California's Deadly Women

Murder and Mayhem in the Golden State 1850–1950

Non-Fiction - True Crime
176 Pages
Reviewed on 02/07/2018
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers' Favorite

California's Deadly Women: Murder and Mayhem in the Golden State 1850–1950 by Michael Thomas Barry tells the tales of exactly that. Crime stories fill our newspapers from cover to cover these days, but things were no different years ago. In the century between 1850 and 1950, murder dogged the headlines and this book details 46 of the most gruesome of those crimes committed by women in California. With plenty of photographs, each story details one woman’s crime, from Clara Phillips to the Black Widow. These murders are laid out, as they happened, on a year by year basis, following the newspaper stories, the background of the crime and what happened in each case. Many of these crimes have been laid to rest in the annals of time, long forgotten – until now.

California’s Deadly Women: Murder and Mayhem in the Golden State 1850–1950 by Michael Thomas Barry is a fascinating book. True crime stories are always interesting and this one is very well detailed. I love the photographs; they add so much to the stories and they really bring it all to life for the reader and offer a focal point – so many books like this are nothing more than a long essay, unbroken by anything, but having photos makes the book. This is a very well-written and clearly well-researched book, with loads of details; a truly gripping read. I always used to think that female murderers were rare, but books like this show us just how prolific they are. I think this book will satisfy the curiosity of any true crime aficionado and I will be looking out for more that Mr. Barry has written.