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Square Mile of Murder - Skye Wedding Photographers in Glasgow
29 August 2014

A number of years ago, I bought my father a copy of Jack House's book "Square Mile of Murder."  My Dad had read it a long time ago, enjoyed it and so, when I saw it in paperback, I got it for him to re-read.

Jack House gives his overview of four famous murders which took place within a square mile in the centre of Glasgow.  Each story is intriguing in itself. House successfully recreates the atmosphere of Victorian Glasgow and gives his insights into the various characters involved.  The two crimes I find especially interesting are the unfair imprisonment of Oscar Slater for a murder he never committed, including how this could possibly happen at that time in Glasgow and the poisoning of Emile L'Angelier for which Madeleine Smith was tried, receiving that unique Scottish verdict of "Not Proven," which House points out, according to cynics, means, "Go away, and don't do it again!"  (Or, we know you did it but there is insufficient proof.)  The Madeleine Smith affair went on to be dramatised and recounted a number of times for its shocking (especially by Victorian standards) human interest and its uncertainty.  Rather like Daphne Du Maurier's "My Cousin Rachel," readers/viewers are left to draw their own conclusions about Madeleine's guilt.

Jack House was certain that Madeleine was guilty and, towards the end of his narrative, he quotes from Somerset Maugham's diary to prove his belief.  Therein, Madeleine, now elderly and living in the U.S., is reputed to have stated to H B Irving, "I suppose you want to know whether I did it or not.  I did and what's more, if it were all to happen again I'd do it again."

If you want to read "Square Mile of Murder" and make up your own mind about this murder and the other three, the book is available on Amazon U.K.  If you do get your own copy, you are definitely guaranteed to have a fantastic read - one which you can return to over and over.

The above photograph is of Madeleine Smith's home in Blythswood Square, Glasgow today.  Did she poison her lover here?

Norma  x

 

 


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