** The Notorious Mrs Clem by Wendy Gamber

The Notorious Mrs. Clem: Murder and Money in the Gilded Age takes us to Indianapolis in the late 19th century and the nascent Indianapolis to observe a famous set of trials that tried (and failed) to establish whether a shady woman entrepreneur had conspired to kill her partner and his wife. The focus is on the accused, a woman with undeniable business skills and also an undeniable penchant for Ponzi schemes and shady dealings. The author wants us to focus on the prejudices against women who did not hew to traditional female roles, although it’s not clear that the trial hinged on them (the coverage of the trials certainly did!) Her  insistence on the woman-victim theme and the detailed descriptions of each trial wore me out.


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