The Enigma Woman: The Death Sentence of Nellie May Madison (Women in the West)

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9780803224506: The Enigma Woman: The Death Sentence of Nellie May Madison (Women in the West)

“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 twists and turns of a noir crime novel.    In this intriguing cultural history, Kathleen A. Cairns tells the tale of Nellie May Madison, the first woman on Death Row in California. 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 women, the workings of the media and the judiciary system, and the stratification of society in her time. Cairns’s re-creation of the case from murder to trial to aftermath also casts an eye forward to our own love-hate affair with celebrity crimes and our abiding ambivalence about domestic violence as a defense for murder.

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About 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).

From Publishers Weekly:

Nellie Madison might have been the first woman executed in California: in 1934, though she claimed innocence, she was convicted of first-degree murder for shooting her husband, Eric Madison, and sentenced to hang. After hiring a new lawyer for her appeal, though, Madison confessed to the crime, describing a marriage filled with emotional and physical abuse and an attempt by Eric to blackmail her after she found him in bed with a much younger woman. Her claim of abuse was supported by similar testimony by one of Eric's ex-wives. Eventually, her sentence was commuted and she was paroled after nine years in prison. Cairns (Front-Page Women Journalists, 1920–1950) wants not to exonerate Madison but to explore the complexity of a woman who she says was reduced to a caricature by the media of the time. Madison did not fit the traditional role of homemaker and mother. Having eloped at the age of 13, she had married several times, was familiar with guns and refused to speak publicly about the crime. Nellie was pegged by the media as a femme fatale, a character out of a noir tale. The author has done considerable research in this well-written true crime chronicle, but what happened in Nellie's bedroom in 1934 still remains an enigma. 15 photos. (May)
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Book Description University of Nebraska Press, United States, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. 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. Bookseller Inventory # AAV9780803224506

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Book Description University of Nebraska Press, United States, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. 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 twists and turns of a noir crime novel. In this intriguing cultural history, Kathleen A. Cairns tells the tale of Nellie May Madison, the first woman on Death Row in California. 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 women, the workings of the media and the judiciary system, and the stratification of society in her time. Cairns s re-creation of the case from murder to trial to aftermath also casts an eye forward to our own love-hate affair with celebrity crimes and our abiding ambivalence about domestic violence as a defense for murder. Bookseller Inventory # AAV9780803224506

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Book Description Bison Books. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 328 pages. Dimensions: 8.4in. x 5.4in. x 0.7in.Crack shot. Enigma woman. Good with ponies and pistols. A much-married woman. What if such an unconventional womanand the press unanimously agreed that Nellie May Madison was indeed unconventionalwere to get away with murder Shortly after her husbands bullet-riddled body was found in the couples Burbank apartment, police issued an all-points bulletin for the beautiful, dark-haired widow. The ensuing drama unfolded with all the twists and turns of a noir crime novel. In this intriguing cultural history, Kathleen A. Cairns tells the tale of Nellie May Madison, the first woman on Death Row in California. 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 women, the workings of the media and the judiciary system, and the stratification of society in her time. Cairnss re-creation of the case from murder to trial to aftermath also casts an eye forward to our own love-hate affair with celebrity crimes and our abiding ambivalence about domestic violence as a defense for murder. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # 9780803224506

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