The Magnificent Spilsbury and the Case of the Brides in the Bath, By Jane Robins

A racy case for the first celebrity pathologist
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The Independent Culture

The success of Kate Summerscale's The Suspicions of Mr Whicher has seen a rush of books about real-life 19th-century murder cases.

Here, Jane Robins presents the figure of Bernard Spilsbury, the first "celebrity" forensic pathologist, who also gave evidence at Dr Crippen's trial. The case in question involved the surprising deaths of three young women, all while taking baths, shortly after they were married. A suspect, George Joseph Smith, was soon arrested, and Spilsbury's testimony regarding the manner of the deaths did much to convict him. But Robins shows how his work has since been brought into question. As an account of early forensics, this is a racy and informative tale.