Newport Historical Society Resource Center, 82 Touro Street. In December 1832 a farmer found the body of a young, pregnant woman hanging near a haystack outside a New England mill town. When news spread that Methodist preacher Ephraim Avery was accused of murdering Sarah Maria Cornell, a factory worker, the case gave the public everything they found irresistible: sexually charged violence, adultery, the hypocrisy of a church leader, secrecy and mystery, and suspicions of insanity. Author Bruce Dorsey will share the story of how a local crime quickly turned into a national scandal that became America's first "trial of the century," and he will expose the troublesome workings of criminal justice in the young democracy along with the rise of a sensational popular culture. A cocktail reception with a book signing concludes the program. Members and active duty military, $15; non-members, $20; advance registration suggested. (401) 846-0813; email@example.com; www.newporthistory.org.