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Dr. Hollis A. Palmer
2011 Winner
Ruth Emery Award

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Curse of the Veiled Murderess exemplifies Palmer’s ability to find unique twisted tales. This is the story of a woman known as Mrs. Robinson. In reality she was the mistress of one of the most powerful men in the state. In 1853, she was charged with poisoning two of her neighbors, even though there was no motive. The crime, and all of its ramifications, rocked the social foundations of the city of Troy.

This tale includes not only a critical examination of the crime, it also looks at the politics, wealth, social issues and the conflict inherent in the value system of Victorian society. There are a series of questions explored including who committed the crime, the woman’s sanity and the accused woman’s true identity. Add to those elements how the women’s movement took on her case as a cause, saying she was not tried by a jury of her peers (the entire jury was male).

But all of that is only the beginning; there is also the curse that was to fall on every family of the eight lawyers involved in her downfall.

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