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Women Who Kill: Profiles of Female Serial Killers Hardcover – 2 Apr 2001

3.4 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Allison & Busby (2 April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0749005351
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749005351
  • Product Dimensions: 22.3 x 14.6 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 842,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"'Not for the nervous but Davis' writing shows tremendous promise' Daily Telegraph 'Even darker than Rendell and Minette Walters' The Times 'Bleak and at times devastating about the evils of everyday life...Recommended' Time Out"

From the Author

Who They Are, Who They Kill - And Why
What makes a young woman abduct, handcuff and sexually assault a thirteen year old girl? Why does she go on to torture and kill her then abduct another woman and subject her to similar prolonged abuse? In this book I've concentrated most on thrill killings like these as they are the hardest for most of us to understand.

I also look at female serial killers who murdered for motives such as profit or revenge, choosing cases that are particularly unusual. For example, two lesbian careworkers killed their patients then had wild sex together whilst talking about the corpses. And one very large woman suffocated each of her victims with her colossal weight. Many of the cases contain strong elements of sadism and all involve control.

I worked hard to put each case study in chronological order so that the reader can see how a loving child gradually metamorphosed into a compassionless killer.

Many of the killers are American but there are also cases from Australia, Bavaria, Britain, Canada and France. One of the killers has already been released and another will be released within the next two years.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I don't know what I expected when I opened the covers of this book, but what I discovered was an incredible work profiling female serial killers though the ages.
There are thirteen serial killers profiled starting with Anna Marie Zwanziger born in Nuremberg in 1760 and ending with Karla Homolka born 1970. In between we have Jeanne Weber, who killed her own children and it seems as many of her friends children as she could get her hands on, Genene Jones who qualified with basic nursing skills, gained employment in a hospital and attempted the murder of several children in her care, not thankfully killing all of them. Martha Ann Johnson, who also killed her own children, Charlene Gallego, who was a shy quiet child with a talent for the violin, but who eventually lured teenage virgins to their death. Judith Neelley, who committed armed robbery at age 16, Catherine Birnie, who had seven children, and yet assisted her husband in his quest for young sex slaves, Gwen Graham & Catherine Wood, Carol Bundy, Aileen Wuornos and the more familiar names of Myra Hindley and Rose West.
Before reading this book, I though that Myra Hindley was possibly the most evil woman that I had come across, but not so by a long way. This work was an eye opener.
Not only does the author present the reader with these profiles, but the book goes further, classifying female serial killers and then presenting theories about why women kill.
This is an awesome work that delves into the darkest recesses of the abused female, as it appears most of these women were, and provides a macabre account of their journey's through life.
Lizzie Hayes.
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By A Customer on 19 Jun. 2001
Format: Hardcover
I've read books about The Yorkshire Ripper and The Hillside Stranglers and thought that only men were unrelentingly vicious - but the things some of these female serial killers did were comparable or worse. Most of them abducted girls for sexual enjoyment. Some of the victims were teenagers and others were still kids.
Each chapter starts with the killer as a child so you get to know all about her early experiences - and they aren't good ones. By the time she starts to kill you've been drawn in to her disintegrating world.
But these female serial killers treat their victims even more badly than they themselves were treated and after the deaths they sometimes mutilated the corpses. Some of the women slept and ate having put bodies in the basement or under the floor. Occasionally acquaintances of the killers suspected them but just couldn't believe women kill strangers.
I couldn't put this book down for the first few chapters because while gruesome, it's also incredibly gripping. But then I just had to stop reading for a few days because it made me see the world as such a pitiless place. The life stories of these killers and their crimes continue to haunt me. So it's not for those of a weak disposition.
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Format: Hardcover
As a fan of Carol Anne Davis's realistic crime fiction it came as no surprise that she is able to take the reader inside the world of a number of notorious female serial killers. Well researched, but also full of insights supplied by the author, this is for those who are strong enough to deal with the harrowing reality of contemporary life. Cosy crime afacionados should look elsewhere.
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Format: Paperback
Oh dear. This is not a well-written book at all. What is wrong with this paragraph fragment:
“She gave him a son, Earl, in 1979 and a daughter, Tibitha, the following year. She was still feeling afraid and inadequate and presumably hoped to cement her floundering relationship by giving her husband both a daughter and a son…”

This seems to present the birth of children as a matter of choice, as if she just went along to the midwife and said, ‘one son, please, and – oh yes, I’ll have a daughter too.”

Here’s another howler:
“All hospitals know that parents can injure or kill multiple times – but they hesitate to involve the law for fear that they can’t prove it.” Note the denotive language All hospitals – fair enough, perhaps they do know parents can kill multiple times, But do All hospitals hesitate to involve the law? Is that true? I had no confidence that the writer wasn’t merely filling in dumbo diddly doodah squat, just for something that might sound like she had special information to impart. Is this even a true statement? We have had several hospital scandals exposed within the last few years haven’t we? Not everyone is asleep on the job. With each such assertion my confidence that the writer had something interesting to say was fading.

It’s an inadequate book about a horrible business – murder. Should you wish to read about this I am sure there are better books. I read it – it is very informative about women who kill, up to a point. Beyond that point it paddles it’s feet wildly trying to give us an insight into the psychology of women who kill. It became repetitive, I became derisive. It didn’t range wide enough, concentrating on silly typologies in place of cogent information – The Black Widow, the Sexual Predator, Team Killers, etc.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was an easy read and delivers on grizzly details of the crimes. It doesn't however delve into the psychology of these women or really ask why they committed these crimes, what drove them to it or go into the bigger picture of women vs men in any great detail. I found this book frustrating for those reasons but also because there are a myriad of proof-reading errors that kept pulling me out of the book and it eventually made me question the author's credibility.

On this latter point, the main reason I rated this book 3/5 is because I feel this writer is in no way an authority on this matter. She has an M.A (from what university it doesn't say, which also isn't promising) that "included criminology", and then went on to do a diploma in education. Criminology is the study of crime, not the study of criminals themselves (which is forensic psychology), so what makes her informed enough to publish a book about these criminals I don't know, and her education as a whole seems questionable in the context of this subject. She also refers many times to other authors and praises them for their work which almost seemed over the top at times.

In short, it was an entertaining read (I'm sure the novels she's written are very good), but as a book based on fact and informed opinion it falls short of the mark for me.
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