In this “first-rate blending of true-crime, character-study and history” a 19th-century love con leads to murder and a sensational double trial (Susan Isaacs, New York Times–bestselling author of Compromising Positions).
In 1831 Lucretia Winslow Chapman was a wife and mother of five who had founded one of Philadelphia’s first boarding schools for girls. But her comfortable life and marriage to prominent local scientist William Chapman changed forever the night Lino Espos y Mina appeared at their door, requesting lodging. It wasn’t long before the Cuban con artist had entrenched himself in the Chapman home and begun an illicit affair with Lucretia. A little over a month later, William Chapman was dead from a lethal dose of poison. Lino and Lucretia were eventually arrested and charged with murder—and the double trial of the century began.
Wolfe skillfully weaves court transcripts, love letters, and period recollections into an edge-of-your-seat historical thriller about the crime that rocked pre–Civil War America. With its shocking verdicts that raised troubling questions about sexism and racism, this mesmerizing true-crime tale still resonates nearly two hundred years later.