Crime is a genre that so often lays bare the parts of society that are less than savoury. However it’s murky light is also shone on parts of society that may believe themselves above the depravity and grimeyness of crime. Therefore crime is a great equaliser, it brings to the surface greed, lust, jealousy, anger, fear and control in everyone whom it shines it’s spotlight on, the attitudes and behaviours that we might prefer to hide ourselves, but also the attiudes and behaviours society as a whole would rather we cannot see.
In this ten part podcast historian Lucy Worsley selects eight Victorian women from Britain and the US, and studies their murders, trials and the aftermath, with historian’s, authors and police. They comes from different classes, and have different motives ranging from cold blooded material gain, to the pathos of post-partum psychosis. Some names such as Lizzie Borden, or Grace Marks, made famous by Margret Atwood’s wonderful Alias Grace, are familiar, but others are more obscure.
With the hindsight that living in a different era gives us we can easily see that for some of these women, it was the strict, inflexible mores of Victorian society that led them to their fates, and had they lived in different times, may have had very different outcomes.
Lady Killers takes the true crime podcast murder-of-the-week format, and while entertaining adds gravitas to it with academic interpretation, and a strong feminist assessment of how society sometimes set up the structures and atmosphere which contributed to crime, while simultaneously censoring those who had no choice but to act within them..
Lady Killers is a welcome addition to the growing body of texts on women and crime. If you would like to delve further into this subject please check out TCF reviews of
Bad Bridget – Irish imigrant women criminals in North America and Canada
Criminal Broads – podcast of author Tori Telfer, focusing on international women criminals throughout history
True Crime Fictions International Women’s Day Special with CJ Cooper