Infidelity and Murder - the Carew case in Yokohama had both and more - a mysterious former lover; a falsely accused maid; disappearing evidence; and the highest British official in Japan giving evidence against her.
It was the most scandalous case in the history of the British courts in China and Japan and is still written about to day. Edith Carew, the wealthy upper class daughter of the mayor of Glastonbury (she spoke with a "cut glass accent") killed her philandering, hard partying and less wealthy husband by poisoning him at their home at 169 The Bluff Yokohama. Walter had been in the habit of taking arsenic to treat venereal diseases. Edith gave him an extra dose.
The old photo shows the family with their three children and their maid, Mary Jacob in happier times. Following the murder, Edith claimed that a mysterious woman Walter's former lover, Annie Luke, had been to their house looking for Walter. Mysterious notes in Annie's name were sent to the judge and prosecutor claiming responsibility and saying that Annie and Walter had met and "we between us electrify Japan". Later, Edith accused Mary Jacob of the murder. This was all the product of Edith's tortured and demented mind.
In court, Edith hid in her sleeve a letter from her lover Harry Dickinson (who was forced to read the letter out in court) and Sir Ernest Satow, British Minister in Japan came to court to give evidence against Edith. After a long trial, the British jury convicted Edith of murder.
What has happened to their house on the Bluff? I visited yesterday. it is located at the very Eastern end of the Bluff just as the road heads downhill. While many of the lots where the former grand homes of foreigners were built remain - now the homes of rich Japanese - the Carew's house has become a small private hospital. Perhaps appropriately, the hospital treats nervous and psychiatric illnesses. One wonders if the patients are aware of the painful past that haunts this site.
Walter rests, perhaps not in complete peace, in the Yokohama Foreigner's Cemetery 20 minutes walk away on the Bluff overlooking Yokohama. Edith as a final farewell had the following words "in Loving Memory of My Husband" inscribed his grave:
Words to send a tingle down your spine!