The Enigma Woman: The Death Sentence of Nellie May Madison / Edition 1

The Enigma Woman: The Death Sentence of Nellie May Madison / Edition 1

by Kathleen A. Cairns
     
 

“Crack shot.” “Enigma woman.” “Good with ponies and pistols.” “A much-married woman.”

 

What if such an unconventional woman—and the press unanimously agreed that Nellie May Madison was indeed unconventional—were to get away with murder? Shortly after her husband’s bullet-riddled body was

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Overview

“Crack shot.” “Enigma woman.” “Good with ponies and pistols.” “A much-married woman.”

 

What if such an unconventional woman—and the press unanimously agreed that Nellie May Madison was indeed unconventional—were to get away with murder? Shortly after her husband’s bullet-riddled body was found in the couple’s Burbank apartment, police issued an all-points bulletin for the “beautiful, dark-haired widow.” The ensuing drama unfolded with all the strange twists and turns of a noir crime novel.      

 

In this intriguing cultural history, Kathleen A. Cairns tells the true tale of the first woman sentenced to death in California, Nellie May Madison. Her story offers a glimpse into law and disorder in 1930s Los Angeles while bringing to life a remarkable character whose plight reflects on the status of woman, the workings of the media and the judiciary system, and the stratification of society in her time. An intriguing cultural history, Cairns’s re-creation of the case from murder to trial to aftermath casts an eye forward to our own love-hate affair with celebrity crimes and our abiding ambivalence about domestic violence abuse as a defense for murder.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780803211414
Publisher:
University of Nebraska Press
Publication date:
05/01/2007
Series:
Women in the West Series
Pages:
316
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

Kathleen A. Cairns is a lecturer in the Department of History at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. She is the author of Front-Page Women Journalists, 1920–1950 (Nebraska 2003).

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations viii

Acknowledgments ix

Prologue 1

1 A Girl from Montana 11

2 Midnight Alibi 31

3 Outlaw Woman 45

4 Enigma Woman 59

5 The Ultimate Penalty 77

6 The People v. Nellie Madison 95

7 The Defense 115

8 Lady Macbeth 133

9 The Verdict 145

10 A Condemned Woman 159

11 An Abused Woman 179

12 The Reprieve 199

13 Life in Prison 219

14 A Traditional Woman 241

Notes 249

Bibliographic Essay 269

Index 289

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