The Enigma Woman : The Death Sentence of Nellie May Madison, Paperback / softback Book

The Enigma Woman : The Death Sentence of Nellie May Madison Paperback / softback

Part of the Women in the West series


"Crack shot." "Enigma woman." "Good with ponies and pistols." "A much-married woman."What if such an unconventional woman-and the press unanimously agreed that Nellie May Madison was indeed unconventional-were to get away with murder?

Shortly after her husband's bullet-riddled body was found in the couple's Burbank apartment, police issued an all-points bulletin for the "beautiful, dark-haired widow." The ensuing drama unfolded with all the twists and turns of a noir crime novel. In this intriguing cultural history, Kathleen A. Cairns tells the tale of Nellie May Madison, the first woman on Death Row in California.

Her story offers a glimpse into law and disorder in 1930s Los Angeles while bringing to life a remarkable character whose plight reflects on the status of women, the workings of the media and the judiciary system, and the stratification of society in her time.

Cairns's re-creation of the case from murder to trial to aftermath also casts an eye forward to our own love-hate affair with celebrity crimes and our abiding ambivalence about domestic violence as a defense for murder.


  • Format: Paperback / softback
  • Pages: 328 pages, 16 photographs
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: True crime
  • ISBN: 9780803224506



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