Nov 15, 2023
In this episode of Grating the Nutmeg, Natalie Belanger sits down with acclaimed crime writer M. William Phelps to get to the bottom of a notorious early 20th century Connecticut murder story. In the 1910s, Amy Archer Gilligan operated an innovative business in Windsor: a convalescent home for the ill and elderly. Her benevolent facade, however, hid a deadly purpose: a business plan that depended on constant inmate turnover, aided by arsenic poisoning. You'll hear all about how the case was broken by a neighbor who happened to write for the Hartford Courant, in a story involving midnight graveyard autopsies, poisoned lemonade, a shady doctor, and the birth of the Connecticut State Police. And oh yeah, the story got turned into a blockbuster Broadway comedy and a 1944 movie starring Cary Grant.
If you want more historical true crime content, check out the latest exhibition at the Connecticut Museum of Culture and History. Called "Connecticut's Bookshelf," the exhibit covers 300 years of reading, writing, and publishing in our state. A "true crime" section in the exhibit features stories that document Connecticut's centuries-old fascination with criminal mayhem. Go to connecticutmuseum.org for details.
Thanks to our guest! M. William Phelps is the author of 45 books; exec-producer, writer and host of the #1 true-crime podcast franchise Paper Ghosts; a frequent television consultant and contributor, and more.
Contact Natalie Belanger at the Connecticut Museum of Culture and History, Hartford, Connecticut.
Grating the Nutmeg brings you top-flight historians, compelling first-person stories, and new voices in Connecticut history. Your donation will ensure that Executive Producers Mary Donohue and Natalie Belanger can bring you a fresh episode at no cost every two weeks! GTN works with museums around the state to spotlight places that you’ll want to visit, books published by Connecticut authors, new exhibit openings, and more.
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