The Serial Kill Letters. He"/>

LETTERS FROM PRISON: Voices of Women Murderers

Jennifer Furio, Author, Veronica Compton, Epilogue by, Ronald Turco, Foreword by . Algora $16.95 (252p) ISBN 978-1-892941-59-6

These unsettling communications between prison-reform activist Furio and incarcerated women convicted of murder form the sequel to her The Serial Kill Letters. Here Furio emphasizes "the importance of mitigation... when discussing people who kill." She went to great lengths to establish epistolary relationships with 13 convicts, whose letters generally exude a desperate need for understanding; Furio's compassion obviously brings comfort during long, harsh incarcerations. In biographical essays, Furio explores the terrible abuse (often overlooked in court) that drove them to kill. For example, in the case of Brenda Spencer, who as a teenager killed and wounded several people by gunshot at an elementary school in 1979, Furio deems it a flawed attempt at "suicide by cop" following years of molestation by her father, to which her school turned a blind eye. A chilling chapter concerns Christina Riggs, executed in 2000 at 18 for killing her two children (she botched her suicide attempt), described by Furio as "maternal filicide... to provide them with a safety in death that she... cannot provide them in life." Passages like Riggs's heartbreaking, poetic last letter to Furio are thought-provoking, and bolster Furio's empathy campaign. Yet her correspondents often show an incomplete recognition of the havoc they caused, while the overly cheerful Furio's ingratiation sometimes approaches parody. These elements will win Furio few admirers among victims' rights proponents, or "law and order" types. That said, her anthology—richer and deeper than Carol Anne Davis's Women Who Kill (Forecasts, May 21)—confronts us with the humanity of those we condemn. (June)

Forecast: Court TV is planning a series based on this and Furio's earlier book, but this one is not likely to sell much beyond the small group of forensic psychologists and other crime-related professionals.

Reviewed on: 05/28/2001
Release date: 01/01/2001
Show other formats
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.