Thursday, January 8, 2009

Marie-Madeleine-Marguerite d\'Aubray, Marquise de Brinvilliers

Marie Madeleine Marguerite d'Aubray, Marquise de Brinvilliers, 1676, after her emprisonment, portrait by Charles LeBrun.

The Marquise de Brinvilliers being tortured before her beheading.

Marie-Madeleine-Marguerite d'Aubray, Marquise de Brinvilliers (1630 – July 17, 1676) was a French serial killer.


[edit] Crimes

De Brinvilliers poisoned her father, brother, and two sisters in order to inherit their property, with the help of her lover, army captain Godin de Sainte-Croix. There were also rumours that she had poisoned poor people during her visits to hospitals.

The poison she used appears to have been the Tofana poison, an art which one of her lovers taught her. She was acquainted with Exili, another poisoner of the seventeenth century.[dubious ]

She fled but was arrested in Liège.

[edit] Execution

She was forced to confess, and sentenced to death. On July 17, 1676, she was forced to drink 16 pints of water, and then was beheaded and burned at the stake.

The trial of the Marquise de Brinvilliers led to the Poison affair.

[edit] Fictional portrayals

Her case was portrayed fictionally by Arthur Conan Doyle in "The Leather Funnel", by Alexandre Dumas, père in "The Marquise de Brinvilliers", and by Émile Gaboriau in "Intrigues of a Poisoner". Robert Browning's 1846 poem "The Laboratory" imagines an incident in the life of Marie Madeleine Marguerite d'Aubray Brinvilliers. Her capture & burning is mentioned in The Oracle Glass by Judith Merkle Riley. In the novel The Burning Court by John Dickson Carr, the plot concerns a murder that seems to have been committed by the ghost of Marie d'Aubray Brinvilliers.

[edit] References

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