Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History

Harper Perennial. Oct. 2017. 336p. illus. by Dame Darcy. notes. ISBN 9780062433732. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062433749. CRIME
Although this is Telfer's first full-length book, readers can find her work across the Internet on sites such as Jezebel, Bustle, and Salon. In 2015, the author wrote several pieces for Jezebel about female serial killers and has now turned that idea into a book. Each chapter is dedicated to a different murderer, with Telfer's profiles of deadly ladies spanning centuries. Her goal, according to her original Jezebel articles, is to disprove the widely held belief that serial killers are a boys-only club, which, to her credit, she does. The chapters are well researched, and even when they start out reciting myth and legend (e.g., "The Blood Countess: Erzsébet Báthory"), Telfer goes on to deconstruct the legend and look for realism and fact behind the rumors, which is refreshing. Her writing style is breezy and a bit precious. However, she seriously interrogates the treatment these women received at the time of their crimes as well as afterward, shining light on how each case was handled.
VERDICT For true crime fans and those interested in feminist history.
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