Between 1844 and 1868, three women were tried and found guilty of the brutal murder of members of their family by poison at the Lincoln Assizes. Two of them, Eliza Joyce and Priscilla Biggadike, were hanged; the third, Mary Ann Milner, committed suicide in her cell, hours before she was due to be executed.
Drawing upon archive sources and the many divergent accounts in the popular press at the time, Attired in Deepest Mourning is the first comprehensive study of all three cases. It analyses in forensic detail the information, misinformation and fake news which defined the lives and deaths of three Lincolnshire women, both at the time, and subsequently. In addition, it presents hitherto unpublished material which takes the reader beyond the hackneyed narrative of the monstrous female poisoner to a more sympathetic understanding of the pressures and circumstances in which the women lived and died.
Attired in Deepest Mourning is a local study which provides a valuable contribution to a full understanding of crime and punishment in mid-Victorian Britain.