Murder, Mystery and My Family: A True-Crime Casebook from the Hit BBC Series

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All Sarah Chesham wanted was to survive, at a time when crops were poor and money was tight. By the time she died she was branded a merciless child killer.

All Emily Swann wanted was the love of a man who wouldn’t abuse her. By the time she died she was depicted as a vengeful, drunken hussy.

All Edith Thompson wanted was a romance with a man who adored her. By the time she died she was seen as a scheming and manipulative adulteress.

All Louie Calvert wanted was to be heard. Yet when she died she slipped almost immediately into the shadows, like thousands of other women like her.

All Charlotte Bryant wanted was a distraction from a dreary life. By the time she died she was deemed a seductress and an arch poisoner.

No one wants to believe that their mother, sister or daughter is capable of murder. When a woman is charged with a killing, we judge more harshly and punish more severely than when a man does the same.

Murder, Mystery and My Family explores five historical true-crime tales from the hit BBC series, each with a woman at the heart of the story, from a case of ‘poison panic’ in the 19th century to a post-war murder that gripped the nation. Tales of infidelity and greed, corruption and deceit run throughout – but was justice served for all? Descendants of those convicted revisit each case in search of answers.

Based on extensive research, including original court records and interviews with descendants, Murder, Mystery and My Family delves deeper into each crime, while also looking at our changing attitudes to women who have found themselves at the centre of our darkest dramas.