The Pimlico Mystery

Here's a fun murder mystery for you guys. Found this one Futility Closet's blog here.

"On Dec. 28, 1885, London grocer Edwin Bartlett was discovered dead in his bed. In his stomach was a fatal quantity of chloroform, but, strangely, his throat and larynx showed no signs of the burning that liquid chloroform should have caused [from being ingested].

"Bartlett’s wife, Adelaide, was having an open romance with George Dyson, a local minister. It transpired that she had induced him to buy chloroform at local pharmacies in quantities too small to provoke suspicion, ostensibly to help treat Edwin, who was undergoing painful dental surgeries.

"At trial, Adelaide’s defense was simply that she had no way to get the chloroform into Edwin’s stomach without passing it down his throat. The jury let her go.

"'Now that Mrs. Bartlett has been acquitted,' remarked pathologist Sir James Paget afterward, 'she should tell us, in the interests of science, how she did it.' Adelaide made no response. The puzzle of Edwin’s death has never been solved."

The only thing I can think of–and I have no idea if this is even possible–is that perhaps she injected it into his stomach with a long needle, maybe even by angling up through his belly button so there would be no noticeable mark? Medical people who read this blog (looking at you, Boyfriend's parents), is this a thing?

I think I just cracked this case AND became a doctor. A perilously ignorant one.

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3 Responses to The Pimlico Mystery

  1. hibiscusrose says:

    My husband’s first thought as I read this to him was “a syringe?” It sounds reasonable, although neither of us are medical people (despite his jokes about having studied under Dr House). My only question would then be about making sure it ended up in the stomach and not elsewhere in the abdominal cavity. Let us know if you get confirmation if it’s a viable theory?


  2. tucker_liz says:

    I was thinking more an enema. Whether that would be possible or not, I don’t know, but it would leave no mark, would bypass the throat.


  3. Anonymous says:

    Mixed with something oily perhaps, to coat the tissue and prevent damage?


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