171st out of 269 books — 263 voters
Tainted Legacy: The Story of Alleged Serial Killer Bertha Gifford
by S. Kay Murphy (Goodreads Author)
On August 25, 1928, a black sedan pulled into the dusty circular driveway of a farmhouse in the tiny rural community of Catawissa, Missouri. The sheriff of St. Louis County emerged from the vehicle and walked slowly up the front steps. A middle-aged farmwife answered his knock. She spoke quietly with him, excused herself to powder her face, then allowed herself to be led o...more
Paperback, 166 pages
Published December 1st 2008 by PublishAmerica
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The title Tainted Legacy: The Story of Alleged Serial Killer Bertha Gifford might lead the unwary reader (me, for instance) to believe that this is a rare book on the subject of the woman who is supposed to be America's first female serial killer, Bertha Gifford. It is not. It is about Bertha Gifford's great-granddaughter's halting attempts to get to know more about her infamous relation, her own mother's irritability regarding these efforts, and her curious worry that the desire to commit seria...more
Murphy goes on a perilous quest in this book, a quest to find out more about a dangerous woman who she knew was her great grandmother. Was she the first female serial killer? If she was, did it arise from mercy towards those suffering with diseases or self-interest? Murphy takes the readers along for a risky ride through frustrations and evidence bonanzas, followed by the suspense of assimilating each new trove of evidence and trying repeatedly to get to the heart of Bertha Gifford. It's a memoi...more
In 2009, S. Kay Murphy published her memoir Tainted Legacy: The Story of Alleged Serial Killer Bertha Gifford . Like Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, Murphy's memoir explores the chilling effect of murder in a small, rural town. Unlike Capote, Murphy is not simply a city-slicker fascinated by a brutal crime, she is...read more
All families have stories, and sometimes secret stories that are unmentionable. What would it be like to learn that someone in your family was known as a serial killer? In this memoir we follow the emotions of someone who uncovers a gruesome family story and sets out to research the truth of it. Memoirs are not my favorite read, but this one stands as a testimonial to the adage that life really can be stranger than fiction. I recommend it as a well paced, interesting read.