ῳ Importance of text ↓ Conan Doyle for the Defense: The True Story of a Sensational British Murder, a Quest for Justice, and the  World's Most Famous Detective Writer  ῾ PDF Author Margalit Fox ” ῳ Importance of text ↓ Conan Doyle for the Defense: The True Story of a Sensational British Murder, a Quest for Justice, and the World's Most Famous Detective Writer ῾ PDF Author Margalit Fox ” Chapter 1A Footfall on the StairIn Glasgow at the turn of the twentieth century, there lived an old lady whom few people liked Her name was Marion Gilchrist, and on December 21, 1908, which was to be the last day of her life, Miss Gilchristan upright, formidable, churchgoing woman of robust health and impeccable breedingwas a few weeks shy of her eighty third birthday.The city in which she lived was a vast, forbidding place of cobblestones, soot, and damp Industrialization had urbanized Glasgow, as it had much of the Western world Cities, their skies black with coal, gorged themselves on the surrounding countryside suburbs sprang up to which solid middle class men could return after a day at the office and men and women from the country, less well heeled than these new suburbanites, thronged the cities in search of work In 1900, Glasgows population of than three quarters of a million made it, after London, the second largest city in Britain.By the late nineteenth century, as British cities teemed with new inhabitants, crime rates rose and established residents came to be afflicted with a new, urban, and distinctly modern anxiety For the middle and upper classes, it centered acutely on the protection of property, coalescing in particular around city dwellers who were not members of the bourgeoisie These included the working class, the poor, new immigrants, and Jews, all of whom were viewed increasingly as agents of social contagiona threat in urgent need of containment.Newspapers and magazines of the period couched this anxiety in language that turned heavily on metaphors of invasion In the spring of 1909, after Slater was convicted of Miss Gilchrists murder, many publications decried his arrival on British soil in just such terms, one likening him to a vampire, a time honored pejorative applied to Jews.Now an alien breed has come in, the Bailie, a respected Glasgow magazine, said that year Great Britainopens her arms to the foreign scummole ish blackguards are on the prowl in the community The Edinburgh Evening News wrote that Slaters trial has cast a lurid light on the dark places of our great cities, in which such wretches ply their calling It shows a brood of alien vampires, lost to conscience, crawling in black depths and the basement of civilised society.Even by the standards of a frightened age, Marion Gilchrist was a remarkably frightened woman She was born in Glasgow on January 18, 1826, the daughter of James Gilchrist, a prosperous engineer In later years, after her mothers death, Miss Gilchrist, who never married, remained at home to care for her father Before he died, she appears to have persuaded him to leave the bulk of his estate to her as a result, she wound up far wealthier than any of her siblings.Miss Gilchrist had a bevy of nieces and nephews, though she seemed not to care much for them, nor they for her Miss Gilchrist was not on good terms with her relations, her niece Margaret Birrell, who lived nearby, told the police after the murder Few if any visited her.Among the rare people with whom Miss Gilchrist enjoyed a warm relationship was a former maid, Maggie Galbraith Ferguson, and her daughter, Marion Gilchrist Ferguson, named for her mothers old employer On November 20, 1908, a month before she died, Miss Gilchrist altered her will The previous version, which had been drawn up just six months earlier, had divided her estatevalued at than 15,000 and including jewelry, paintings, furniture, silver, and considerable cash reservesamong various nieces and nephews The new will left the balance of the estate to Maggie and Marion Ferguson.For thirty years before her death, Miss Gilchrist had lived in tasteful near solitude in a large flat at 49 West Princes Street, a wide avenue that dips through north central Glasgow from northwest to southeast Lined with Victorian row houses and long home to middle and upper middle class professionals, her neighborhood was at the turn of the twentieth century a quiet, elegant oasis After her murder, as if to emphasize the exquisite inappropriateness of Miss Gilchrist as a victim, newspaper accounts took pains to describe the gentility of her part of town.Miss Gilchrist lived alone except for her maid, a twenty one year old Scotswoman named Helen Lambie A likeable, high spirited, superficial and unreflective girl, as she has been called, Lambie, known as Nellie, had worked for Miss Gilchrist for three years By all accounts the two women got on well, but it is striking that a previous employer, Agnes Guthrie, described her as a very good domestic worker, but most illiterate, of rather a low mentality, very cunning and not at all trustworthy in her standards Over the two decades that followed Miss Gilchrists murder, Lambies behavior suggested that she knew about the crime than she would ever discloseincluding, quite probably, the real killers identity.The southeast segment of West Princes Street, where Miss Gilchrists home stood, was also called Queens Terrace, and her address was sometimes rendered as 15 Queens Terrace Her building was a handsome three story structure erected in about 1850 her flat took up the entire second story The ground floor flat the maindoor house, in the Scottish parlance of the day was occupied by a family of musicians named Adams a mother her grown son, Arthur and a flock of grown daughters Their flat had its own door onto the street, 14 Queens Terrace, which stood alongside Miss Gilchrists The third floor flat, directly above Miss Gilchrists, was, in the winter of 1908, vacant.To reach Miss Gilchrists flat, a visitor mounted a few steps from the pavement, passed through the street door of No 15, and entered the vestibule cum stairwell known in Scotland as a close Inside the close, he ascended the staircase that led to the upper floors, climbing a single flight to the first landing, where Miss Gilchrists front door stood The door opened into a large entrance hall To the left of the hall, its windows overlooking West Princes Street, lay the dining room, appointed, like the rest of the flat, with heavy Victorian furniture and paintings in lavish frames To the right was the drawing room at the rear were the kitchen, parlor, two bedrooms, and a bathroom Miss Gilchrist slept in the smaller of the two bedrooms, using the larger one as a combination spare room and dressing room It was in this spare room that the drama of the Slater case first played out, for it was there that Miss Gilchrist stored most of her jewels.For a woman of her time and class, Miss Gilchrist lived fairly unostentatiously except for one great indulgence jewelry Over the years she amassed an extensive collection, which included rings set with diamonds, emeralds, and rubies bracelets of gold, silver, pearl, and turquoise pearl and diamond necklaces diamond earrings and a great deal else She seemed to have a particular fondness for brooches, and her collection contained a spate of them brooches set with pearls, onyx, garnets, rubies, and topaz a trio of star shaped diamond brooches and, fatefully for Slater, a crescent shaped brooch set with diamonds At her death, the collection, comprising nearly a hundred items, was valued at some 3,000.She seldom wore her jewelry save in single pieces, Conan Doyle wrote in 1912 It was a fearful joy which she snatched from its possession, for she than once expressed apprehension that she might be attacked and robbed To thwart robbery, Miss Gilchrist hid her jewels in curious places, forgoing the safe in her parlor for the wardrobe in the spare bedroom, where she secreted them between layers of clothing or in a detachable pocket with a string on it, as the British journalist Peter Hunt wrote in his 1951 book on the case She pinned other pieces behind the drapes and slipped still others into pockets of dresses.She also turned her flat into a fortress Againstunwelcome intrusion, Miss Gilchrist had devised several formidable precautions, Hunt wrote The back windows were kept locked There were no less than three locks on the house door a common lock, patent lock and a Chubb There were, in addition, a bolt and chain When fully primed the door was virtually burglar proof.Anyone visiting No 15 would have to pull a bell, downstairs, outside the close door There was a lever, inside the hall of Miss Gilchrists flat which operated the fastenings of the downstairs door In this way Miss Gilchrist, on hearing the bell, could release the downstairs door from inside her own flat, open her flat door and see who was coming up the stairs If the visitor looked sinister she had plenty of time, if she wished, to get back inside her flat and close the door on him There is evidence to show that, when alone, she would admit no one except by pre arranged signal.Miss Gilchrist arranged another signal with her downstairs neighbors, the Adamses If she were ever in distress and needed help, she told them, she would knock three times on the floor On the evening of December 21, 1908, the Adamses would hear those knocks for the first and only time.In the autumn of 1908, Oscar Slatergambler, Beau Brummell, and happy go lucky world travelercame to Glasgow He had lived there at least twice before, in the very early years of the twentieth century since leaving Germany as a youth, he had also lived in New York, London, Paris, and Brussels In 1901, during his first documented Glasgow stay, he married a local woman, Mary Curtis Pryor, an alcoholic who was constantly after him for money Separated from her soon afterward, Slater resumed his travels, living under a series of aliases partly to confound her efforts to trace him He was known to have lived briefly again in Glasgow in 1905 before pulling up stakes once .Slater arrived in Glasgow for what appeared to be the third time on October 29, 1908 A few days later he was joined by his mistress, Andre Junio Antoine known professionally as Madame Junio and familiarly as Antoine , and their maid, Catherine Schmalz He spent the next few weeks settling in and, unwittingly, forging the first links in the chain of circumstantial evidence that would soon be drawn around him Under the pseudonym Anderson, he rented a flat at 69 St Georges Road, a north south thoroughfare in central Glasgow that crosses West Princes Street the building was little than five minutes walk from Miss Gilchrists home That turned out to be the first link in the chain.On November 10, Slater went to a hardware store and bought a set of inexpensive tools with which to fix up his new flat Those toolsin particular the small hammer that came with the setbecame the chains second link In early December, needing to have his watch repaired, he mailed it to Dents, a London watchmaker That would provide the third link.By then, Slater had already visited a Glasgow pawnbroker, where, in exchange for an initial loan of 20, he left a crescent shaped brooch set with diamonds That was the fourth, and most damning, link of all.That autumn, strange things had begun happening in and around Miss Gilchrists house In September 1908, her Irish terrier fell ill and died Helen Lambie thought it had accidentally eaten something poisonous the old woman believed that something far deliberate was at work Then, during the first three weeks of December, as than a dozen local residents would later say, a man was seen loitering in West Princes Street He seemed to be watching Miss Gilchrists house.The watcher was seen at irregular times and in varying types of clothing, Peter Hunt wrote As described by some witnesses, his attire included checked trousers, fawn spats, and brown boots There was subsequently some confusion as to his appearance One says he had a moustache another says he did not one says he did not speak like a foreigner others say he looked like a foreigner.In mid December, about a week before Miss Gilchrists murder, an agitated Helen Lambie paid a surprise visit to her ex employer, Agnes Guthrie As Guthrie later recalled, Lambie had much to say about recent goings on in the Gilchrist home I was informed by her that she had some remarkable experiences at the house of Miss Gilchrist, Guthrie said She gave me a very long story about her peculiarities Miss Gilchrist had a lot of jewellery and had taken unusual ways to secrete it in the house, under carpets, etc., and had told her that she felt sure there was a man coming to murder her, and that the dog had been poisoned.The truly surprising thing, which Lambie implied in a later conversation with Guthrieand confirmed outright to Miss Gilchrists niece Margaret Birrell immediately after the murderwas this It was no random stranger whom Miss Gilchrist feared but instead one or people she knew very well.On the afternoon of Monday, December 21, 1908, Miss Gilchrist left her flat to pay bills, returning at about four thirty for tea That nighta rainy eveningat five minutes to seven, one of the Adams sisters, Rowena Adams Liddell, was walking back to Queens Terrace with her mother As they approached their front door, she saw the watcher gazing up at the building As she later testified for the prosecution at Slaters trial Before I reached the door of the house I saw a dark form leaning against the railing, just under my mothers dining room window I gave a good starealmost a rude stareand I took in the face entirely, except that I did not see his eyes He had a long nose, with a most peculiar dip from here pointing to the bridge of the nose You could not see that dip amongst thousands He had a very clear complexion not a sallow nor a white pallor, but something of an ivory colour He was very dark, clean shaven, and very broad in this part of the head points to the cheekbone or temple He had a low down collar His cap was an ordinary cap, I think, of a brownish tweed He was very respectable After I passed him I looked over my shoulder, and he glided from the railing and disappeared.At a minute or two before seven, Helen Lambie left her mistresss house to buy Miss Gilchrists evening paper She planned, once she returned with it, to go out again to do the household shopping From Miss Gilchrist, who sat by the dining room fire reading a magazine, Lambie obtained a penny for the newspaper and a half sovereign for the other purchases Taking the penny but leaving the half sovereign on the dining room table, Lambie left the flat.Lambie took the keys with her, shut the flat door, closed the hall door downstairs, and was gone about ten minutes upon her errand, Conan Doyle wrote It is the events of those ten minutes which form the tragedy and the mystery where were so soon to engage the attention of the public.Directly below Miss Gilchrists flat, Arthur Montague Adams, a forty year old flutist and musical instrument dealer, sat wrapping a Christmas present At seven oclock, Adams, his sister Rowena, and another sister, Laura, heard a loud thud from above Three sharp knocks followed.To reach Miss Gilchrists flat, Adams had to exit his own front door at 14 Queens Terrace and ring the bell of the close door at No 15 Stepping outside, he was surprised to see the close door standing open He climbed the stairs to Miss Gilchrists landing and pulled the bell rope at her front door I rang hardrude rings, Adams later testified There was no answer Listening for any sound from within, Adams heard something like splintering wood he assumed, he said, that it was Lambie breaking sticks in the kitchen for kindling Hearing nothing , he returned to his flat and told his sisters that everything seemed to be all right.Gripping The book works on two levels, much like a good Holmes case First, it isa fluid story of a crime Second, and pertinently, it isa deeper story of how prejudice against a class of people, the covering up of sloppy police work and a poisonous political atmosphere can doom an innocent We should all heed Holmess salutary lesson rationally follow the facts to find the truth TimeSplendid The ingredients are too good to pass up a famous detective novelist actually playing detective, a man serving time for a murder he did not commit, and a criminal justice system slowly, and reluctantly, reckoning with the advent of forensic science.Sarah Weinman , The New RepublicEntertaining Newsday Expertly constructed, this work will appeal to Conan Doyle fans and is ideal for all true crime collections Library Journal starred review Margalit Fox does her own detective work in unpicking the opposing personalities and careers of her protagonists Like a good murder mystery, Conan Doyle for the Defenseis a fast paced read that twists and turns with the panache of a Holmes short story The Times A brisk account of the celebrated novelists campaign to overturn a controversial murder conviction Foxs extensive research into turn of the century Scotland results in enlightening chapters about the eras tensions, such as the battle between ancient bigotries and a surging faith in scientific inquiry Star Tribune Compelling, lucid and indignant It reminds one that the presumption of innocence is a legal principle, and that it is better that a guilty man goes free than an innocent one is convicted The Scotsman Fox deftly deconstructs this case with page turning reportage and a studious analysis of the settingnotably the anti Semitism that helped lead to the false conviction Conan Doyle is presented in all his intellectual glory, almost as impressive as his world famous character.Holmesians will appreciate reading about both the development of forensic science and their favorite author as a real life person managing life and death stakes British Heritage Travel Fox shows the new system of forensic science, as typified by Doyles great creation Sherlock Holmes She wants us to see that the racialisation of crime is nothing new bad science and economic insecurity have long been responsible for creating out groups on whom we dump our worst terrors The Guardian Fox expertly frames the case of Oscar Slater as another example of scapegoating If you are a Holmes devotee, you will love watching his creator take apart a flimsy criminal case through reason and meticulous examination of the evidence The Seattle Times Foxs engrossing book brings his case back to vivid life and highlights the part played in it by the creator of the worlds most famous detective The Daily Mail Absorbing From the get go, Fox demonstrates her eye for the telling detail and her innate sense of pacing and suspense At a time when bias can and does still land innocents in jail, the relevance of the Slater case remains all too clear The Jewish Week Riveting The National Book Review Sir Arthur Ignatius KStJ DL May July was a British writer best known for his detective fiction featuring the character Sherlock HolmesOriginally physician, in he published A Study Scarlet, first of four novels about Holmes and Dr WatsonIn addition, wrote over fifty short stories famous Conan Doyle for the Defense: The True Story of a Sensational British Murder, a Quest for Justice, and the World's Most Famous Detective Writer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *