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The devil's rooming house : the true story of America's deadliest female serial killer
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The gripping tale of a legendary, century-old murder spree *** A silent, simmering killer terrorized New England in1911. As a terrible heat wave killed more than 2,000 people, another silent killer began her own murderous spree. That year a reporter for the Hartford Courant noticed a sharp rise in the number of obituaries for residents of a rooming house in Windsor, Connecticut, and began to suspect who was responsible: Amy Archer-Gilligan, who'd opened the Archer Home for Elderly People and Chronic Invalids four years earlier. "Sister Amy" would be accused of murdering both of her husbands and up to sixty-six of her patients with cocktails of lemonade and arsenic; her story inspired the Broadway hit Arsenic and Old Lace. The Devil's Rooming House is the first book about the life, times, and crimes of America's most prolific female serial killer. In telling this fascinating story, M. William Phelps also paints a vivid portrait of early-twentieth-century New England.
Table of Contents
A Note to the Readerp. viii
Prologue Simmering Deathp. x
Part 1Silent Killers
Chapter 1The Matron and the Reporterp. 2
Chapter 2Quiet Menacep. 12
Chapter 3Silent Killersp. 22
Chapter 4Humble Beginningsp. 26
Chapter 5Devout Christianp. 30
Chapter 6Left Behindp. 34
Chapter 7The Bible Thumperp. 37
Chapter 8Thousands Overcomep. 40
Chapter 9Forecasting the Weather Is No Sciencep. 44
Chapter 10The Biggest Boardinghouse in New Englandp. 49
Chapter 11Cold Storagep. 56
Chapter 12Red Skies at Nightp. 61
Chapter 13The Beginning of FranklinÆs Endp. 64
Part 2Investigation & Innovation
Chapter 14They Come and They Gop. 68
Chapter 15Death at First Sightp. 74
Chapter 16The Last Good-byep. 78
Chapter 17Death by Marriagep. 81
Chapter 18Sweet Little Amyp. 87
Chapter 19The Conp. 97
Chapter 20Red Falconp. 104
Chapter 21"I Can Fix That All Right"p. 108
Chapter 22The Wrong Victimp. 114
Chapter 23"Fit as a Fiddle"p. 120
Chapter 24Public Servicep. 127
Chapter 25Too Latep. 134
Chapter 26Done to Deathp. 140
Chapter 27May the Curse of God Come Down on Youp. 145
Chapter 28Poison Controlp. 149
Chapter 29The Factsp. 154
Chapter 30Grave Robbersp. 157
Chapter 31Motivep. 166
Chapter 32In the Dead of Nightp. 170
Chapter 33Oh, What a Beautiful "Mourning"p. 173
Chapter 34"Murder Factory"p. 183
Part 3Trials & Tribulations
Chapter 35A Changing Worldp. 194
Chapter 36The Greatest Successp. 198
Chapter 37Witch of Windsorp. 203
Chapter 38Victory for the Vanquishedp. 208
Chapter 39The Expertsp. 216
Chapter 40"Dark Murder Hole"p. 223
Chapter 41Drug Addictp. 227
Chapter 42One Last Trickp. 237
Chapter 43Arsenic and Old Lacep. 239
Epilogue Whatever Happened to Amy?p. 244
Acknowledgmentsp. 252
Endnotesp. 255
Selected Bibliographyp. 291
Selected Essays & Documentsp. 294
Indexp. 295
About the Authorp. 304
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