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REVIEW: Lipstick on the Noose: Martyrs, Murderesses and Madwomen.


Lipstick on the Noose offers the reader a large collection of tales relating to women and capital punishment in a bygone age. Instead of solely dealing with what the title suggests - hanging - the book covers all forms of capital punishment from the modern-day gas chamber and the electric chair through to the more grizzly and 'vicious' methods of being boiled in water and crushed by rocks.

The author provides a quick look at various crime stories from the last few hundred years and, while concentrating principally on the UK, there is a smattering of US, European and Australian stories. The anecdotes are all relatively short and sorted alphabetically by the family name of the deceased person. This will not help a great deal unless you know exactly who you are looking for but it does help to reference a particular story should you wish to return to it.

Whilst I found this to be an interesting voyeuristic read, the presentation of the information itself makes it more suitable for titillation or entertainment than any serious academic study. The tone of the text is fairly light hearted and some of the phrasing can get a little too repetitive after a while. I guess there are only so many ways you can describe a hanging. Having said that the book is quite cheap and reasonable value for money, which will make it an ideal book for a present or for travel reading.

CONCLUSION: Overall quite a good, interesting book on a subject that does not have much new, varied source material due to penal reforms and a change in society's view of punishment.

Title: Lipstick on the Noose: Martyrs, Murderesses and MadwomenAuthor: Geoffrey AbbotPublished by: SummersdaleISBN: 1-84024-367-8Price: GBP9.99Reviewer: Darren Ingram
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Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:M2 Best Books
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Oct 22, 2003
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