On 15th October 1838, the body of a 36-year-old woman was found in Cape Coast Castle, West Africa, a bottle of Prussic acid in her hand. She was one of the most famous English poets of her day: Letitia Elizabeth Landon, known by her initials ‘L.E.L’. What was she doing in Africa? Was her death an accident, as the inquest claimed? Or had she committed suicide, or even been murdered? A famous poet, a mysterious death and a story stranger than fiction – this is the lost life and mysterious death of the ‘Female Byron’. To her contemporaries, she was an icon, admired by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Heinrich Heine, the young Brontë sisters and Edgar Allan Poe. However, she was also a woman with secrets, the mother of three illegitimate children whose existence was subsequently wiped from the record. After her death, she became the subject of a cover-up which is only now unravelling.