The Murderer’s Maid author Erika Mailman chatted with reporter Rich Ehisen about historical fiction, research, and some of the large edits that made The Murderer’s Maid the book it is today. In one of our favorite moments, Erika speaks to some of the factors that give Lizzie Borden’s story such timeless appeal:
The fact she was a woman who possibly and probably did such a brutally violent thing is fascinating to people. In this era women weren’t usually wielding hatchets. They didn’t usually chop the wood because that was the man’s job. This was an era where women wore skirts, were gentle and sweet, weren’t allowed to vote, were not allowed to serve on juries. It really was the trial of the century, and every major newspaper sent a reporter to sit in that tiny courthouse in New Bedford, Massachusetts and cover this trial. She faced a jury of men who didn’t really think her or any woman capable of hitting an individual with a hatchet for that many blows. And I think maybe that’s the fourth element of what’s so fascinating – how many blows there were. There was so much rage. And it wasn’t 40 or 41 like the rhyme says. One was 19 and one was 11, I believe, but that’s still a lot because probably after two or three the individual is deceased and yet this person continued in some kind of unearthly rage to lay blows. And I think that’s just part of what’s fascinating, seeing the ugliest part of human nature blown up large in that way.
Read the whole interview here, and preorder your copy of The Murderer’s Maid from your favorite book vendor today.