#NonFicNov – Become the Expert: Australian True Crime featuring Female Perpetrators


Hosted by DoingDewey, this week’s participants in NonFiction November are asked to either share books on a single topic that you’ve read and can recommend (be the expert); you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you’ve been dying to read (ask the expert); or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert).

In my reading life I’ve read quite a bit of true crime, a genre traditionally dominated by American cases. I’ve always wanted to read more Australian true crime, but until the recent resurgence of interest in the genre, there has been little available.

Of particular interest to me is true crime that features a woman as the perpetrator, which of course tends to be infrequent, as women are far more often the victims of violent crimes. However, here are twelve nonfiction titles that feature murderous Australian women over a period of two centuries, some of which I have read, others which are on my wishlist.

I believe these books will appeal to those interested in not only in true crime but also history, law, and women’s studies.

I’m going to start with A Cargo of Women by Babette Smith. This non fiction book focuses on the experiences on one hundred women who were sentenced to transportation to Australia, often for petty crimes, in 1829. It’s a fascinating exploration of their experiences as convicts.


The Baby Farmers by Annie Cossins, and The Last Woman Hanged by Caroline Overington are both titles that feature women who committed crimes in the later 1800’s.


The Suitcase Baby by Tania Bretherton, My Mother, A Serial Killer by Hazel Baron, and Joe Cinque’s Consolation by Helen Garner are about crimes that occurred in the 1900’s


The crimes explored in Blood Stain by Peter Lalor, Nice Girl by Rachael Jane Chin and Kathleen Folbigg: Australia’s Worst Serial Killer by Matthew Benns were committed this century.


If however you are interested in a collection of cases, then Green Is the New Black by James Phelps, Deadly Australian Women by Kay Saunders, or Mothers Who Murder by Xanthe Mallett might be just what you are looking for.

I hope you find something to interest you.



My Nonfiction November so far…

Nonfiction Books Read: 5/15


#NonficNov – Your Year In NonFiction

Review: Confessions of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell

Review: Bush Doctors by Annabelle Brayley

#NonficNov – Book Pairings

Review: Unmentionable by Therese Oneill

Review: They Walk Among Us by Benjamin and Rosanna Fitton

35 thoughts on “#NonFicNov – Become the Expert: Australian True Crime featuring Female Perpetrators

  1. This is a crazy good list! I am adding them all. Lol. I recently learned though that the author Anne Perry committed and served time for helping to murder the mother of her best friend, I think in Australia. She was a minor but when she got out she moved to England and changed her name. You may know that already but when I read it I was a little shocked!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a fascinating topic! Violent crimes committed by women are always really interesting, maybe because they are so unexpected. Like Erin I’ve always been fascinated by Anne Perry’s story, which actually seems to add a lot of depth to her writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is such a fascinating topic to explore! I think I might have come across a couple of these stories in podcasts but I’ve never read or even heard of most of the books. A Cargo of Women sounds excellent. Bookmarking this list, thanks for this!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. True crime is such a broad genre and really getting a lot of attention right now, so I love that you narrowed this list down to an even more specific topic. I’d not heard of any of these books, which makes these some great recommendations 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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