“It was a ‘business of poisoning’

The boldness and utter callousness [of] ... their criminal activities seems to have been equalled only by the stupidity of ... their victims.”

– John “Jack” MacCormac,
New York Times, March 1930

The Angel Makers is a true-crime story like no other: a 1920s village midwife, who may have been the century’s most prolific killer, led a murder ring of women responsible for the deaths of at least 160 men.

The midwife—known to all as Auntie Suzy—was a “smiling buddha” with a waddling gait, who kept a secret vial stashed in her apron pocket. She bustled through the village, poking her nose into her neighborwomen’s troubled lives, whispered “Why are you bothering with him? I have a way …”

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Patti McCracken is an award-winning journalist whose work has been featured in Smithsonian, Wall Street Journal, Columbia Journalism Review, San Francisco ChronicleBaltimore Sun, Christian Science Monitor, Chicago Tribune, Guardian, and numerous other publications. She was formerly on staff at the foreign/national desk of the Chicago Tribune and was twice a Knight International Press Fellow.

 After nearly two decades in Europe, McCracken now resides on Martha’s Vineyard.

patti's media appearances



I won’t ever forget the first drive to Szolnok to dig into the material. I had set out before dawn from my house in Austria in my beloved red Peugeot 207 (name: Francois).

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Meet “Auntie Suzy”, the woman responsible for bringing wholesale murder to the Great Plains of Hungary.

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McCracken runs writing workshops and coaches professional writers - and those who want to become one.

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