Women Behaving Badly: True Tales of Cleveland¿s Most Ferocious Female Killers: An Anthology

Overview

Women who murder . . . why are they so much more fascinating than their male counterparts? For evidence, dip into any of the sixteen strange-but-true tales collected in this anthology by Cleveland’s leading historical crime writer. You’ll meet:

• Ill-fated Catherine Manz, the “Bad Cinderella” who poisoned her step-sister in revenge for years of mistreatment, then made her getaway wearing her victim’s most fetching outfit, a red dress and an enormous feathered hat . . .

• Velma West, the big-city girl who ...

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Overview

Women who murder . . . why are they so much more fascinating than their male counterparts? For evidence, dip into any of the sixteen strange-but-true tales collected in this anthology by Cleveland’s leading historical crime writer. You’ll meet:

• Ill-fated Catherine Manz, the “Bad Cinderella” who poisoned her step-sister in revenge for years of mistreatment, then made her getaway wearing her victim’s most fetching outfit, a red dress and an enormous feathered hat . . .

• Velma West, the big-city girl who scandalized rural Lake County in the 1920s with her “unnatural passions”—and ended her marriage-made-in-hell with a swift hammer’s blow to the skull of her dull husband, Eddie . . .

• Eva Kaber, “Lakewood’s Lady Borgia,” who, along with her mother and daughter, conspired to dispose of an inconvenient husband with arsenic and knife-wielding hired killers . . .

• Martha Wise, Medina’s not-so-merry widow, who poisoned a dozen relatives—including her husband, mother, and brother—because she enjoyed going to funerals . . .

And a cast of other, equally fascinating women who behaved very, very badly. This is wickedly entertaining reading!

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Editorial Reviews

Cleveland Magazine
From the Kaber case, which finds a grandmother, mother and granddaughter indicted for the same first-degree murder, to the ‘Bad Cinderella’ who poisons her abusive stepsister, Bellamy once again masterfully brings to life decades-old tales that won’t let you look away.
— Jim Vickers
Morning Journal
A collection of true crime tales that can quickly disabuse anyone of the notion that women are really the ‘gentler’ sex. Any one of these would easily qualify for the supermarket tabloids. But they were taken from 150 years of murder and mysterious death cases pivoting around women in the greater Cleveland area.
— Laura Kennelly
The Plain Dealer
Nothing is open and shut in ‘Women Behaving Badly’. The latest look-back by true-crime maestro John Stark Bellamy recounts the life and crimes of Cleveland’s most gruesome killers . . . But more than that, it revisits sexual roles in transition, where change comes with a revolver, a knife, or cup of poison-and female intuition gone berserk.
— John Petkovic
Record Courier
Fascinating, even in the preface . . . Great fun, in a gruesome sort of way . . . Straightforward and easy to read, and each case is short enough that when you finish one, you want to start on the next.
— Mary Ruehr
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781598510003
  • Publisher: Gray & Company, Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/28/2005
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 255
  • Sales rank: 832,020
  • Product dimensions: 5.75 (w) x 8.75 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

John Stark Bellamy II is the author of six books and two anthologies about Cleveland crime and disaster. The former history specialist for the Cuyahoga County Public Library, he comes by his taste for the sensational honestly, having grown up reading stories about Cleveland crime and disaster written by his grandfather, Paul, who was editor of the Plain Dealer, and his father, Peter, who wrote for the Cleveland News and the Plain Dealer.

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Table of Contents

Preface

She Got Her Money’s Worth: Eva Kaber, Lakewood’s Lady Borgia, 1919

Bad Cinderella: The Catherine Manz Horror, 1910

“Twelve o’clock girl in a nine o’clock town”: The Red Rage of Velma West, 1927

Medina’s Not-So-Merry Widow: Martha Wise’s Deadly Crying Game, 1925

The Incredible Vanishing Killer: Cleveland’s Nameless “Black Widow,” 1921

The Wickedest Stepmother: The Mary Garrett Tragedy, 1887

“Step aside, Daddy, and I’ll fill him full of lead!”: The Insouciant Mabel Champion, 1922

“This is my last day!”: The Strange Death of Minnie Peters, 1906

Assassin from Nowhere: Christina Lipscomb’s Terrible Secret, 1908

The Phantom Flapper Killer: The Mystery of Margaret Heldman, 1928

A Most Unquiet Grave: The Sarah Victor Scandal, 1868

Three Distaff Poisoners: Elsie Bass, 1917; Anna Kempf, 1928; and Dorothy Kaplan, 1956

Seduced and Abandoned: Jennie Droz, a Girl of the Cleveland Streets, 1871

“Straighten Them Out”: The Horrific Deeds of Mary Barger, 1953

The Sins of the Father: The Neumeister Family Tragedy, 1911

A Second Shot at Life: The Gothic Tale of Eula Dortch, 1965

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