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The Scarlett Widow

By Ernest Dudley

Marguerite Steinheil, the ‘Delilah of Paris’, captured the attention of many admirers, from wealthy industrial magnates to the King of Cambodia.

Her affairs with the rich and powerful caused sensations in Paris, but none more so than her relationship with the President of France, Félix Faure, who died in her arms in his private room at the Elysée.

This was the Paris of Toulouse-Lautrec, wanton and reckless, seething with crime and political intrigue. Marguerite Steinheil’s affairs continued after her eminent lover’s sensational death, until one night in May 1908, when her husband and her mother were both found murdered … and Marguerite herself was accused of the crimes.

She stood trial for her life, and fierce controversy raged around the case. Filled with drama, lies and bizarre mystery, the trial ended with no clear criminal and Marguerite died taking the secret to her grave.

Ernest Dudley’s answer to the enigma of the Steinheil Case, which has puzzled criminologists, lawyers and police the world over, is based on many previously unknown facts. He investigated every possible source, official and private, with the result that the truth about the Scarlett Widow’s guilt or innocence can now be told.

Ernest Dudley ran away from home at seventeen to become an actor in a Shakespearean troop, where he would later meet his future wife on the set of Peter Pan. Dudley then turned his attention to writing, first as a journalist, then as a writer for radio, television and film, before embarking on historical and detective novel writing. He was a founding member of the Crime Writers Association, and a marathon runner well into old age.

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