• The Devil's Gentleman

  • Privilege, Poison, and the Trial That Ushered in the Twentieth Century
  • By: Harold Schechter
  • Narrated by: Sean Runnette
  • Length: 15 hrs and 12 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (173 ratings)

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The Devil's Gentleman

By: Harold Schechter
Narrated by: Sean Runnette
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Publisher's Summary

The wayward son of a revered Civil War general, Roland Molineux enjoyed good looks, status, and fortune - hardly the qualities of a prime suspect in a series of shocking, merciless cyanide killings. Molineux's subsequent indictment for murder led to two explosive trials and a sex-infused scandal that shocked the nation.

Bringing to life Manhattan's Gilded Age, Schechter captures all the colors of the tumultuous legal proceedings, gathering his own evidence and tackling subjects no one dared address at the time - all in hopes of answering a tantalizing question: what powerfully dark motives could drive the wealthy scion of an eminent New York family to murder?

©2007 Harold Schechter (P)2017 Tantor

What listeners say about The Devil's Gentleman

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A Book Without an Accompanying Wiki Page Is Always A Treat

True Crime fever has swept the nation and between podcasts and websites it's hard to find an American crime story that hasn't been rehashed a thousand times in as many ways.

The Devil's Gentleman is one exception. The information presented in this book can not be found as a whole elsewhere, only scraps of articles and legal documents. Schechter's research is extensive and presenting in an entertaining unbiased manner.

I can't recommend it enough to anyone who loved Starvation Heights, the Mad Sculptor, and anything by Erik Larson.

24 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Narrative History Does Not Get Any Better.

Would you listen to The Devil's Gentleman again? Why?

Absolutely. Many subtle details I want to listen to again.

What other book might you compare The Devil's Gentleman to and why?

Devil in a White City. Not sure I have the title right.

What about Sean Runnette’s performance did you like?

The unhurried, melodic, contemplative, lilting pattern and register.

If you could give The Devil's Gentleman a new subtitle, what would it be?

No alternative title necessary. Perhaps, The Devil and his Disingenuous Mistress.

Any additional comments?

Superb listen. If the reader knows of one nearly as good, please post title in response to this review.

13 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The first crime of the century

Would you listen to The Devil's Gentleman again? Why?

What made this audiobook so fascinating to me was the suspense as the story unfolded. Now that I know how it turned out, I might still listen to it again paying more attention to the many interesting details the author provided to enrich his narrative.

What did you like best about this story?

The author did not just tell a story. He placed it the context of history as a precursor to the sensationalism surrounding celebrity crime today. Before OJ, Phil Spector, Robert Blake, and Conrad Murray, there were the trials of a psychopathic poisoner son of a revered general. The 'yellow' newspapers reported on them fervently feeding America's new obsession. The characters are finely drawn and there are even a few surprises that await the listener.

Have you listened to any of Sean Runnette’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have never heard any of his ther performances but I did enjoy his style, more so as the story progressed and I got used to his voice.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, I could have easily, but that would have made it less enjoyable to me. It's a long story filled with so many interesting details and so better to listen to in sessions.

Any additional comments?

Great story with a good amount of insight into the characters.

4 people found this helpful

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Sorry

Sorry, but I had to return this title. I made two attempts to listen to this book, but just couldn’t do it. I don’t understand all the glowing reviews. It felt like he had to fill the book with trivial information in order to fulfill a commitment for so many words/pages. The narration was fine, but the story was lost in the telling. Have you ever been with someone who when you ask "so how ya do’in?" they begin with the day they born, causing you to interrupt and ask them if you should get a chair? This book was compared positively to those written by Eric Larson - nope 👎, no way, nada! Save your time/money/credits and find another book to listen to.

3 people found this helpful

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Murder in the Gay 's!

Story – 5/5
Narration – 5/5

In “The Devil’s Gentleman”, Harold Schechter tells the story of a gold-digger, a love triangle, and a murder in the Gay ‘90s (that’s the 1890’s for the uninitiated).

This was such an interesting story, not only because of the murder case it covers, but the way the author weaves the story into the history of the period is quite entertaining, especially if you like history! This treatment is very reminiscent of Erik Larson’s “The Devil in the White City”.

Due to the ways the case was handled at trial, the tale seems very long, but the author does a masterful job of keeping the story interesting with other “news” and stories of the period.

The narrator was Sean Runnette (Zombie Fallout), one of the best, IMHO!

Recommendation – if you like your crime with a heaping of history, then dig into this one!

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Long winded

The majority of this book is about the era of which the crimes take place. Often the writer seems to go off on chapter long ramblings of people and events not at all concerned with the case. You could probably skip the first 32 chapters and still get the full details of the crimes. However, some of that random information was interesting and the narration was superb.

1 person found this helpful

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Interesting story

Did not enjoy narrator at all but I managed to get thru the story.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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disappointing ending

The reader was overly dramatic and slow for the entire audiobook. Good thing you can speed it up a bit.

The story was interesting but not entirely compelling.

1 person found this helpful

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Couldn't stop listening

Fascinating story! There's a lot of psychology related to poisoning, it's often known as a "feminine crime." Quite interesting to learn that the first "media driven case" of the century was a male poisoner.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Way too long

For the amount that actually happens in this book, there’s no way it should take 15 hours to listen to it. I appreciate the author’s attempt to paint a portrait of the turn of the century culture, but the endless quotes from newspapers and long-winded speeches from the court room just go on and on.