The Angel Makers: Arsenic, a Midwife, and Modern History's Most Astonishing Murder Ring

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Product Details
$32.99  $30.68
William Morrow & Company
Publish Date
6.3 X 9.1 X 1.3 inches | 1.05 pounds

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About the Author

Patti McCracken was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in October 1964. At fifteen, she moved with her family to Clearwater, Florida. After college, she worked for a newsmagazine in Washington, D.C., for a decade before moving to Chicago, where she was an assistant editor at the Chicago Tribune. She eventually relocated to Europe, where she was a journalism trainer, free press advocate, and newsroom consultant for the then--emerging democracies of the former Soviet bloc. She was based in an Austrian village, but her work often included long stints in Eastern and Central Europe, the Balkans, the Caucasus, and later North Africa and Southeast Asia. She was twice a Knight International Press Fellow. Over more than twenty years, her articles have appeared in Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, Guardian, Smithsonian magazine, and many more outlets. The Angel Makers is her first book. After seventeen years abroad, McCracken returned to the United States. She now resides on Martha's Vineyard. For more information, visit the author's website at


"[C]ompulsively readable . . . This is a must for true crime fans." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"[S]imply excellent. The storytelling is dramatic and compassionate; unlike works of crime nonfiction that relate facts at a journalistic remove, this book feels like it was written by someone who cares deeply about the victims of the crimes." -- Booklist (starred review)

"In 1929 a small Hungarian village was revealed to have been at the heart of a mass murder spree in which local women got rid of unwanted relatives by poisoning them with arsenic. Patti McCracken brings to life this long-forgotten tale in a grimly gripping narrative." -- Financial Times Best Summer Books of 2023: History

"The Angel Makers carries readers into an era of powerlessness, when women had scant recourse against a daily onslaught of violent men, exhausting poverty, and relentless fecundity. The women's desperate attempts to assert control over their own lives are both understandable and horrifying, the whole stew depicted with compassion and a journalist's eye for detail."
-- Janine Latus, New York Times-bestselling author of If I Am Missing or Dead

"In The Angel Makers, Patti McCracken takes you on a historical ride, rich with velvety description, through 1920s rural Hungary, where women used serial murder by arsenic to solve real-time problems of poverty, sickness, abuse, and sometimes greed. Horrifying yet fascinating." -- Caitlin Rother, New York Times-bestselling author of Death on Ocean Boulevard

"When women in the sleepy, remote village of Nagyrév, Hungary, felt overburdened or abused by their husbands, they went to Auntie Suzy for advice. The midwife had a simple solution to every problem--the arsenic-filled vial in her apron pocket. In The Angel Makers, Patti McCracken brings the sights, sounds, and smells of the farming village back to life as she painstakingly reconstructs one of the most infamous mass murders in history." -- Patrick Perry, editor-in-chief of The Saturday Evening Post magazine

"The Angel Makers is a macabre tale told well, in riveting true crime fashion." -- Vineyard Gazette