Arsenic and Clam Chowder Virtual Book Tour October & November ’10

Arsenic and Clam Chowder

Join James Livingston, author of the historical true crime book,  Arsenic and Clam Chowder (SUNY Press), as he virtually tours the blogosphere in October and November on his first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book.

About James Livingston

James Livingston Born June 23, 1930, in Brooklyn, New York, James D. Livingston studied engineering physics at Cornell University and received a PhD in applied physics from Harvard University in 1956. After retiring from General Electric after a lengthy career as a research physicist, he taught in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT. Although a physicist by profession, he has long had a strong interest in American history, and is the coauthor, with Sherry H. Penney, of A Very Dangerous Woman: Martha Wright and Women’s Rights.

You can find out more about James and Arsenic and Clam Chowder at

About Arsenic and Clam Chowder

Arsenic and Clam Chowder recounts the sensational 1896 murder trial of Mary Alice Livingston, a member of one of the most arsenic cover prestigious families in New York, who was accused of murdering her own mother, Evelina Bliss. The bizarre instrument of death, an arsenic-laced pail of clam chowder, had been delivered to the victim by her ten-year-old granddaughter, and Livingston was arrested in her mourning clothes immediately after attending her mother’s funeral. In addition to being the mother of four out-of-wedlock children, the last born in prison while she was awaiting trial, Livingston faced the possibility of being the first woman to be executed in New York’s new-fangled electric chair, and all these lurid details made her arrest and trial the central focus of an all-out circulation war then underway between Joseph Pulitzer’s World and Randolph Hearst’s Journal.

The story is set against the electric backdrop of Gilded Age Manhattan. The arrival of skyscrapers, automobiles, motion pictures, and other modern marvels in the 1890s was transforming urban life with breathtaking speed, just as the battles of reformers against vice, police corruption, and Tammany Hall were transforming the city’s political life. The aspiring politician Teddy Roosevelt, the prolific inventor Thomas Edison, bon vivant Diamond Jim Brady, and his companion Lillian Russell were among Gotham’s larger-than-life personalities, and they all played cameo roles in the dramatic story of Mary Alice Livingston and her arsenic-laced clam chowder. In addition to telling a ripping good story, the book addresses a number of social and legal issues, among them capital punishment, equal rights for women, societal sexual standards, inheritance laws in regard to murder, gender bias of juries, and the meaning of “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Read the Excerpt!

Matricide is a particularly heinous crime, and the arrest of Mary Alice in mourning clothes immediately after attending her mother’s burial drew special notice from the press. That the allegedly poisonous chowder was delivered to the victim by her ten-year-old granddaughter added extra interest; experience had shown that stories involving children always drew considerable attention, particularly among women readers. There was also a substantial inheritance involved, and Mary Alice was a member of the prominent and socially prestigious Livingston family. Money and New York society were reliable attention getters. On top of all this, Mary Alice was the mother of three illegitimate children and pregnant with a fourth. Scandal piled upon scandal. Although this was not the first time that Mary Alice had drawn the attention of the New York newspapers, her 1896 trial for the murder of her mother was to dominate the news for many weeks in the era of “yellow journalism” when papers focused even more attention than usual on sensational stories. Hundreds of thousands of readers in New York and well beyond would become very familiar with the story of Mary Alice, the clam chowder she sent to her mother, and the death of Evelina Bliss.

Here’s what critics are saying about Arsenic and Clam Chowder!

“A sensational story, packed with twists and fascinating revelations. The murder trial of Mary Alice sheds unexpected light on the Gilded Age, and in the future will make us all think twice about clam chowder.”

–Eric Homberger, author of Mrs. Astor’s New York: Money and Social Power in a Gilded Age

“…this is a book that should interest readers beyond historians of the 19th century, journalism, feminism, the death penalty, or simply racy historical scandals. It belongs on library shelves, but should also prove fascinating reading for general readers who might enjoy a window into an age not as different from ours as we might think.”

–Dr. Wesley Britton,

“Arsenic and Clam Chowder is a great read, not just for murder buffs, but for anyone interested in the vibrant years that ended the 19th Century—a time that seems distant and foreign, yet somehow quite familiar. It also raises serious questions on the legal concept of “reasonable doubt”, and answers them with intelligence and candor.”

–Murder by Gaslight

Watch the Trailer!

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Arsenic and Clam Chowder Tour Schedule

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Monday, October 4

Book reviewed at Life in Review

Tuesday, October 5

Interviewed at Pump Up Your Book

Wednesday, October 6

Interviewed at Paperback Writer

Thursday, October 7

Book reviewed at Review from Here

Friday, October 8

Book reviewed at Café of Dreams

Monday, October 11 Books for tour page

Interviewed at The Writer’s Life

Tuesday, October 12

Book reviewed at Book Reviews by Molly

Wednesday, October 13

Guest blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner

Book reviewed at Minding Spot

Thursday, October 14

Interviewed at The Hot Author Report

Friday, October 15

Interviewed at Blogcritics

Tuesday, October 19

Book reviewed at The Book Connection

Wednesday, October 20

Book reviewed A Room without Books is Empty

Thursday, October 21

Interviewed at Examiner

Monday, October 25

Book reviewed at My Favorite Things

Tuesday, October 26

Book reviewed at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, October 27

Book reviewed at Christy’s Book Blog

Friday, October 29

Book reviewed at A Moment with Mystee

Monday, November 1

Interviewed at Beyond the Books

Tuesday, November 2

Guest blogging at Thoughts in Progress

Wednesday, November 3

Book reviewed at Just One More Paragraph

Thursday, November 4

Book reviewed at Carpe Libris

Friday, November 5

Book reviewed at Chrissy’s World of Books

Monday, November 8

Book reviewed at A Bookish Mom

Wednesday, November 10

Guest blogging at Writing Daze

Monday, November 15

Book reviewed at Must Read Faster

Wednesday, November 17

Book reviewed at In the Next Room

Thursday, November 18

Book reviewed at Confessions of an Overworked Mom

Friday, November 19

Book Reviewed at Rundpinne

Tuesday, November 23

Book Reviewed at A Few More Pages

Friday, November 26

Book spotlighted at Book Tours and More

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JAMES LIVINGSTON’S ARSENIC AND CLAM CHOWDER VIRTUAL BLOG TOUR ‘10 will officially begin on October 4  and end on November 26, 2010.  This tour is full and is no longer accepting blog hosts. Thank you for your interest in Jim’s book. We hope you follow his tour to find out more.

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