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The Murderess Must Die

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  48 ratings  ·  38 reviews
On a winter day in 1898, hundreds of spectators gather at a Brooklyn courthouse, scrambling for a view of the woman they label a murderess. Martha Place has been charged with throwing acid in her stepdaughter’s face, hitting her with an axe, suffocating her with a pillow, then trying to kill her husband with the same axe. The crowd will not know for another year that the a ...more
Kindle Edition, 260 pages
Published July 6th 2021 by Level Best Books
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Average rating 4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  48 ratings  ·  38 reviews


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Natalie "Curling up with a Coffee and a Kindle" Rampling
I thought this book had my name all over it. Nineteenth century death penalty, true crime with a hint of historical fiction thrown in. Sign me up!
But the reality was far different. My main difficulty was the changing perpectives of the characters, and there were a lot of characters! With only a few pages for each one, I found myself getting thrown from the story each time, and it felt stilted and disjointed to me.
The writing style was obviously written with the language of the time which can be
...more
Jane
May 11, 2022 rated it it was ok
Shelves: did-not-finish
The premise of this book really intrigued me and I was looking forward to diving into a historical fiction based on a true crime. This type of book is right up my alley. Unfortunately, I just couldn't get into this book. For me, the writing style was off-putting and the pacing was uneven. I picked this book up time and time again, and just couldn't make myself finish it. I am clearly in the minority as several people really enjoyed the book. Perhaps it was just not the right book at the right ti ...more
Jess
Aug 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC, The Muderess Must Die by Marlie Parker Wasserman.

This book was very well researched and…perfectly executed. #puns

It’s the (mostly historically accurate with some creative liberties) story of the very 1st woman to be executed via the electric chair, Martha Place.

It gives the story of her 1st bad marriage…her putting her child from that marriage up for adoption and the guilt she felt for doing so. Then goes into the 2nd marriage and the strained relationship b
...more
Laura
Aug 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is the sort of book one either loves or hates. It is definitely memorable.
I could not read it all in one sitting. It starts out a bit dry, for sure dark and dreary as we learn about Martha's past. Told from multiple points of view, I am positive the author saved us from the worst of these formative years.

Then there is the murder section itself and the irregular and discombobulated way in which it was investigated. The police of the era and surroundings had little, mainly no, experience dea
...more
Jess
Jan 18, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC, The Muderess Must Die by Marlie Parker Wasserman.

This book was very well researched and…perfectly executed. #puns

It’s the (mostly historically accurate with some creative liberties) story of the very 1st woman to be executed via the electric chair, Martha Place.

It gives the story of her 1st bad marriage…her putting her child from that marriage up for adoption and the guilt she felt for doing so. Then goes into the 2nd marriage and the strained relationship b
...more
Merissa (Archaeolibrarian)
THE MURDERESS MUST DIE is a fictional telling of a true crime. Most of the main characters are from newspaper articles of the time and pieced together to make a story.

Was Mattie Place insane? Or a madly jealous stepmother? Or was she someone who had just reached her limit? We will never know for sure, but the author brings her to life and raises questions. As the first woman to be killed by the electric chair, she has some notoriety but has never had a voice.

Told from multiple perspectives, I w
...more
E.A.
Aug 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
My Recommendation: 9.5 Stars
( I received this book free in exchange for my honest review )

As a true crime fanatic, I was excited to read this book. It was fascinating reading it from different points of view and getting that other aspect of the story. My dad always told me there are three sides to every story, yours, there's, and the truth.

This story highlights how you can have multiple views of the same thing and leave numerous different conclusions. But the thing is, you'll never know the wh
...more
M.M. Hudson
Aug 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I want to begin by saying that I give this book the 5 stars it deserves. It was unbelievably well written. The character development was impeccable. The book is historical fiction but more historical than fiction. The author did an amazing job in using her primary resources to investigate the life, the murder, the trial, and subsequent end to the life of real-life person, Martha (Mattie) Place. From this point, I shall tell you that Mattie was the first women ever to die by electric chair. This ...more
Star Gater
Sep 27, 2021 rated it liked it
The premise appealed to me. The story is one that I had never thought about or read anything on. I believe I would have gotten more out of the research and historical facts the author used if this had been written in a different format. Each person, and there are a lot, has a heading tells their part, then another header, etc. It's too much and short of putting the relationship or title in parentheses around the header, a flow chart could be used. The saddest part of this format is that it took ...more
Pat Fayo Reviews
Aug 31, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Murderess Must Die tells the story of Martha Place, the first woman in the world to be executed in the electric chair. It’s also the story of being poor, abused, married, divorced, being a single mother, losing a child, remarrying, becoming a stepmom, being constantly undervalued and judged, and ultimately having a nervous breakdown.

This story is told by multiple people in the first person throughout the entire book which made it very easy to follow and understand each character’s perspectiv
...more
Carol Keogh (Goodfellow)
A woman with a difficult past who marries up and goes on trial for murder. Great story line, all the principal characters here give their accounts of Martha Place, first person narratives are always interesting because one sees the personality of the leading protagonist through many lenses. Based on true events, the author writes with style and conciseness and breathes life into the characters. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and recommend highly. My thank to Netgalley, the publishers and the au ...more
Louise
Jul 16, 2021 rated it liked it
I much preferred the first part of this book.
Mattie was an excellent narrator,with just the right amount of attitude towards everyone.
I felt that by the time the crime had been committed,there were too many characters popping up for a page or so,and they were all a bit bland.
Worth hanging in there though for the further musings of the main character.
Martha
Jan 24, 2022 rated it really liked it
A vivid account of the life of Martha Place. Martha Place is a fictional character based on the actual person. She was accused of murdering her step-daughter and attempted murder of her husband in the 1890's. The book tells the story of Martha and what lead her to this point. You find yourself with a sea of mixed emotions about Martha. She was found guilty and became the first woman to die in the electric chair. The author captures your imagination with her descriptions. ...more
Lori Sinsel Harris
Jul 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: historical fiction fans
Recommended to Lori by: liked blurb
This is an exceptional novel of the fictionalized account of a crime committed in the late 1800s that sent a woman to the electric chair for the very first time ever.
Martha Place is accused of throwing acid in the face of her beautiful stepdaughter, hitting her with an axe and suffocating her, also of then trying to kill her husband with the same axe, though he suffered severe injuries he survived to testify against Martha.
Despite having some eight lawyers work her case over the year it took
...more
Lori Sinsel Harris
This is an exceptional novel of the fictionalized account of a crime committed in the late 1800s that sent a woman to the electric chair for the very first time ever.
Martha Place is accused of throwing acid in the face of her beautiful stepdaughter, hitting her with an axe and suffocating her, also of then trying to kill her husband with the same axe, though he suffered severe injuries he survived to testify against Martha.
Despite having some eight lawyers work her case over the year it took
...more
Bonnie
Sep 12, 2021 rated it liked it
I think that I would give this a 2.5 stars. The topic is very intriguing, and the story was unvarnished, and gritty. It is the story of Martha Place, a true figure in history, a convicted murderess, and the first woman to be executed by electric chair in the United States.

But I found that the way it was written did not appeal to me, as it was in a series of statements from individuals involved in the story, including Martha, the family and other people involved in relationships with her, even t
...more
Kathleen
Sep 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
In The Murderess Must Die, author Marlie Parker Wasserman provides the reader with a riveting historical crime fiction tale that is based on the true crime case of Martha Place, who was convicted of the murder of her stepdaughter Ida Place, and was the first woman to die in the electric chair in Sing Sing Prison on March 20, 1899.

The story revolves around the last thirteen months of Martha's life while in Sing Sing Prison, she tells her life story before and after the murder to a missionary and
...more
Felicia
Sep 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed every word of this amazing read of historical fiction even if I cared for few of the characters. But don’t get me wrong. Not liking most of the players had nothing to do with flat, boring characters and everything to do with how well-written they were. While several characters possessed few redeeming social qualities, for me the worst was N.B. Thompson, the Places neighbor. All of his “efforts” to “help” made the former clergyman come across as self-serving, seeking attention and notor ...more
Katreader
Sep 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
THE MURDERESS MUST DIE
By Marlie Parker Wasserman

Born in 1849 Martha Garretson Savacool Place knew loss and hardship and was no stranger to meanness. Told from her point of view, as well as those of others who played a part in her life, we bear witness to her abusive childhood, her first marriage, including the joyous birth of her son, and her disastrous second marriage which led to her being charged with the murder of her teenaged step-daughter. We learn details about the trial and its aftermat
...more
Bethany Swafford
Sep 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
In 1898, hundreds were eager to see the woman many of them called the murderess. Martha Place was charged with throwing acid in her stepdaughter's face before hitting her with an ax and suffocating her to death. Is she a cold-blooded killer? A woman pushed too far? Were her actions justified? Was there more to the story?

I hadn't heard of this case before I began reading this book, so it was all new to me. I kept pausing to check what I was learning, but it seems there is not much information abo
...more
Michelle Kidwell
Jul 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The Murderess Must Die
by Marlie Parker Wasserman
Level Best Books
Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Members' Titles
Historical Fiction | Mystery & Thrillers | True Crime
Pub Date 06 Jul 2021


I am reviewing a copy of The Murderess Must Die through Level Best Books, Independent Book Publishers association and Netgalley:


During a cold winter day in 1898 hundreds of spectators gather at a Brooklyn courthouse, scrambling for a view of the woman they label a murderess. Martha Place has been
...more
Joan
Aug 21, 2021 rated it liked it
This is both a compelling and disturbing fictionalized account of the actions leading up to and including the first woman put to death in an electric chair at Sing Sing. Wasserman has done a good job of developing Martha, the murderess. We get a good sense of her childhood and then her character as it developed. We know, of course what is going to ultimately happen but Wasserman creates a narrative leading us up the actual murder, the ensuing court case, appeals and finally the execution that ke ...more
Janelle
Sep 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021
I was familiar with the story before reading the book, because I watched an episode of Deadly Women about her (one of the MANY true crime shows I watch) and I found this book wholly thought provoking and exciting from start to finish.

The way Wasserman wrote this book in multiple POVs allows the reader to view the event from different perspectives and also allows the reader to see all “sides” of the story. It potentially allows you to come to your own conclusions about what really happened.

Th
...more
Jill
Jul 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
5 stars
The Murderess Must Die
by Marlie Parker Wasserman
This is by far the best book I have read in 2021! Based on a true story, I had never heard of Mattie Place prior to reading this book. I loved all of the varying voices telling in the exact same story. It was unique and fresh and so wonderfully deep. I had a very hard time putting the book down until I was finished!
It isn't often that an author makes me feel for the murderess but I did. I connected deeply with all of the people in this book,
...more
Firetruckmama
Jul 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
I read an online version of this book, provided by NetGalley.

I greatly enjoyed the historical work the author put into this book. Reading older newspapers, there are so many times names and reports are inaccurate that creating a timeline and sense from conflicting articles is difficult. While I didn't know much about this case, I had come across Ms. Place's name a number of years ago. This book filled in a lot of information about what she did and her eventual fate.

There are many characters in
...more
BookAddict
Thanks to NetGalley and High Level Books publishing for this eARC. I was looking forward to this on terms of the storyline. A novel about the first woman electrocuted in NY, Martha Place is not a likable character. Yes, she had a miserable upbringing and life was, and still is not kind to poor women but I struggled with this in terms of writing style. Written in the first person and with alternating POV sections from the myriad of people in her life, it rambled at times and I never really got a ...more
Katie
Jul 29, 2021 rated it liked it
I just couldn't get myself really interested in this book. I did not like Mattie as a character. She was just so . . . . . unlikeable! I think the word shrew fit her quite well. And when I don't like a main character, it just doesn't bode well for me. I thought that the changes in POV were a little much, too many characters, but it did show how multiple people can witness the exact same thing, yet come to vastly different conclusions. It did not answer the question of exactly why Mattie did what ...more
Heather Thorup
Sep 01, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first woman to be electrocuted for murder. I was pulled in right away. The book was written from the viewpoint of a dozen different characters, telling the story from their eyes while moving events along. The childhood of Martha was so heartbreaking, excruciating really. You're taking everything in, trying to figure out the person she became. Knowing what's coming but not how or why. After the murder and the trial and legal proceedings begin, I admit my interest faltered. But I kept on to th ...more
Danielle
Jul 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for a copy of this book to review !

The Murderess Must Die
by Marlie Parker Wasserman

Great historical mystery based upon a true crime and real figures of 1898.

Martha Place has been arrested for the murder of her step daughter and the attempted murder of her husband. This story revolves around the series of events that lead up to the crime and Martha's time in prison.

Told in different time lines, this is a captivating read with well defined characters. A highl
...more
Angie Blocker
Sep 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
AMAZING 👏 I just read such an amazing masterpiece!!! I actually felt like I was there. The author did a fantastic job of making me feel for this murderess. Crazy!!! This woman's crimes were unfathomable and the Author had the ability to write her back story so well that it would make it impossible to not feel something. I loved each perspective that was in this book. I love historical fiction, especially when it is based on true events! This was by far my favorite historical fiction this year! I ...more
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