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The Poison Plot: A Tale of Adultery and Murder in Colonial Newport by Elaine Forman Crane

The Poison Plot: A Tale of Adultery and Murder in Colonial Newport by Elaine Forman Crane

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Elaine Forman Crane invites readers into the salacious domestic life of Mary and Benedict Arnold and reveals the seamy side of colonial Newport. The surprise of The Poison Plot, however, is not the outrageous acts of Mary or the peculiar fact that attempted murder was not a convictable offense in Rhode Island. As Crane shows with style, Mary’s case was remarkable precisely because adultery, criminality and theft, and even spousal homicide were well known in the New England colonies. Assumptions of Puritan propriety are overturned by the facts of rough and tumble life in a port city: money was to be made, pleasure was to be had, and if marriage became an obstacle to those pursuits a woman had means to set things right. (Cornell University Press)

Cornell University Press, May 2018, Hardcover, 272 pages.