This riveting exploration of a notorious, sensational New York City murder in the 1890s shines a light on the fascinating forensic science of the time period and the drama of tabloid-like media coverage at the turn of the century. Harry Cornish, popular athletic director of the Knickerbocker Athletic Club was the recipient of a poison-laced package of Bromo Seltzer. The contaminants of the package killed Cornish's cousin and nearly killed Cornish, himself. Publications owned by Hearst and Pulitzer speculated from the beginning on who may have been responsible for the high-society killing. The alleged killer was named as the handsome and athletic, Roland Molineux. What followed was a tumultuous legal proceeding that was covered by yellow journalism and made history as the sensational details of trial were shared with the inquisitive masses.
Harold Schechter is a professor of American literature at Queens College, the City University of New York. His essays have appeared in various newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and the International Herald Tribune. Among his more than thirty published books are a series of historical true-crime narratives about America's most infamous serial killers, a quartet of mystery novels featuring Edgar Allan Poe, and an anthology of American true crime writing published by the Library of America. He is also the editor of the Kent State University Press True Crime History Series. His most recent book is The Mad Sculptor: The Maniac, The Model, and the Murder that Shook the Nation (forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/New Harvest).