Murder! Mystery! Outrage! Victor Hall, young railway depot master, married to the strikingly older widow of his former employer, was shot dead in his store just hours after someone torched his competitor's business. The sheriff, state investigator, and railroad detectives suspected Hall's business rival until strange circumstances, rumors of poisoning her first husband and of a freakish love interest fixed suspicion on the innocent widow. Even her own Pinkerton detective turned against her! Arsons, frenzy, and conspiracies forced Mrs. Hall's arrest for murder. Civil unrest forced her exile until trial. Cabal, perjury and media sensation secured conviction and sent the widow to prison leaving daughters to fend for themselves. Reason returned, but convoluted politics barred her release. Embarrassment repressed the statewide sensation that newspapers predicted to become ." . . one of the most famous criminal cases in Virginia."

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