• The Trials of Laura Fair

  • Sex, Murder, and Insanity in the Victorian West
  • By: Carole Haber
  • Narrated by: Pam Ward
  • Length: 10 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 01-08-13
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • 2 out of 5 stars 2.0 (1 rating)


On November 3, 1870, on a San Francisco ferry, Laura Fair shot a bullet into the heart of her married lover, A. P. Crittenden. Throughout her two murder trials, Fair's lawyers, supported by expert testimony from physicians, claimed that the shooting was the result of temporary insanity caused by a severely painful menstrual cycle. The first jury disregarded such testimony, choosing instead to focus on Fair's disreputable character. In the second trial, however, an effective defense built on contemporary medical beliefs and gendered stereotypes led to a verdict that shocked Americans across the country.
In this rousing history, Carole Haber probes changing ideas about morality and immorality, masculinity and femininity, love and marriage, health and disease, and mental illness to show that all these concepts were reinvented in the Victorian West.
Haber's book examines the era's most controversial issues, including suffrage, the gendered courts, women's physiology, and free love. This notorious story enriches our understanding of Victorian society, opening the door to a discussion about the ways in which reputation, especially female reputation, is shaped.
©2013 Carole Haber (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By Gillian on 20-06-14

Hard work!

Would you try another book written by Carole Haber or narrated by Pam Ward?

The narrator did her best, never say never with regard to the author

What could Carole Haber have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

The author has obviously researched her subject exhaustively but that's the problem, it was equally tiring to listen to. In fact, as much as I wanted to know what happened to Laura Fair, it was easier to google the answer than endure listening to the second part of this book.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Pam Ward?

I felt the narrator did her very best to make this book interesting.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Trials of Laura Fair?

As stated, it was well researched but there was far too much detail which made the book protracted and tedious. I think it could have been condensed without cutting scenes necessarily.

Any additional comments?

I have tried to listen to this book a couple of times but I never get passed the first half of this audio book. It had the potential to be a great listen but was just too wordy and drawn out for my personal liking. I have returned this book without finishing it and reverted to google to find out what happened to Laura Fair!

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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