MEET DAISY DE MELKER, who ‘lovingly’ prepared a flask of strychnine-laced coffee for her son. She is very different from Najwa Petersen, who carefully planned a ‘house robbery’ to eliminate her musician husband. Chané van Heerden placed her victim’s facial skin in the freezer for preservation, yet Phoenix Racing Cloud Theron wished to dispose of her mother’s body before it was even cold. And Dina Rodrigues? She ‘wouldn’t harm a fly’ – but went and organised a hit on a baby.
Women are not paragons of virtue who cannot commit murder. Nor are they always insane when they do deliberately cause death. And the women with ‘blood on their hands’ are not homogeneous.
In Blood on Her Hands, award-winning journalist Tanya Farber investigates the lives, minds and motivations of some of South Africa’s most notorious female murderers, from the poisonous nurse Daisy de Melker, to the privileged but deeply disturbed Najwa Petersen, to the mysterious Joey Haarhoff, who died before revealing the fate of her victims. Written in a style lighter than the subject matter might suggest, Blood on Her Hands will keep you reading until late at night.