The League of Lady Poisoners: Illustrated True Stories of Dangerous Women (Hardcover)
This riveting and well-researched volume by Lisa Perrin weaves together the stories of more than twenty-five accused women poisoners, exploring the circumstances and skill sets that led them to lives of crime.
You might find yourself rooting for some of them—like Sally Bassett, who helped poison her granddaughter’s enslavers in Bermuda, or Giulia Tofana, who sold her name-brand concoction to women wanting to be rid of their abusive (or otherwise undesirable) husbands. Other stories, though—including that of Yiya Murano, one of Argentina’s most notorious swindlers and serial killers, or the terrifying Nurse Jane Toppan—may prove less palatable.
Organized into thematic chapters based on the women’s motives, the book also includes an illustrated primer that delves into the origins and effects of common poisons throughout history, as well as a foreword by Holly Frey and Maria Trimarchi, creators and hosts of the podcast Criminalia. It is a treat for true crime fans, feminist history buffs, and any curious readers fascinated by the more macabre side of human nature.
TRUE CRIME GALORE: Women can do anything—even commit murder. This thoughtfully researched and insightful survey into the lives of the poisoners explores the toxic events that put these women in the spotlight, the deceptive methods and substances they used, and their legacies today. The League of Lady Poisoners is a thrilling deep dive for fans of true crime podcasts, docuseries, and books.
EYE-CATCHING GIFT: Illustrator and author Lisa Perrin’s beautiful and distinctive art style blends the romantic allure of these pop culture legends with the disturbing and twisted facts of their lives. The hardcover is decorated with shining foil, and the interior contains clever Victorian-inspired lettering, borders, and diagrams that complement the text. Readers and illustrated book collectors will love all the details honoring the Golden Age of Poison.
FASCINATING, DIVERSE STORIES OF WOMEN WHO KILL: These women lived in different time periods and had varying cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds that influenced their motives. Some acted out of defiance—like the Angel Makers of Nagyrév, who taught women how to dispose of their abusive husbands in Hungary. Others schemed their way to power and money, including Empress Wu Zetian of China and Belle Gunness, who killed more than 14 people in the American Midwest. Discover all their stories in this engaging collection . . . if you have the stomach for them.
- Lovers of true crime podcasts like My Favorite Murder, Morbid, and Criminalia
- Readers who enjoy historical biographies, especially of women
- Readers who love a good villain, antihero, or underdog story
- Murder mystery fans
- Art lovers and illustrated book collectors
- Fans of Lisa Perrin’s beautiful illustration
- Shoppers looking for a unique feminist gift book
- Fans of period dramas like The Serpent Queen and The Borgias
- Readers who enjoy books like Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History and The Trial of Lizzie Borden
Holly Frey and Maria Trimarchi are co-hosts of Criminalia, a podcast that explores the intersections of history and true crime. They first met while writing and editing the curiosity-driven website HowStuffWorks. Holly Frey is also the host of the podcasts Stuff You Missed in History, Full of Sith, and Drawn: The Story of Animation. She lives in Georgia. Maria Trimarchi is a writer based in Oregon.
“Entertaining and enlightening…. Perrin’s subjects run the gamut from the famous…to the lesser known, including Wu Zetian, a seventh-century Chinese ruler whose introduction is indicative of Perrin’s wry, winning voice: ‘The story of Wu’s rise to power is almost Cinderella-like—if the story ended with Cinderella deposing her enemies, staying in power for decades, and becoming the sole ruler of an empire entering its golden age.’ Perrin’s concise, insightful biographical sketches carry the penny-dreadful punch of Edward Gorey’s vignettes, and her gorgeous full-color illustrations lend a note of playfulness to the macabre proceedings. This is catnip for true crime devotees.” —Publishers Weekly Starred Review
“Serves up deliciously wicked true stories about 25 dangerous women.” —Washington Post Book Club
“Lisa Perrin’s first book is a gorgeously illustrated and designed collection of biographies of that most romantic and maligned of villainesses: the poisoner. In black and gold and a bright arsenic green, this is undeniably one of the best-looking books about true crime to ever grace my desk. Perrin’s drawings throughout this luxe volume evoke Edward Gorey and other masters of the Victorian macabre, bringing humor, charm, and wit to the grim topics of death and murder.” —Criminal Element
“A ghoulish buffet of 28 women divided by time, circumstance, and motive but ‘united by the singular toxic trait of being accused or convicted poisoners.’… While the mood is playful, the coverage of the women is refreshingly nuanced, addressing the ways that race, injustice, and violence may have influenced their lives and (alleged!) crimes.” —Oprah Magazine
“Original, thought-provoking, and visually stunning.” —BookPage, Starred Review