The focus this time is on Partners in Crime. Maybe they already were a couple, maybe they became one as they bonded over their criminal activities.
Szereto doesn’t just want you to consume the stories about couples who kill. Instead, she is interested in the psychology behind the criminal activities. Just think about it: could you be together with someone when you found out what they have done or when you have seen for yourself what they can do?
Even if you are an active partner in crime, is there a difference to you when someone tells you they may have poisoned their ex-spouse or whether they accidentally shot them while cleaning a gun? How about more than one ex-partner?
Would you worry about their mental frame of mind or anger outbursts, and would that influence the way you lived with them? Do you feel safe in a house with all the kitchen knives readily accessible and would you actually be able to catch some beneficial sleep? Does the history of your partner in crime matter or only how they behave now?
Another interesting aspect is the power struggle between partners in crime. Who dominates in the beginning or takes the criminal initiative may not always remain in that position. The weaker partner, who just went along or only drove the getaway car, might become interested as well, may start to fantasize about committing crimes themselves, and eventually take that last step.
After they are arrested and sentenced, would they change their story of being a victim forced to come along or admit (maybe to a select few) that they were equally guilty?
This book, again well-written by all contributing authors, led to two surprises.
And then I remembered the book that I got a very long time ago in a second-hand bookstore: ‘Starkweather’ by William Allen. Highly recommended if you want to learn more after reading Lind’s gripping story.
I had to dig into my books from uni to find it but I did. I seem to have lost the dustcover though.
Starkweather was a spree killer who murdered eleven people in Nebraska and Wyoming between December 1957 and January 1958. He was only 19 years old. His girlfriend, Caril Ann Fugate, was 14 years old at the time of the crimes.
A spree killing refers to two or more murders in a short period of time and on multiple locations. The definition of ‘time’ varies slightly depending on who you ask.
The second surprise was Cathy Pickens’ story ‘Love and Strychnine in New Zealand.’
From her story, we learn many interesting details about arson and strychnine, how they work and exhibit themselves, but also which authors like to use poison. Of course, Agatha Christie came up. She used strychnine in the ‘Mysterious Affair at Styles’ but also used cyanide and arsenic. Find out more about her murder methods here.
Pickens also refers to Dr. Thomas Neill Cream and it inspired me to purchase a book about him. Dr. Thomas Cream, a.k.a the Lambeth Poisoner, was a Scottish-Canadian doctor and serial killer. His preferred method: strychnine. He killed roughly ten people in several countries. Most victims were lower class women, prostitutes, and pregnant women who were looking for an abortions. He was convicted, sentenced to death, and hung on November 15, 1892.
The murder methods featured in this book by Szereto are not limited to gun violence and poison. There are fifteen stories, all references are in the back, as well as information about all the authors who contributed.
As you can see from this post, the book does not just take you around the world. It makes you want to explore just not with poison. Highly recommended!
Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My other book reviews are here.