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  • A Victorian poisoning mystery

    A Victorian poisoning mystery

    On New Year's Day 1886, London grocer Edwin Bartlett was discovered dead in his bed with a lethal quantity of liquid chloroform in his stomach. Strangely, his throat showed none of the burns that chloroform should have caused. His wife, who admitted to having the poison, was tried for murder, but the jury acquitted her because "we do not think there is sufficient evidence to show how or by whom the chloroform was administered." In this episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll learn about the Edwin and Adelaide Bartlett's strange marriage and consider the various theories that have been advanced to explain Edwin's death.

    We'll also sample a 50,000-word novel written without the letter E and puzzle over a sure-footed American's visit to a Japanese office building.

    [Please take a moment to write a review of Futility Closet on iTunes. If you could subscribe to the show on iTunes, that would be great, too. This will help Boing Boing continue to deliver this show and other great shows to you. Thank you! - Mark]

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    Notable Replies

    1. Henry VIII would have had someone boiled regardless of any lack of evidence.

    2. jhml says:

      I know this one; send in Vastra, Jenny and Strax!

    3. She would have sedated him with the chloroform, then introduced the rest of it to his stomach by way of a funnel and rubber hose.

    4. Or poured it in something that would dissolve in the stomach, like some sort of sugar candy. Or he drank it by mistake mistook the burning sensation for the burning sensation of strong liquor and everyone has overestimated the visibility of burns caused by drinking chloroform. How many cases of chloroform ingestion had the coroner investigated?

    5. It still leaves the question of motive since in that era they would probably not have been able to able to game the autopsy and legal defense, so that suggests some sort of accident. Given the fellows desire for kinky sex, he may have been duped in some sort of game.

    Continue the discussion bbs.boingboing.net

    3 more replies