Center for Global Studies

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REEEC Noontime Scholars Book Talk: Patti McCracken, "The Angel Makers: Arsenic, a Midwife, and Modern History's Most Astonishing Murder Ring"

Event Type
306 Coble Hall (801 S. Wright St., Champaign, IL 61820)
Sep 29, 2023   12:00 pm  
Patti McCracken
Free and open to the public.
Originating Calendar
Russian, E. European & Eurasian Center: Speakers

In 1929, a dark secret at the heart of a Hungarian farming village was finally exposed. For more than 15 years, Nagyrev had harbored a group of killers, one of the largest murder rings ever recorded. They came to be known as The Angel Makers. Led by a sharp-minded midwife known as Auntie Suzy, the local wives brazenly rid themselves of abusive relatives, spooning doses of arsenic into soup and wine, stirring it into coffee and brandy. After more than 160 mysterious deaths, anonymous notes brought the crimes to light. And while a prosecutor hungry for justice ran the investigation, newsmen from around the world poured in to witness the drama.

Author Patti McCracken will discuss how The Angel Makers came to be — and what it took to piece together the nearly forgotten story, nearly one hundred years on. 

“This is journalist McCracken’s first book, and it is simply excellent.” Booklist starred review.

Patti McCracken was born in Virginia Beach, Va., in October 1964, the youngest of six children. At 15, she moved with her family to Clearwater, Florida. After college, she worked at a newsmagazine in Washington, D.C. for a decade before moving to Chicago, where she was an assistant editor at the Chicago Tribune.

She eventually relocated to Europe to work as a journalism trainer, free press advocate, and newsroom consultant. She was based in an Austrian village near the Slovak border, but her work often included long stints in Eastern and Central Europe, the Balkans, the Caucasus, and later North Africa and Southeast Asia.

She was twice a Knight International Press Fellow. Over 20+ years, her articles have appeared in Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, Guardian, Smithsonian Magazine, and many more outlets.

She is a member of PEN America.

This is her first book.

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