The Purcell Nicotine Poison Puzzle

Or, Death of a Composer


A special edition of Yesterday’s News examining some of history’s most perplexing murder mysteries

This episode involves the body of a songwriter and real estate speculator found tied to a chair with an expression of surprise frozen on his dead face and suspicions of suicide.

Wait. What?

Suicide tied to a chair?

The evidence is so jumbled, police are at a loss to explain, but the backstory to the incident and a foray into the worlds of traveling musicians and actors, hints at motives deeply hidden, and possibly scandalous.

This is one that will keep you guessing.

Theme Music by Dave Sams

Incidental music: “The Old Bachelor” by Henry Purcell.

Sound effects:

Trail of the Red Ax


Exploring one of history’s most baffling murder mysteries.

The Villisca Ax Murders Mystery

This episode starts with a brutal axe murder that scandalized the quiet town of Villisca, about 2,000 souls in the summer of 1912, when a family of six and two young visitors were killed in their beds by an assailant wielding a long-handled axe, the family’s own tool, which was left at the scene.

Clues were scant, and it took years for the twists and subplots to emerge, including a string of similar murders, implications that it was a job for hire by a business rival, and a bizarre confession by an itinerant minister five years later.

And for some reason, there seems to be a lot of fortunetellers and clairvoyants in this narrative.

Musical direction by Dave Sams

Horror ambiance by the Klankbeeld team via



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