Murder at the Priory

Robert Tertius Campbell and his wife, Ann Orr, had seven children. Their eldest daughter, Florence, married Charles Bravo, as her second husband. His death from antimony poisoning in 1876 at their home, The Priory, in Balham, led to a sensational inquest. Mrs Bravo became famous overnight as the central figure in one of the most dramatic causes célèbres of the nineteenth century.


A coroner’s inquest produced sensational testimony about Florence’s love affair with a prominent physician named James Gully, providing sizzling copy to the newspapers for weeks. After five weeks of inquiry, however, the jurors announced that insufficient evidence existed to name a murderer. Since then, a considerable number of books have been written on the subject, and many views – including those of Agatha Christie – expressed about the identity of the perpetrator.  How Charles Bravo Died (1956), by Yseult Bridges, discusses every aspect of the case and offers a dramatic solution to the mystery, while the most recent book to appear on the subject is Death at The Priory, by James Ruddick (Atlantic Books, 2003).



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