America's Femme Fatale
The Story of Serial Killer Belle Gunness
Published by: Red Lightning Books
How does a Norwegian farm girl become an infamous American serial killer, responsible for upward of 40 murders? Born in rural Norway in 1859, "Belle" Storset Sorenson Gunness was constantly dealt bad hands in life—so she decided to take life into her own hands.
In America's Femme Fatale: The Story of Serial Killer Belle Gunness, Jane Simon Ammeson traces Gunness's path from a poor teenager rejected by a wealthy lover; to a new wife in Chicago, desperate to escape the poverty of her childhood and impatient for a child to love; to an ambitious, widowed landowner in La Porte, Indiana. Ammeson's careful research reveals how the young immigrant slowly turned into one of America's most dangerous serial killers, allegedly murdering husbands, lovers, and children, and, for a price, disposing of inconvenient corpses for others. Ammeson brings this shocking story to life, detailing the suspicious neighbors who were cowed into silence by Belle's intimidating personality, the culture of orphanages trafficking children and matrimonial agencies, the carnival atmosphere that exploded around the pile of bones found on Gunness's farm, and the sensational reporting that filled newspapers for months.
Perfect for true crime fans fascinated by the creation of a sociopathic serial killer, America's Femme Fatale will leave you entertained and looking over your shoulder.
1. In a Faraway Land
2. Dearly Departed
3. A New Home and a New Husband
4. My Baby She Wrote Me a Letter
5. Boundless Opportunities for an Enterprising Woman
6. Jennie Olson
7. The Rivals
8. The Beginning of the End
9. The Fire
10. The Discovery
11. Bringing Up the Bodies
12. The Confession
13. The Theory of the Exploding Head
14. More Bodies and More Clues
15. The Company She Kept
16. Dead or Alive?
America's Femme Fatale is the detailed story of Belle Gunness, one of the nation's most prolific mass murderers. Ammeson recounts the horrific events with dry wit and corrects many errors found in previous accounts. Gunness stands out in an infamous crowd because she was a woman; she killed men, women and children rather than choosing from among one narrow section of victimology; and her murders seem to have been rooted in greed rather than lust, the serial killer's usual motive.~Keven McQueen, author of Murderous Acts: 100 Years of Crime in the Midwest
Ammeson uses astute research and punchy prose to chronicle Belle's transformation from destitute farm girl to one of history's most egregious female serial killers. . . . Compact and captivating, this salacious tale of murderous greed during the early twentieth century will be devoured quickly by true-crime fans.~Michelle Ross, BOOKLIST / Amer Library Assn
It's a mesmerizing cautionary tale I had to keep reading despite the late-night hour. . . . Ammeson writes narrative nonfiction with a sense of drama to propel us along the unbelievable.~Rita Kohn, NUVO
Hoosier History Live interview: Serial Killer Belle Gunness