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Writing History & Mysteries

When I'm not delving into historical research, I'm planning a character's demise.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Bread and Butter Murders 08

Hoag Family Plot - Alabama Center Cemetery, Alabama, NY
SETUP: We left off last time with Polly preparing for the final doses of arsenic to do away with her husband. She didn't realize her nine-year-old son was curious as to what she was doing as she laced her husband's brandy. Family friends who came by to stay by their poor friend Henry in his illness had no clue he would never get better.


 According to Andrew Davis, Polly laid on the lounge all night next to her husband’s bed and got up often to wait on him. She waited on him not to be a dutiful wife, as it appeared to all, but to make sure Henry continued to get his doses of arsenic laced brandy and tea.

At three or four in the morning, George offered to go again for the doctor if Polly wished him to do so. Polly said that if he thought a doctor would do any good she wanted one called. In the middle of the night, George Lester went once again to fetch Dr. Townsend for his ailing brother-in-law Henry. George immediately went back to the farm after speaking to the doctor. Townsend grabbed his medical bag—for all the good it would do him—and drove his buggy up to the Hoags. Henry was at death’s door when George got back, and by the time Dr. Townsend got there it was too late—Henry was already dead.

In 1856, in the rural town of Alabama, NY one woman's family suffered from multiple unexplained deaths. The town folk grew suspicious of the now remarried Polly Frisch. An investigation commenced, bodies were exhumed, an affair—exposed. Polly would be arrested for the murders of her first husband and daughters. Her fourteen-year-old son would testify against her. If found guilty, the punishment for such a crime was the gallows. Bread & Butter is the true story of Polly Frisch who poisoned her family with arsenic and the five trials it took to convict her.

The link to the other Weekend Writing Warriors is here. You're bound to find something to pique your interest.

The Sunday Snippet writer's on Facebook are here. Between the two there is something for everyone. Thank you for any comments you leave me. Much appreciated!

The above excerpt is from Bread & Butter: The Murders of Polly Frisch, an 1850s true crime co-authored with my friend, Ellen Bachorski in 2000. We are re-releasing it into the modern world of POD in both soft and hard covers, as well as Nook, Kindle, etc. with a new cover, fresh edits and new info. Due for release in On April 1, 2014. 



  1. What a horrible woman. And even though I know she was caught---or there wouldn't be a book---they way these passages are written, I'm still waiting to see if she gets away with it. That's talent, Cindy! :D

  2. Man, you just don't think about people decades ago being this devious. This is a riveting story the way you tell it.

  3. Very well told but so grim (which isn't a criticism - it has to be that way, given the topic). She was really an awful person!

  4. Sure, go get a doctor if you think it'll do any good...evil, evil, evil. Can't wait to read the whole story start to finish Cindy!

  5. This snippet makes me sad all over again. And it's only the beginning !!! Great snippet, Cindy !

  6. Oh Wicked woman! I have a feeling she will be caught out and look forward to that! Great snippet.

  7. Good heavens, that woman was sick in the head. Nicely done, Cindy. :)

  8. I'm excited for this to come out. (And my best friend is also eager to read it.) Be sure to post a link to it when it's out!

  9. Polly is so evil! Nice job--looking forward to seeing the finished product when it comes out.


  10. I had to take a deep cleansing breath after read this, Cindy. Evil personified. And you state just the facts, Ms., so well. Wonderful.

  11. Truth always trumps fiction. I don't remember -- was she caught?

  12. Yep. She was caught... after a while.

  13. Horrible woman. Was she just very selfish, the kind of person who thought no one really mattered but her?

  14. I love how she gives the impression that she's waiting by his side out of concern and not to ensure he's meeting his maker. Very cleverly written, Cindy!

  15. Gruesome incident made very real by your excellent account.

  16. Such a vile, evil, sociopath! If there's a hereafter, she's burning... I bet the book is quite interesting--recalling all it took to finally get her convicted. Good snippet, Cindy! :-)

  17. Wow. It's hard to imagine why anyone would do something like this. Excellent, chilling excerpt.

  18. Yep, that lady's got scary down all right. Nice, dutiful poisoner. o.O

  19. She really looks dutiful on something at least.


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Available in paperback and eBook formats

Available in paperback and eBook formats

Now Available At:

Barnes & Noble
The History Press

Carried by over 20 college/university libraries across the county, according to daily updates by worldcat.org, including Columbia University, Oklahoma State, Texas A & M, and Yale University Law Library.


APRIL 2nd,11-1 PM
The Book Shoppe - Medina, NY

APRIL 16th, 2 PM
Barnes & Noble - Pittsfield, MA

APRIL 19th, 7 PM
Tonawanda Indian Reservation Historical Society,
Tonawanda Indian Community Center- Akron, NY

MAY 14th, 1 PM
Seneca Iroquois National Museum - Salamanca, NY

May 17th, 6 PM Warsaw Public Library - Warsaw, NY

AUG 9TH, 7 pm Hoss's Country Corner -2016 Author's Night- Long Lake, NY

AUG 25TH 6 PM Akwesasne Cultural Center - Hogansburg, NY

More to announce as they are confirmed.

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Bread & Butter the Murders of Polly Frisch

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