The Truth about Belle Gunness: The True Story of Notorious Serial Killer Hell's Belle

Open Road Media
3
Free sample

Edgar Award Finalist: The true story of the female Norwegian immigrant who led a secret life as a serial killer in the early twentieth-century Midwest.

On the morning of April 27, 1908, the farmhand on a lonely property outside La Porte, Indiana, woke to the smell of smoke. He tried to rouse the lady of the house, the towering Belle Poulsdatter Sorenson Gunness, and he called the names of her three children—but they didn’t answer, and the farmhand barely escaped alive. The house burned to the foundation, and in the rubble, firemen found the corpses of Belle, her two daughters, and her son. The discovery raised two chilling questions: Who started the fire, and who cut off Belle’s head?
 
As investigators searched the property, they uncovered something astonishing: The remains of a dozen or more men and children who had been murdered with poison or cleaver were buried beneath the hog pen. It turned out Belle Gunness was one of the most prolific serial killers in American history. And when the investigation revealed that the body found in the fire might not have been hers, the people of La Porte were forced to confront the terrifying realization that Belle might have gotten out alive.
 
Nominated for an Edgar Award for best factual crime story, The Truth about Belle Gunness is based on extensive interviews with witnesses and residents of La Porte who knew Belle and her family. Perfect for fans of In Cold Blood or The Devil in the White City, it is a “magnificent [and] brilliantly written” exploration of a highly unusual murderer (The New York Times).
 
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About the author

Lillian de la Torre (1902–1993) was born in New York City. She received a bachelor’s degree from the College of New Rochelle and master’s degrees from Columbia University and Radcliffe College, and she taught in the English department at Colorado College for twenty-seven years. De la Torre wrote numerous books; short stories for Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine; reviews for the New York Times Book Review; poetry; and plays, including one produced for Alfred Hitchcock’s television series. In her first book, Elizabeth Is Missing (1945), she refuted twelve theories on the disappearance of a maidservant near the Tower of London in 1753, and then offered her own answer. Her series of historical detective stories about Dr. Samuel Johnson and James Boswell comprise her most popular fiction. De la Torre served as the 1979 president of the Mystery Writers of America.
 
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Additional Information

Publisher
Open Road Media
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Published on
Jun 6, 2017
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Pages
176
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ISBN
9781504044578
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Criminals & Outlaws
Social Science / Conspiracy Theories
True Crime / Murder / Serial Killers
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Not every woman is meant to be a good mother.

Martha Ann was a simple woman. She only wanted to love and be loved. But when she found true love, it was too late, and too many had died.

Every time Earl and Martha Ann fight, he runs off to his lover, Stanley, and something terrible happens to one of their kids, something appalling.

Was it just bad luck? That's what Martha Ann says. Or could it be something else?

Earl is afraid his wife is killing their babies. He doesn't have the evidence. However, he, and Stanley have their fear and their suspicion.

Mommy Deadliest: The Shocking True Crime Story of a Murdering Mother tells the true story of a simple woman who understood what was happening was wrong, but couldn't or wouldn't stop.

This is a biography of a criminal, an outlaw, a woman who did the unimaginable.

However, it is also the story of how the law enforcement, medical, and social service communities failed Martha Ann, Earl, and their family.

All, that is, except one cop who wouldn't give up and a reporter who knew this was a story that had to be told.

At the heart of the story, though is a simple question: How could a mother do this to her children?

You will become instantly immersed in Mommy Deadliest: The Shocking True Crime Story of a Murdering Mother by Rod Kackley from the very first page.

This is one of Rod Kackley's Shocking True Crime Stories you won't be able to put down because everyone loves a page-turner.

Author Interview:

Why were you motivated to write this story, the story of Martha Ann and Earl, as one of your first Shocking True Crime Stories?

To begin with, you have to feel sorry for Martha Ann. This is a woman who had a lonely, even miserable childhood. She had very low self-esteem and desperately desired a man to make her feel better.

You have to remember this took place in the late 1970s and early 1980s when women didn't have the choices they have now.

Martha Ann didn't see any option except to marry a man who would take care of her and make her feel better about herself.

Can you tell us more about how the medical community failed?

Again, remember the period. Hospitals and doctors didn't communicate the way they do in the 21st century. The internet didn't exist. There was no hospital-to-hospital sharing of medical records. So no one picked up on the series of deaths in Martha Ann's family the way they would have today.

What about the reporter and the police officer?

I don't want to give away the whole story here. But let me just say that the reporter and the police detective who knew in their hearts something was wrong, were tenacious in their pursuit of the truth.

Do you still feel sorry for Martha Ann?

No. Murder is murder.

In the tradition of her acclaimed mother, Ann Rule, author of The Stranger Beside Me, bestselling author Leslie Rule delivers a riveting true story for our time—as she exposes the years-long trail of a sadistic sociopath, identity thief, and killer at the dark heart of a real-life fatal attraction . . .

It was a bleak November in 2012 when Cari Lea Farver vanished from Omaha, Nebraska. Cari, thirty-seven, was a devoted mother, reliable employee, and loyal friend—not the type to shirk responsibilities, abandon her son, and run off on an adventure while her dying father took his last breaths. Yet, the many texts from her phone indicated she had done just that.

It appeared that Cari had dumped her new boyfriend, quit her job, and relinquished custody of her son to her mother—all by text. While Cari’s boyfriend, Dave Kroupa, and her supervisor were bewildered by her abrupt disappearance, they accepted the texts at face value. Her mother, Nancy Raney, however, was alarmed and reported Cari missing. Police were skeptical of her claims that a cyber impostor had commandeered her daughter’s phone and online identity.

While Nancy was afraid for Cari, Dave Kroupa was growing afraid of her, for he believed Cari was stalking him. Never seen or heard, the stalker was aware of his every move and seemed obsessed by his casual girlfriend, Shanna “Liz” Golyar, often calling her “a fat whore” in the twelve thousand emails and texts he received in a disturbing three-year deluge.

How did the stalker know Dave’s phone numbers immediately after he changed them, the names of his lady friends, even what he wore as he watched TV? He and Liz reported death threats, vandalism, and burglaries, but the stalker remained at large. The threats were vicious, vile and often obscene, sent mostly via text and always in Cari’s name. There was some truth in the messages, but all of them contained one big lie. The culprit was not Cari -- but had killed and planned to kill again.

With mesmerizing detail and compelling narrative skill, Leslie Rule tracks every step of the heart-pounding path to long-awaited justice—from a sociopath’s twisted past to the deadly deception and the high-tech forensics that condemned the killer to prison, where the tangled web of manipulations still draws trusting souls into danger.
To amend Clausewitz on war, one might say that the trial in a courtroom is the pursuit of battle by other means. And, short of the horror on the battlefield, to be on trial is perhaps the most traumatic of all life experiences. Yet in the great trials of history much more than individual destinies are at stake. Fundamental issues of morality, political expediency, justice and social change are being engaged. How does one balance freedom of conscience against the public good? How does one contest unarguable social evils when the sheer weight of political institutions is against one? Why have so many great men and women been sacrificed by a remorseless ‘system’? To what extent do legal systems deliver true justice?

   An investigation of famous trials in history takes in such great historical figures as Socrates, Jesus, Galileo, Sir Thomas More and Mandela as well as the famous Dreyfus case, the Nazi war crimes tribunal at Nuremberg, the Stalinist purges and the revolutionary chaos that engulfed England and France in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The great American criminal lawyer Clarence Darrow duly makes an appearance, as do such varied and heterogeneous figures as Oscar Wilde, John Brown, Madeleine Smith and the Tolpuddle martyrs.

   Frank McLynn presents evidence from thirty-four different trials drawn from military, ecclesiastical and civilian court cases, not to mention special courts and tribunals, taking in all eras and covering a dozen different countries. It is not too much to say that the world we live in has been shaped in part by the decisions and results of these trials.

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