Book Review: Mothers Who Murder by Xanthe Mallet

22016163Title: Mothers Who Murder

Author: Xanthe Mallet

Genre: Non-Fiction, True Crime

Age Group: Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

All of these women are notorious, but are all of them deadly?Child murder: A social taboo and one of the most abhorrent acts most of us can imagine. Meet the women found guilty of murdering their own children. They represent some of the most hated women in Australia. The infamous list includes psychologically damaged, sometimes deranged, women on the edge. But, as we will see, accused doesn’t always mean guilty. Among the cases covered is that of Kathleen Folbigg, accused and found guilty of killing four of her children, even with a lack of any forensic evidence proving her guilt; Rachel Pfitzner, who strangled her 2-year-old son and dumped his body in a duck pond; as well as Keli Lane, found guilty of child murder though no body has ever been found.Dr Mallett goes back to the beginning of each case; death’s ground zero. That might be the accused’s childhood, were they abused? Or was their motivation greed, or fear of losing a partner? Were they just simply evil? Or did the media paint them as such, against the evidence and leading to a travesty of justice.Each case will be re-opened, the alternative suspects assessed, the possible motives reviewed. Informed by her background as a forensic scientist, Xanthe offers insight into aspects of the cases that may not have been explored previously. Taking you on her journey through the facts, and reaching her own conclusion as to whether she believe the evidence points to the women’s guilt.Hear their stories.

Mothers Who Murder focuses on some of Australia’s most notorious murder cases. Killing a child is probably the worst thing imaginable. Some of the mothers featured in this book are wrongly accused, and have eventually been cleared, as in the case for Lindy Chamberlain, whose baby got kidnapped by a dingo.

Then there are the cases that aren’t as straightforward, where evidence points in two different directions, and can be interpreted both ways. Some of them have been found guilty, although evidence itself seems far from convincing. Then there are the cases where the mother confessed to her crime, or the evidence is so overwhelming guilty is almost certainly proven. Several cases focused on children dying in their crib, in mysterious circumstances, and the question remainds whether they passed away from illness, or were murdered. I was surprised to read that while one suspicious child death may be seen as an illness, when it happens several times, it used to be seen as murder, without any additional evidence. Glad this was overruled though, and that now more evidence is necessary.

The cases were gruesome at times, but I did enjoy reading through them. The material is quite fascinating, and detailed enough to offer sufficient information about the cases. I liked how the author doesn’t jump to conclusions, but instead provides the evidence, and lets the reader decide for themselves.

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