One of the most notorious Victorian murders was committed by Dr George Henry Lamson, who stood trial in 1882 for poisoning his crippled brother-in-law Percy Malcolm John; he was found guilty, sentenced to death, and executed. This book is the first full-length account of the Lamson case since the relevant ‘Notable British Trials’ volume appeared back in 1912.
Using contemporary newspapers, the police and Home Office files at the National Archives, and various other archival sources, it describes Lamson’s adolescence in a distinguished New York family, his successful medical studies in Paris and Edinburgh, and his valiant wartime service as a military surgeon in Serbia and Romania. Things then went rapidly downhill: he failed to establish himself as a general practitioner in Bournemouth, and descended into a maelstrom of drug addiction and moral irresponsibility, ending up a cruel, calculating murderer for the sake of profit.
New light will be shed on Lamson’s motive for the murder, and on his choice of poison; arguments will be presented that the murder of Percy Malcolm John was not the first attempt on the life of this hapless youth by the murderous doctor; nor was he the first victim of this cunning and subtle Victorian poisoner par excellence.