Monday, June 6, 2011

Wicked Women of Northeast Ohio

There are wicked women everywhere. Though Northeast Ohio hasn't hosted the likes of Bonnie Parker or Lizzie Borden, we have had our fair share of notorious ladies, and in Wicked Women of Northeast Ohio, journalist Jane Ann Turzillo delves into the past of 10 murderesses and other female malefactors, most not covered in other books of this nature.

Turzillo looks into a series of deaths in Ashtabula, speculating that a woman named Jeanette McAdams was responsible for the deaths of her mother and five siblings between 1848 and 1851. She tells of ''Akron Mary,'' a thrice-married good-time girl who was a key witness in a Depression-era murder trial, and the owner of a '20s Cleveland vice club.

There are pictures of some of the wicked women; unfortunately, we don't get to see ''Black Adonis'' Walter McNair, whom ''Dusky Belle of Smokey Hollow'' Sarah Robinson shot in a lovers' quarrel in 1902. (We don't get to see her, either.) ''I oughta give him a second shot,'' she told a Massillon reporter. ''I oughta plugged him once more.''

Wicked Women of Northeast Ohio is part of a ''Wicked'' series offered by the History Press (there's also Wicked Albany and Wicked Indianapolis). The 110-page softcover costs $19.99 from History Press.

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