“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

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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.

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

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Thrilled to have been given the coveted starred review by Publishers Weekly. “Reviews are written by experts in the book's genre or field, and are published anonymously in Publishers Weekly magazine and on publishersweekly.com. Superlative books may receive the coveted PW star, an unbiased indication of truly outstanding quality.”

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“Dandy would trot off, tail wagging, toward the merchants who had set up at the weekly market on the square. He would dodge under the baskets and bags of shoppers, scoot past the tub makers and the children jockeying for bottles of homemade lemonade. He’d pass under the Austrian tightrope walker, who had fastened his highwire ...

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A couple of years ago, the local paper in Szolnok marked the 90th anniversary of the “Arsenic Trials” by running a full-page feature on John (Janos) Kronberg, the celebrated attorney who lead the investigation and prosecution of the women. The case would define his career.

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