If you’ve been around long enough you might possibly know that I’m in love with pulp magazines and have been since as far back as I can remember. It’s a love affair that shows in so many magazines on my shelf which include two I bought from the newsstand in America. A newsstand sitting virtually on the street. So, when I won this book however many months ago I was in heaven. It’s a book published from pulp magazines published in Australia from a series of true crime pulp magazines.
Yes, it’s been sitting on my shelf for months. I finally read it. It is awesome. All the stories are fabulous and contain copies of the newspaper articles about the actual crime. If I wanted I could probably search through Trove and find more but I’m not doing so for reasons of time and a lack of it.
One story I’ve picked out to look at here is about a lady by the name of Louisa Collins. We’ve gone back in time to 1886 to Botany, about 30 years after my family arrived in Australia. Louisa Collins has a husband and five children ranging in ages from three to 15. She supplements the family income by taking boarders. The parents seem very happy together. One day a boarder comes along and suddenly the husband starts getting sick. The daughter sees rat poison in the cupboard and when she asks it disappears. Eventually the husband dies. Louisa marries the new boarder a few weeks later. They have a baby, he dies. The new husband eventually dies. More rat poison had been seen at some stage by the daughter. Louisa Collins was the first woman to be executed at Darlinghurst Gaol.
Besides such a bitter story, what else did I noticed here?
There was much debate in the press as to whether she should be executed as she was female. Apparently “Men are different from women.” and therefore shouldn’t be executed. Some people felt that women “unsex themselves” with this sort of behaviour and therefore “chivalric feeling or sentiment” should be ignored.
The Bible was quoted freely to prove both cases. Some people talked about leniency while others used different quotes to argue the opposite.
“A woman is not allowed to take part in the making of laws, nor is she allowed rights as a property holder, yet she is placed on equality with man in the question of retribution.” This is something that woman have used for many years to argue that we should be allowed equal rights to men. This quote comes from a man.
Should you buy this?
Well, yes. But only if you like true crime. If you’re more of a romance reader then this will set your mind thinking and make you feel rather different to your normal reading matter. In case you decide you want to read it here’s the link. If you buy it through this I’ll get a few cents in affiliation fees.