The female criminals of nineteenth-century Warwickshire were far from the delicate gentle sex of popular belief. Gangs of prostitutes lured men into the back alleys of Birmingham to rob them with such extreme violence that the city reeled with shock. Psychotic servants suddenly turned on their unwitting employers with stunning savagery. It was an era when domestic tranquillity could be silently stifled with a well-placed dose of arsenic. Sheer greed drove one woman to fake her mother-in-law's suicide. She had already buried two husbands. Another lady finally snapped after years of abuse, seeking revenge for being sold into prostitution as a child. Utter selfishness made other women find devious ways to rid themselves of inconvenient children, with poverty and alcohol the backdrop of such crimes. In a world that seems so antique, we still have so much in common: thwarted love affairs, chillingly callous abuse of the weak and sick, exploitation and violence. A few Victorian women were just as wicked as the men. In a male dominated world many women walked free from court, the judge and jury unable to believe that they could be anything other than their stereotype.