Massachusetts-based businessman Frederick Small, 47, left his third wife Florence, 35, in their New Vermont lakeside holiday cottage and hurried back to Boston for an urgent business meeting. He seemed positively distraught when police called at his home next day to tell him that the lakeside cottage had burned to the ground and Florence had died in the fire.

His dismay turned to astonishment as the cops snapped handcuffs on him and arrested him for her murder.

Unexpectedly for her killer, Florence’s body had landed in a puddle of swill water when it fell through a burning floor to the cellar below, so that, despite the roaring flames, the upper part of her body didn’t burn. It was clear that she had been repeatedly beaten, and there was a clothes line tightly knotted around her throat.

It was proved that Small had murdered her and as he departed he had left an incendiary bomb with a time fuse in the cottage. He was brought to the gallows at New Hampshire State Prison on Saturday, January 15th, 1918. When asked if he had any last words he remained silent.