America’s First Female Serial Killer: Jane Toppan and the Making of a Monster

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This is the first that I’ve heard of Jane Toppan or as originally named Honora Kelley, tried in the beginning 1900s for the murder of a family and by her own admission of too many others but the title piqued my interest. There have probably been other similar female serial killers, but this one is loudly proclaimed and a novel produced from the skimpy evidence available. As a nurse, Jane Toppan had ready access to morphine and atropine, drugs that were used on her patients with deadly results. The author attempts to recreate the events that influenced this orphaned child along the path that eventually resulted in her death in a lunatic asylum. Unfortunately, her characters come across as two-dimensional wooden figures, there is much repetition about the subject being orphaned at a young age, and her father is perceived as an unbalanced Irish drunk. This sociopath murderess is said to have been jolly, charming, hard-working, industrious, intelligent, but unfortunately, she was born Irish and on the wrong side of the tracks which led to her perverse behavior. The sequence of events running through this ‘true crime’ novel is often confusing and contradictory, there is too much repetition of incidents, and none of the characters display any vitality dead or alive.

Reviewed By:

Author Mary Kay McBrayer
Star Count 2/5
Format Trade
Page Count 214 pages
Publish Date 2020-05-19
ISBN 9781642502077
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue July 2020
Category Mystery, Crime & Thriller


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