In the Mind of a Female Serial Killer by Stephan Jakobi


In the Mind of a Female Serial Killer explores the lives of four women and the shocking crimes they committed during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in England.

Jakobi’s impeccably researched book examines the lives of four notorious female murderers:

  • Agnes Norman, who murdered five children but was only convicted of one attempted murder.
  • Louie Calvert, whose preferred crime was theft before she turned to murder.
  • Kate Webster, who (after being fired) killed her employer and disposed of the body in a grisly way.
  • “Mrs. Willis”, who adopted babies—and killed them.

Consisting of only 147 pages, this true crime offering packs a great deal of information between its covers. Each section begins with a timeline listing notable dates in the women’s lives, including the dates of their crimes. This is followed by brief chapters detailing what is known about the woman in question, followed by the chilling details of the murders committed. Facts about the arrests, trials, and sentences (all but one being death) were no less intriguing.

All in all, this proved to be a fascinating book. I definitely recommend it to true crime readers.

I received an advance reading copy of this book courtesy of Pen & Sword Books.

Author: Stephan Jakobi
Title: In the Mind of a Female Serial Killer
Genre: True Crime
Publication Date: April 5, 2018 by Pen & Sword Books
Rating: 4 stars

About the Book

Walk into the darkest side of human behavior. In the Mind of a Female Serial Killer is a forensic investigation into the lives and crimes of four violent female serial killers who were active in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Using original research based on family owned primary sources and government files only recently made available to the public, Stephen Jakobi delves in to the grisly psyche of these infamous murderesses.

Meet Agnes Norman, the most successful known mass killer of her generation, yet who was only convicted of one attempted murder. With Louie Calvert, Stephen launches an investigation into the truth of her unique death cell autobiography, leading to her only known photograph and a third murder victim. Kate Webster committed one of the most notorious murders by a woman in the nineteenth century. Was she also responsible for the early Thames torso murders, a Victorian crime sensation which rivaled Jack the Ripper? Finally, meet the mysterious Mrs Willis, the baby farmer whose last ‘confession’ of her true identity proved false.

About the Author

After Cambridge, Stephen Jakobi began a career in industry. His strong belief in justice led him to become a solicitor, working in private practice. In 1992 he founded the Human Rights organisation Fair Trials International and was adviser to the European institutions on subjects ranging from Guantánamo to the European arrest warrant. He was awarded an OBE in 2005. Now retired, Stephen lives with his wife in London, this is his first book.

2 thoughts on “In the Mind of a Female Serial Killer by Stephan Jakobi

    • Super dark, indeed. The crimes involving children truly hurt my heart, because I can’t imagine anyone wanting to harm a child, much less murder them.

      It’s a fascinating book, Diana. You should check it out sometime!


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