Women Who Murder: An International Collection of Deadly True Crime Tales

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Release Date: 
March 12, 2024
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“For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.”

—Rudyard Kipling, from the poem “The Female of the Species.”

“Why is that we’re always so shocked when women commit violent crimes, in particular, the crime of murder? Perhaps we're more accustomed to seeing men as the aggressors when it comes to murder, not women. Yet some of history's most notorious killers have been women. From Countess Erzsebet Bathory, Delphine LaLaurie, Amelia Dyer, Lizzie Borden, and Belle Gunness . . . it often seems impossible to keep up.”

True crime writer Mitzi Szereto is the editor of Women Who Murder: An International Collection of Deadly True Tales, a compendium of murderous women written by internationally famous writers such as horror writer Anthony Ferguson, who lives in Australia; Tom Larson, an American mystery writer; and Cathy Pickens, an attorney who writes both true crime and the Blue Ridge Mountain Cozy Mysteries.

The tales they tell, some well-known such as “Ruth Snyder: The Original Femme Fatale” by Claran Conliffe and “On the Courtroom Steps: The Trial of Susan Smith” by Picken and others much more obscure but no less fascinating like “Mona Fandey: The Malaysian Murderer” by Chang Shih Yen and “Anno Biesto, Anno Funesto” by Alish Holland about the brutal slaying of John Charles on Leap Year Day in 2000 in New South Wales, give lie to the saying that women are the gentler sex. Indeed, these women can kill just as violently and wantonly as any man.

In her introduction, Szereto points out that men and women do kill differently and often for different reasons. Poison, at least in the past, often was the murder weapon of choice of women—easier to administer than creeping up and stabbing someone and so much tidier—no blood to clean up. They also kill less frequently and are typically not in it for the thrill of the kill like many male serial killers. Szereto says that many women, particularly those labeled as Black Widows, do so for the money, though that’s not the only reason. Sometimes it’s the only way to get rid of a threatening boyfriend or spouse or because of jealousy, love, and hate.

But kill they do. And in this fascinating read, we learn about 14 women who did.