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 Gunnessis 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).