Dana Hughston. You Stand Accused (1937) 286 pp.
Set in the fictional town of Oakdale (in the equally fictional San Lucas County) in the Santa Clara Valley, this is the story of Millicent Dawson, a spoiled, beautiful, young wife and mother, and her lover, Ned Winters, an intern at the local hospital, who are on trial for the murder of Millicentís husband, Walter. A courtroom drama, with testimony of the defendants and various witnesses—and sideline commentary by two newspaper reporters covering the proceedings—the mystery unfolds through evidence presented at the trial. Walter Dawson died of cholera—a disease that is practically unheard of in the Bay Area at the time. Ned Winters had procured a sample of cholera germs from a San Francisco hospital, ostensibly for research purposes. As long as Walter was still in the picture, the lovers could never have everything they wanted. Divorce would leave Millicent poor and without custody of her children. Ned was still many years away from being able to earn enough money to keep Millicent in the lifestyle to which she had become accustomed. But, did they conspire to put Walter out of the way permanently? As the evidence mounts against them, the jury—and the reader—must decide.
Setting: Santa Clara Valley (“Oakdale, San Lucas County”)