Foreword; No Wine for the Major; Excuse Fingers; The Major Holds Court; Exhumation of a Murder; Motive and Malady; Rex v Armstrong -- The Prosecution; Rex v Armstrong -- The Defence; Appeal and Execution; Lives and Legends; Bibliography; Index.
Robin Odell acknowledges his debt to the researches of the late Dr Hubert Trumper a medical practitioner in Hay-on-Wye, and the late Joe Gaute, distinguished crime historian and publisher. Their combined efforts sustained over several years brought many insights to bear on the life and trial of Major Armstrong.
Originally published in 1975, and long out of print, this volume in the Classic Crime Series by the British author of Jack the Ripper recounts a case likely to be of more interest to Anglophiles than to general true-crime readers. A moderately successful solicitor in a village on the Welsh border, Herbert Armstrong in 1921 murdered his domineering wife, poisoning her with arsenic. Foul play was not suspected until his only law competitor was seized by symptoms of arsenic poisoning while drinking tea at Armstrong's home. Armstrong was questioned and released on the charge of attempted murder, but then his wife's body was exhumed and his earlier crime became apparent. At a trial replete with the testimony of servants, nurses and government forensic experts, he was found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging, the only solicitor ever to be executed in England. Photos. (May)