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The Tainted Legacy of Bertha Gifford: A Memoir


On August 25, 1928, the sheriff of St. Louis County took into custody a fifty-year-old Missouri farmwife. Authorities sought to question her in a mystery which had been building for twenty years: Was she a selfless saint who voluntarily cared for the acutely ill in order to nurse them back to health and restore them to their families? Or a minister of death whose crimes would qualify her as one of America’s few female serial killers? In this riveting nonfiction memoir, journalist S. Kay Murphy searches for the truth about her own great-grandmother—accused murderer Bertha Gifford.


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