A compendium of women serial killers through the ages.
“When we think about serial killers,” writes freelancer Telfer, “we think about men. Well, ‘man,’ actually—some vicious, twisted sociopath, working alone. He probably has a dreadful nickname…[which] is his brand, a nightmare name for a nightmare man whose victims are, more often than not, innocent women.” In her first book, however, the author compiles comprehensive biographies of more than a dozen women who were as vicious, coldblooded, and brutal as their male counterparts. These women took great pleasure, physically, emotionally, and sexually, in killing—their husbands and other men, their own children, and other women. Most often, they used poison to kill their victims, but some enjoyed, among other methods, brutal and bloody torture and throat cutting as a means to a deadly end. Telfer delves deeply into the role of the media in making these women notorious, and she analyzes how quickly they lost their stardom, fading into relative oblivion. She examines how physical attractiveness and sexuality played into each woman’s personal scenario and how each was branded or given a nickname depending on the violent nature of her crimes. As the author writes, “there’s something so seductive about the word ‘murderess.'" Telfer also explains how humor has been used to describe and counterbalance the atrocious acts these women performed. The book is well-researched and informative, but squeamish readers beware: Telfer doesn’t hide the grisly and gruesome details about what these women did to the people they murdered. For those interested in historical facts about a special group of sociopaths, the author offers an illuminating read on a subject that has not received much publicity, except during the time when each woman was finally apprehended.
Heavily researched and filled with gory details, a rare look at women who killed for pleasure.