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Mystery deaths of two girls in novel
11:00am Wednesday 20th March 2013 in News
AN official launch for a new tale of mystery and manslaughter in 19th-century Malvern is taking place this month.
Australian author Pauline Conolly has chosen to base her first full-length work on the true tale of wealthy water-cure practitioner James Marsden.
Dr Marsden, who was based in Great Malvern and counted the likes of Charles Darwin and Alfred Tennyson among his contemporaries, sent his five daughters to Paris in 1852 under the care of governess Celestine Doudet.
Within weeks she had accused the girls of “selfabuse”
and Dr Marsden told the governess to do everything in her power to “cure” them.
By the autumn two of them were dead and Doudet stood trial for manslaughter and cruelty.
But The Water Doctor’s Daughters also questions whether their “autocratic, blindly-ambitious” father was not more culpable in their deaths.
The launch, hosted by Malvern Book Cooperative, is taking place at the Foley Arms Hotel at 2pm on Saturday, March 23.