Murder, Mystery & My Family by Karen Farrington || Book Review

I am a true-crime fan, through and through!

I can spend hours on end, binge watching true-crime documentaries. I’ve watched almost all of the documentaries available on Netflix and I’m always on the lookout for new ones.

It’s not really about the crimes that sparks my interest, but more in the lines of how they are solved. How even the tiniest of the puzzle pieces (in some cases) can be used to solve crimes. While some might find these types of documentaries depressing and somber, I love seeing science, logic and even coincidence at work.

I found this true-crime book at the library, and while I haven’t gotten around to reading any books from the genre, this seemed like a good place to start.

DISCLAIMER: This review could contain possible spoilers based on my opinions. All opinions and views are my own.

Book review: Murder, Mystery and My Family: A True-Crime Casebook by Karen Farrington #bookreview #karenfarrington #truecrimebooks #booktwt #bookaddict #booktwitter

Originally published: 2020

Pages: 336
Format: Paperback

Plot from GoodReads:

Five Women. Five families’ search for justice. 

All Sarah Chesham wanted was to survive, at a time when crops were poor and money was tight. By the time she died she was branded a merciless child killer.

All Emily Swann wanted was the love of a man who wouldn’t abuse her. By the time she died she was depicted as a vengeful, drunken hussy. 

All Edith Thompson wanted was a romance with a man who adored her. By the time she died she was seen as a scheming and manipulative adulteress.

All Louie Calvert wanted was to be heard. Yet when she died she slipped almost immediately into the shadows, like thousands of other women like her. 

All Charlotte Bryant wanted was a distraction from a dreary life. By the time she died she was deemed a seductress and an arch poisoner.

No one wants to believe that their mother, sister or daughter is capable of murder. When a woman is charged with a killing, we judge more harshly and punish more severely than when a man does the same.

Murder, Mystery and My Family explores five historical true-crime tales from the hit BBC series, each with a woman at the heart of the story, from a case of ‘poison panic’ in the 19th century to a post-war murder that gripped the nation. Tales of infidelity and greed, corruption and deceit run throughout – but was justice served for all? Descendants of those convicted revisit each case in search of answers.

Based on extensive research, including original court records and interviews with descendants, Murder, Mystery and My Family delves deeper into each crime, while also looking at our changing attitudes to women who have found themselves at the centre of our darkest dramas. 


Even with all the documentaries I’ve watched, I’ve never come across these case presented in the book which was, in a sense, refreshing to read about cases that I knew nothing about beforehand.

The book flowed more like a story being told as to a few keynotes put together and turned into a book.

Each case was unique to its form and some stood out to me more than others, with how people were mistreated and didn’t get enough justice.

The author did an excellent job with bringing these womens’ stories to life and detailing everything from the beginning right up until the end. Yes, some of them weren’t all innocent but the conditions they were treated in were slightly unsettling.


I liked the fact that this book wasn’t entirely set up as a typical case study book with structures that were formal and rigid.

My Rating:

The book has a rating of 3.67 on GoodReads. I gave it a 5.

Murder, Mystery and My Family: A True-Crime Casebook by Karen Farrington #bookreview #karenfarrington #truecrimebooks #booktwt #bookaddict #booktwitter

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