Viviane Janouin-Benanti

She Poisoned Them with Digitalin

Version française

A True Crime in Bordeaux

In Bordeaux, the capital of the Aquitaine region of France, the diabolical Élisabeth Ducourneau poisoned her victims, one after the other, without ever being suspected of the crimes. It took an anonymous letter to alert the police and put an end to her criminal career. The poison she used, digitalin, is easy to get it taken and leaves barely any trace. It was almost the perfect crime, but what were her motives? In this enthralling novel, you’ll discover an ordinary woman, a devoted wife, an exemplary mother, who becomes a ruthless killer, a killer who could have continued on for much longer if justice had not caught up to her and put her in prison. The punishment for her crimes: the guillotine

This true story, however, is also about the despair of a father who returned broken after Great War and the turmoil of the interwar years in France. With the Second World War approaching, this book plunges us into an intense atmosphere where people are grappling with the rise of fascism and the arrival of refugees fleeing oppressive states, in particular Spaniards running away from Franco’s regime. The story also brings to light antisemitic acts that were on the rise in France, paving the way for the Vichy government.

A captivating true crime novel in which Viviane Janouin-Benanti masterfully finds the words and captures the mood to transport us into another place and time.