiction in the UK, Rebel Queen Simon Schuster, 2006 , The Magnificent Spilsbury John Murray, 2010 , and The Curious Habits of Doctor Adams John Murray, 2013 More recently, she has been a Fellow at the Royal Literary Fund.

907 Reply to “The Magnificent Spilsbury and the Case of the Brides In the Bath”

  1. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the waterIn 1910, 30 year old spinster Bessie Mundy was desperate to find a husband No easy task at a time when young men were heading to the colonies in droves, leaving a surplus of unmarried women behind Poor Bessie wasn t particularly attractive but she did have the advantage of having an inheritance A cynic might think this was what attracted handsome, charismatic Henry Williams to her And when, after making her will in her new husband s favour [...]

  2. As England was heading into and then in the beginning years of World War I, within the short space of three years, three women, all of whom had married George Joseph Smith who used multiple aliases died while taking a bath Each individual death had been legally attributed to natural causes after proper inquests, the doctors finding no evidence of foul play But early in 1915, Detective Inspector Arthur Neil from the Kentish Town police station was going through his workload and came across an off [...]

  3. This was excellent The story of George Joseph Smith s life and crimes is interesting enough by itself I wrote about him in a guest entry for the blog Executed Today , but Robins also did a good job putting the story in its proper historical context.Women were supposed to be wives and mothers, and the general belief was that if a girl wasn t married or at least engaged by the time she was in her mid twenties, there was something wrong with her It was also very difficult for a single woman to supp [...]

  4. In June 1915 Britain was at war, and yet a different story filled the front pages of the newspapers and captured the public imagination The story of the trial of George Smith He stood accused of marrying a young woman and then drowning her as she bathed On three occasions.The three young women were swiftly dubbed the brides in the bath , and it is they, not George Smith and not the Magnificent Spilsbury, who are at the heart of this book.Bessie Mundy Alice Burnham Margaret Lofty.Three very diffe [...]

  5. I actually picked this book up at a recent bookcrossing meet up here in Birmingham, telling myself grumpily that I didn t need any books and I really shouldn t be taking anything else home with me Well I am glad I ignored that inner voice because I thoroughly enjoyed this book.The Magnificent Spilsbury is an enormously readable historical true crime book Well written and researched it is a truly fascinating page turner A must for fans of historical murder mysteries and Sherlock Holmes stories, [...]

  6. Bessie, Alice and Margaret were just three of the women that George Smith, either under his own name or under a variety of aliases, married But they were the three unlucky ones for they did not survive others, including the first wife who he kept returning to, were lucky enough to do so.Blackpool, Bath and Highgate were the locations where Smith settled down, albeit briefly on each occasion, with his new wives They rented accommodation but Smith always insisted that the rooms they had taken had [...]

  7. Brought in a charity shop, I picked this book up with the thought of it being a whodunit type murder story But I was rather surprised to find out that that it was retelling of the real brides in the bath murder case back in the early 1900 s, back dropped by the tragic Titanic tragedy and WW1 We follow through the three deaths that George Smith committed, Bessie, Alice and Margaret Each women taking by the appeal of Smith s appearance and smooth ways of talking.Jane Robins writes British history [...]

  8. In the summer of 1915, the British public experienced a temporary, if morbid, diversion from the horrors of World War I George Smith, a middle aged serial bigamist who was accused of drowning three wives for their money between 1912 and 1914, stood trial for murder The Fleet Street dailies christened it the Brides in the Bath case.Smith targeted spinsters who were considered past marriageable age Their gratitude at finding a husband in a world unfriendly to single women weakened their instincts [...]

  9. I reviewed this book for a major book seller pre release and as a lover of true crime, I really enjoyed it However, thats not to say that a non crime fan would not enjoy this read as Robins gives a facinating insight into Britain 100 years ago, and manages to write true crime in a novel like way making some of the scientific in the Georgian sense of the word content much easier to digest.The lives of Bessie Mundy, Alice Burnham Margaret Lofty are explored in some depth by Robins, showing the inn [...]

  10. The infamous Brides in the Bath murders of Edwardian England, gripped the country and brought to its attention one Bernard Spilsbury Home Office pathologist and the father of modern forensics This book relates the story of the murders, the people involved in bringing the murderer to justice, and the burgeoning role forensic science was beginning to play in criminal trials of the time.I thoroughly enjoyed this book it s so well written that it reads like a piece of superb detective fiction that S [...]

  11. Historical true crime dastardly narcissistic and controlling man women desperate to be married class revenge this book has it all I read it in one day and enjoyed every minute of it I did like the way the author interspersed the stories of the poor women s lives and deaths with the growth re emergence of forensic science in the court s witness box I thought she re created the essence of pre war Britain very well.

  12. A well crafted factual rendition of the birth of forensic science in England The author presents this historical novel jammed full of fact in an easy to read and immensally interesting way with almost no bias or subjectivity, Allowing the readers mind to wander and interpret as they wish While reading this book I could easily imagin these events actually happening and found it hard to put down Captivating

  13. If this book does one thing, it is to convince the reader how necessary it really is to abolish the death penalty A great lawyer, an impartial judge or some expert scientific proof can easily send an innocent man to his death While advances in science have certainly helped us to see and understand our world and our lives better than ever, it is clear that it is not certain enough to condemn a man to death No expert is infallible.The story is interesting and I love Jane Robins style I love all th [...]

  14. This book was very interesting and I enjoyed reading it It sort of told of the development of the field of forensic I was especially intrigued because due to weather I was unable to see the play reenacting the murders of the three women in bathtubs I am sorry I missed the play The book also gives a glimpse into the mindset of a cold blooded killer A fascinating bit if information was that early in the 19th century, in Paris, autopsies were publicd many people went to see them as if they were a c [...]

  15. This book is about Bernard Spilsbury a forensic pathologist whose scientific mind was compared to that of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes through his appearances at murder trials as an expert witness in Edwardian Britain.As a backdrop to the man himself, Jane Robins retraces the story of three suspected murders known at the time as The Brides In The Bath because in each case the woman in question had been found dead in the bath shortly after being married In the case of the first two women [...]

  16. This is a really good read I can synopsize it in a very few words a man marries a young woman, insures her life, then drowns her in a bath Then does it again And again Only gets caught because someone, thankfully, notices the very similar stories in a newspaper and alerts the cops And the story really is that simple George Joseph Smith is like a shark, single mindedly dispatching his prey And his prey is all of a sort, vulnerable, impressionable young women They re not in the story for very long [...]

  17. This marvellously readable book is much about Bernard Spilsbury s work than his life The framework used for it is the chronology of the famous Brides in the Bath case in which George Joseph Smith disposed of three of his wives by drowning in order to collect their savings and their life insurance It is the story of a conman in an age when respectable young women were desperate to marry and have their own homes rather than be left to eke out a miserable and lonely existence in a boarding house o [...]

  18. The Magnificent Spilsbury and the Case of the Brides in the Bath is a non fiction history by Jane Robins in which she explores the sinister deaths of a string of almost spinster women, mysteriously drowning in rooming house baths within a few days or weeks of marrying The years involved range from approximately 1908 to 1915, the places primarily the seaside towns of England, and the individual involved in all the cases was the multiple aliased George Joseph Smith aka Henry Williams aka John Lloy [...]

  19. This book charts one of the most famous murder cases of the era George Orwell called our great era in murder , roughly 1850 to 1925 the Brides in the Bath I had heard of this case before, but I didn t know very much about it I certainly didn t know the extent of George Smith s victimisation of women, the number he had married and abandoned, not just murdered.Robins intersperses each chapter narrating the course of Smith s crimes with a chapter about Bernard Spilsbury and his evolution into an ex [...]

  20. This non fiction book tells fascinating story of the real life Sherlock Holmes Dr Bernard Spilsbury, and how forensic science emerged into the world of the police Jane Robins is a writer and journalist.The Brides In The Bath case fascinated the whole of England and the book covers each case in detail It is fascinating to read of how these women all fell under the spell of one clever con man and how unmarried women of those times were so desperate to become wives that they all gave up their money [...]

  21. When I was 14 I received the Geography Prize for my year, and for some unbenown reason I chose Famous Murders as my prize book This included the infamous Brides in the Bath case, and I remember being transfixed and appalled in goulish fascination.Well, I still am transfixed and appalled, but Jane Robins very readable book puts the case in context at least In describing the Brides she changes them from being merely victims to real people, vulnerable women desperate to marry in a society that dema [...]

  22. I bought this book at The Secret Book Record Store in Wicklow Street, Dublin to soothe my crime drama appetite in the days leading up to the new season of Sherlock on BBC I was roped in by the promise of a face off between a dastardly Edwardian serial killer and a founding father of forensic science, the real life Sherlock Holmes, Sir Bernard Spilsbury It s a swift and solidly entertaining read, but it lacks the energy and allure of Erik Larson s Thunderstruck The difference is that Jane Robins [...]

  23. saggio piuttosto interessante sul patologo spilsbury che aiut nelle indagini su casi di annegamento di giovani donne nelle vasche da bagno delle case che avevano affittato pi che di medicina legale, si parla dei costumi dell epoca soprattutto i condizionamenti sociali che influenzavano potentemente il sesso femminile , di alcuni famosi casi di cronaca nera che sconvolsero l inghilterra all inizio del 900 la robins racconta minuziosamente gli omicidi e descrive la figura di un truffatore e assass [...]

  24. I d heard of this book in a Financial Times review years ago and finally bought it online from a UK bookseller since I couldn t get it in the US It was too quick a read I enjoyed the alternating chapters between true crime from 1914 and the beginning of forensic science I also liked the way the author developed the social environment of the times, describing women s rights and social systems in England at the time It was entertaining and I learned a lot I ve already recommended it to others to r [...]

  25. preso in bibliotecaCronaca dai primi del Novecento.Mentre l Europa dilaniata dalla Prima Guerra Mondiale, in Inghilterra si indaga su una serie di omicidi che a primo avviso non sembrano tali.Un affresco dell epoca, tra scienza e costume, un saggio agile e scorrevole sull affermazione della medicina legale nei tribunali.Interessante, anche se la forma saggio non lo rende appassionante come un giallo.

  26. The mysterious case of the Brides in the Bath, women who died suddenly after they were wed Interspersed with a kind of biography of Bernard Spilsbury, the man considered the Father of Forensics Simply written with little sensationalism, the author presents the facts and explores the advancement of science in crime fighting Interesting read.

  27. Interesting read, featuring crimes very much of their time I already knew of the Brides in the Bath , but it was good to get some in depth background on the cases, and to ponder what motivated Smith, and the poor women who were fooled by his dubious charms Made me very grateful to be a woman in the 21st century, and not around in the early 20th century

  28. I chose this as I wanted to know about the start of forensic science but there was far to much detail about what was happening elsewhere in world events and what was excepted of women in those days I personally found this distracting from the crimes themselves and didn t enhance the book in anyway.

  29. A well written and interesting book covering a serious of murders and the start of the career of Bernard Spilsbury the father of modern forensics The book is well balanced but for me seemed to lack something I could not quite put my finger on.

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