When baby dies suddenly and within days mother also dies, mysteriously and in agony, and all this happens just as dad has a new girl friend – well, there are at least grounds for suspicion.

Dad was Oscar Comery, 31, distinguished as one of the first full-time car mechanics in the new motor age in Manchester, New Hampshire. Sensing the future for automobiles, Comery had studied the internal combustion engine as a teenager and as the 20th century dawned he was making a good living from car repairs.

But despite his married status he was squandering the profits on women. When his wife in her death agony confided certain misgivings to the minister who was to conduct her funeral, the clergyman went to the police. The body of Bertha Comery was exhumed and found to be saturated with strychnine. Comery had bought the poison from a local chemist ostensibly for the purpose of putting down a dog.

He pleaded guilty to his wife’s murder in anticipation of a custodial sentence, but then the court was told that he had been sleeping with his latest girl friend since she was 12. The jury decided that this was too much to stomach – and sentenced him to die. He was hanged on Friday, February 18th, 1916, at New Hampshire State Prison.