The Scotch Murderess (Season 2, Episode 2)

Madeleine Smith portrait

Madeleine Smith, source.

In 1856, a young socialite falls for a poor shipping clerk. Girl meets boy. Girl meets another man. Boy meets arsenic. Scottish law defined marriage loosely. Intimacy and the promise of matrimony could be enough to prove a legally binding union; and it sometimes made “till death do us part” feel like the only opportunity for escape. This week we bring you an account of Victorian intrigue, taboos, and murder: the story of Madeleine Smith.

Arsenic bottle

An arsenic bottle was produced at the trial, source.

City mansion

The Smith home. William Minnoch, as mentioned in the newspaper caption, was her fiancée, source.

Emile portrait, the murder victim

Portrait of the murder victim copied from a portrait of him produced at the trial, source.

You can also find this episode on iTunes here (or search “A Short History” on your podcast app).

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4